Study Abroad and VA Benefits
Utilizing your GI Bill® benefits while studying abroad can be a confusing process. We hope the information here makes things clearer.
The most important thing to know is that DU’s school certifying officials cannot be the ones to certify you for courses earned at an institution abroad; the institution awarding the credit must be the certifying body. Therefore, students who wish to use the GI Bill® abroad will not be able to go through a DU partner program, but instead must directly enroll as a guest student and be certified by that institution.
- An institution cannot certify enrollment for credits earned at another institution.
- The VA will not pay one institution in order for them to pay a third party; the VA will only pay the institution awarding the credit.
- We cannot certify study abroad placeholder credit because the student is not earning the credit at DU.
- The only way the VA will pay DU for abroad classes is if a DU professor personally takes the students abroad, teaches the class, and monitors student enrollment.
- The specific class should appear on the student’s schedule and they should be earning credit from a DU professor.
- This can be certified the same as any other DU class.
- Please note that students utilizing Chapter 31 VR&E benefits must have their study abroad courses approved by their VR&E counselor prior to registering for them. An email must be sent to VACertify@du.edu by the VR&E counselor approving any study abroad course even if it is for DU credit and is taught by a DU instructor. In most cases, Chapter 31 will not approve study abroad.
- Yellow Ribbon is an agreement that an individual school enters with the VA. Therefore, this money cannot be transferred to another school. It is unlikely that an institution abroad will have a Yellow Ribbon agreement, so students should assume that they will not have access to Yellow Ribbon Funding while abroad.
How to use the GI Bill® abroad
All of this means that students cannot go through DU’s traditional study abroad partner programs and use the GI Bill®. To use the GI Bill® abroad, the student needs to ensure the following:
- The institution should already be approved to use VA benefits and appear in the WEAMS database.
- The specific program at that institution also needs to appear in the database to be approved.
- There must be a current School Certifying Official at that school prepared to certify the student.
- The classes that the student intends to take must transfer back to DU for credit and apply to their degree. The student should submit a Coursework Approval Request in MyDU for each class as soon as possible.
Get Help from the VA Certify Office and Study Abroad Office
As with any other transfer class, when a student is taking classes at another institution while still a degree-seeking student at DU, the other institution will request a letter from us confirming that the student is degree-seeking and that the classes will transfer back to DU. Then, they will certify the student and receive payment directly from the VA. Due to these complications, many students try to find ways to fund their term abroad without utilizing the GI Bill®. However, it is definitely possible to do so if you find the right institution and program.
Important Action Items:
- Go to the WEAMS database to make sure that university and program are approved by the VA.
- Contact the SCOs listed in WEAMS for the institution and/or that school’s registration or financial aid office to find the current SCOs.
- Make an appointment with a study abroad advisor as soon as possible.
- Fill out a Coursework Approval request in MyDU (Student Tools-->Records and Requests-->Request Coursework Approval) to make sure the credits transfer back to DU.
- Connect the abroad institution’s SCO with DU’s SCOs once you know which classes you will take so that DU’s SCO can write a letter stating that the courses will apply to your degree.
- WEAMS Database: https://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchCountryCriteria.do
- GI Bill® Comparison Tool: https://www.va.gov/education/gi-bill-comparison-tool/
- DU GI Bill® Military Education Benefits page: https://www.du.edu/registrar/other-student-services/military-education-programs/gi-bill
- DU Transfer & Study Abroad Credit: https://www.du.edu/registrar/other-student-services/transfer-study-abroad-credits
- DU Study Abroad: https://internationalization.du.edu/abroad
- Contact Information:
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official VA website.