Frequently Asked Benefit Questions

General Questions

How do I receive my benefits at UW-Madison?

  1. Apply for your benefits. More information can be found on our benefits page or federal/state questions below.
  2. Email us your certificate of eligibility or state benefit documents. If you don’t have those before the start of the term, still let us know you plan to use benefits.
  3. Once we hear from you, we’ll give you access to select your benefits in your Student Center. You will complete this step EVERY semester once you enroll in classes. Our Certification Process has full instructions.
  4.  You’re put on our list to certify, and we take care of the rest.

Note: If you’re a transfer student who has already used benefits elsewhere, see the Federal and State sections below.

What should I do if I select the wrong benefit(s) in my Student Center?

Just send us an email letting us know which benefit you’re actually using. The system doesn’t allow you to delete an incorrect selection yourself, but we’ll fix it for you.

Can I apply for other forms of financial aid while I’m using my benefits?

Yes! We recommend it. Please check out our Office of Student Financial Aid for more information on types of aid and how to apply.

What should I do if my enrollment changes (i.e. drop a class or withdraw)?

We’re usually made aware of an update to your enrollment 24 hours after it occurs through an automated process. However, it’s best practice to send us an email to let us know.

If you drop a course/withdraw after the deadlines, your benefits will be impacted differently based on what benefit you’re using. If you’re using federal benefits, you may be required to pay some money back to the federal VA and see a reduction in your housing stipend.

If you’re using the Wisconsin GI Bill and drop/withdraw after the 100% refund deadlines, the dropped credits will still count against your overall entitlement. You won’t be reimbursed for any dropped courses if you’re using the National Guard Grant.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about withdrawing or dropping courses.

My benefits are covering my tuition, why am I still getting emails about my tuition bill?

Those emails are automated, so unfortunately you’ll continue to receive them until your tuition is actually taken care of. You can ignore these for the most part. You should reach out to us /the VA if it’s 3 weeks or more into the semester, and your tuition account still has a balance. You should receive a courtesy email once your tuition has been paid in full.

Can I study abroad while using benefits?

The short answer is yes, but there are stipulations. The answer largely depends on which benefits you’re using and the study abroad program(s) you’re interested in. Keep in mind study abroad programs have additional fees above what you would normally pay here, and you won’t see an increase in your benefits to cover those fees. We STRONGLY recommend you reach out to us when you start looking at study abroad programs, so we can talk about your specific situation.

Federal Benefits

If your question isn’t found below, you may be able to find it on the GI Bill website.

What should I do if I’m a transfer student who used federal benefits elsewhere?

You will have to change your school with the VA. We’ll still need a copy of your certificate eligibility or a screenshot of your education benefit summary from ebenefits.

How do I change my address or direct deposit information with the VA?

You can do any of the following:

  • Login to WAVE. On the main menu page once you have logged in, click the link to the left that says “Direct Deposit Enrollment Form” or “Change of Address” depending on what you need to do. Both procedures can be completed online.
  • Call the VA at 1-888 GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551) OR submit a question here.
  • Login to eBenefits.

Will I be charged the in-state rate if I’m a non-resident using a GI Bill?

You will be charged the in-sate rate if you’re using any percentage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and one of the following applies to you:

  • You are still on active duty OR a dependent of a servicemember who is still on active duty.
  • You are a veteran/dependent of a veteran whose last period of active duty (90 days or greater) was within the last 3 years.

We verify this by referencing the service dates on your certificate of eligibility. We use the date you paid your enrollment deposit, not the date you actually enroll in classes to determine if you fall within the 3-year time frame. You will be charged the in-state rate through the completion of your degree, even if you exhaust your benefit. You will still be classified as a Non-resident, even though you aren’t charged the additional fees, which will become relevant if you plan to stay at UW-Madison to pursue another degree.

Questions on residency classification should be directed to our Residence for Tuition Purposes office.

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) is in place to cover non-resident fees for those students using 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and who fall outside of the 3-year timeline mentioned above. The federal VA pays half the non-resident fees, and the school covers the other half. We have a limited number of YRP slots (our undergraduate list usually has plenty of room), so reach out to us once you’ve been admitted to ask about availability.

What courses can I take while using my federal benefits?

Check out step 2 of our Certification Process page for a full explanation.

I revoked my Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) in order to use my Post 9/11. Can I see a refund of the $1,200 buy-in?

Yes, if you are the veteran using your own Post 9/11 GI Bill. The VA provides more details here.

How is my entitlement charged?

This usually depends on your training time. For example, if you are considered a full-time student for 2 months, you will be charged 2 months of your GI Bill. If you are taking classes at 1/2 time for 2 months, you will be charged 1 month.

How do I find out how many months I have remaining?

You can do any of the following:

  • Call the VA 1-888 GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551).
  • Submit an inquiry to the VA here.
  • Login to eBenefits. You can view your remaining entitlement under your “Dashboard.”

What should I do if I haven’t received payments from the VA, yet?

It generally takes 2-3 weeks for the VA to process a certification. If it’s been longer than 3 weeks, we recommend contacting them directly for a status update. You can do so by calling (888) 442-4551 or asking a question here. If you’re using a Montgomery GI Bill, make sure you’ve completed the step below.

I’m using a Montgomery GI Bill – What other steps do I have to take to get my monthly stipend?

You have to verify your enrollment using WAVE on the last day of every month. If you prefer, you can also verify over the phone by calling (877) 823-2378.

I will exhaust my benefit before the end of the term. How does that work?

If you’re a veteran using your own GI Bill, the VA will still pay through the end of the term as long as you don’t exceed 48 total months of benefits. The 48-month rule is only relevant to those who used some or all of a Montgomery GI Bill then switched to the Post 9/11. If this rule doesn’t apply to you, the VA will pay your full tuition and housing stipends through the end of the term.

If you’re a dependent using transferred Post 9/11, the VA will prorate the tuition amount and stop paying the housing stipend once the benefit is exhausted.

State Benefits

If your Wisconsin GI Bill question isn’t found below, you may be able to find it in the UW System Wisconsin GI Bill FAQ.

What should I do if I’m a transfer student who used state benefits elsewhere?

Wisconsin GI Bill – We just need you to fill out a new WDVA form 2029 for UW-Madison and provide us a copy of any supporting documentation (listed on page 3 of the 2029). You don’t need to reapply with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA).

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – Just submit a National Guard Grant Application to our office each semester like you have previously.

What courses can I take while using my state benefits?

Your state benefits can be used on any course you take for credit – the federal VA restrictions don’t apply. Keep in mind that you can only use your National Guard Grant for an undergraduate degree.

What do state benefits cover?

Wisconsin GI Bill – This will cover standard tuition AND segregated fees.

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – This will only reimburse you the cost of tuition. It does NOT cover segregated fees.

How do I find out how much of my state benefit I have remaining?

Wisconsin GI BillSend us an email. We have access to the UW-System database that tracks how many credits/terms you’ve used.

Wisconsin National Guard Grant – You should receive a letter with each reimbursement check which specifies how many semester you have remaining. If you don’t have a recent letter, you can contact the grant specialist.

The semester has started, and the Wisconsin GI Bill hasn’t been applied to my account. What should I do?

First, make sure you followed the Certification Process steps. If you selected your benefits before the term started, make sure we didn’t email you with any questions/issues. If we didn’t point out any issues, you should contact us.

I haven’t received my National Guard tuition reimbursement. What should I do?

First, make sure you followed the Certification Process steps. If you’ve done all that, feel free to ask us when we submitted your application (keep in mind we can’t do this until grades post at the end of the term). The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) has 30 days after they receive your application to send you the check. If you’re getting close or past the 30-day window, it’s best to contact the grant specialist for an update.

I will exhaust my Wisconsin GI Bill before the end of the term. How does that work?

The Wisconsin GI Bill will only cover how many credits you have remaining. For example, if you have 8 credits remaining but are enrolled in 12, the benefit will only cover the cost of 8 credits worth of tuition.