Veterans Benefits

Most programs of study at PHCC are approved for Veterans Administration educational benefits by the State’s Veteran Department of Education. The Financial Aid Office serves veteran students, the certification process, and in the maintenance of accurate enrollment and student status records. All veterans receiving educational benefits must be enrolled in an official curriculum leading to a certificate or degree.

Veterans are reminded that changes in course load (add/ drop, cancellations, etc.), may affect their educational benefits. Veterans who are enrolled in non- standard classes (dynamic or accelerated classes) must note that their pay rate will be adjusted with the Department of Veteran Affairs when the classes begin or end. This change must also be reported on the monthly verification for, Chapter 1606, and Chapter 30. In addition to these certification requirements, veterans are cautioned that only those courses applying toward graduation requirements in their curriculum and only classroom instruction refresher courses will be certified to the Veterans Administration Regional Office for payment of educational benefits.

Educational benefits are suspended when the veteran fails to maintain minimum standards of academic progress or to submit required information.

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program - Tuition Waiver

The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program provides educational assistance to children of certain armed forces veterans. The program provides free tuition and required fees. To be eligible for assistance under this program, an applicant must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
1. The applicant must be between the ages of 16 and 29.
2. The applicant’s parent must have served in a branch of the armed forces of the United States, and the parent must have been killed or permanently disabled due to injury or disease, a prisoner of war, or missing in action during a time of war or armed conflict; and
3. The applicant’s parent on which eligibility is based must have been a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of entry into active military duty; or
4. The applicant’s parent on whom eligibility is based must have been a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least five consecutive years immediately prior to the date of application.
5. The applicant must provide written verification to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs attesting to his/her acceptance as a student at a state-supported educational institution.
6. Approval from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs must be provided to the state-supported educational institution.
7. The applicant must maintain satisfactory progress for continued eligibility.

Surviving Spouse and Any Child of Those Killed in the Line of Duty – Tuition Waiver

Children and spouses of law enforcement officers, campus police, firefighters, correctional and jail personnel, special forest warden, special agents of the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, members of the Virginia State Defense Force, sheriff, deputy sheriff, Virginia National Guard members or rescue squad members who have been killed in the line of duty are entitled to free tuition and required fees. To be eligible for assistance under this program, an applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:
1. The children must between the ages of 16 and 25.
2. The chief administrative office of the law-enforcement agency or other appropriate agency must certify that the deceased parent was employed or serving in the required capacity and was killed in the line of duty while serving or living in the Commonwealth.
3. The surviving spouse or child is admitted to, enrolled at and is attending a public institution of higher education.
4. The certification must be submitted to the college Financial Aid office.
5. The applicant must maintain satisfactory progress for continuation of eligibility.

Veterans’ Choice Act

In 2014, Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Veterans Choice Act), which was codified in 38 U.S.C. 3679(c). Under Section 702 of this law, certain veterans and their dependents utilizing military education benefits would be eligible for in-state tuition at public institutions.

The following individuals shall be charged a rate of tuition not to exceed the in-state rate for tuition and fees purposes:
• A Veteran using educational assistance under either Chapter 30 (Montgomery G.I. Bill – Active Duty Program) or Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 G.I. Bill), of Title 38, United States Code, who lives in Virginia while attending a school located in Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge or release from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

• Anyone using transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (38 U.S.C. § 3319) who lives in Virginia while attending a school located in Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the transferor's discharge or release from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

• Anyone described above while he or she remains continuously enrolled (other than during regularly scheduled breaks between courses, semesters, or terms) at the same school. The person so described must have enrolled in the school prior to the expiration of the three year period following discharge or release as described above and must be using educational benefits under either Chapter 30 or Chapter 33, of Title 38, United States Code.

• Anyone using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (38 U.S.C. § 3311(b) (9)) who lives in Virginia while attending a school located in Virginia (regardless of his/her formal State of residence).

• Anyone using transferred Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits (38 U.S.C. § 3319) who lives in Virginia while attending a school located in Virginia (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and the transferor is a member of the uniformed service who is serving on active duty.

• The policy shall be read to be amended as necessary to be compliant with the requirements of 38 U.S.C. 3679 as amended.

Policy on Refunds, Credits, and Reinstatement as a Result of Military Service

Pursuant to 23-9.6:2 of the Code of Virginia, and corresponding SCHEV Guidelines, each community college shall have a policy statement providing for the tuition relief, refund, and reinstatement of students whose service in the uniformed services has required their sudden withdrawal or prolonged absence from their enrollment. Military services is defined as service (whether voluntary or involuntary) on active duty in the Armed Forces, including such service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, when mobilized or deployed for a period of more than 30 days Dependents of military members may also be given consideration under this policy. Dependents are defined as any civilian qualifying as a military dependent under 37 USC 401 currently or as otherwise amended. Each community college shall provide for the following:

1. Tuition and Required Fees — Should a student be ordered to active duty (for reservists) or be mobilized (active military) as described in the Code of Virginia, Section 23-9.6:2 and the State Council’s Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines, he/she requests to be withdrawn from the college after the census date, the student may elect either to be deleted from the registration file and be awarded a full refund or to be administratively withdrawn with no refund and assigned a grade of "W". Each community college shall also have a policy statement regarding the granting of refunds of Miscellaneous Education, General Program, Auxiliary Services and Student Activity fees to students. The college shall provide, at the option of the student, for such refunds to be retained and to be applicable to tuition and fees charged in the semester or term in which the student returns to study.
2. Deposits — Each community college shall have a policy statement regarding the granting of refunds of deposits to military or military-dependent students.
3. Textbooks — Each community college shall process refunds for textbooks for military or military-dependent students according to contractual arrangement with bookstore vendors.
4. Academic Credits and Grades — Military students who are called to active duty or are mobilized, meaning serving in the uniformed services, as described in Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines, and military-dependent students should have the opportunity to receive an incomplete grade ("I") instead of receiving a tuition refund and a grade of "W" (withdrew). All course requirements shall be completed within one year from the date of release from active duty or mobilization. Students may be given the option of taking their examinations prior to regularly scheduled exams.
5. Reinstatement — Military or military-dependent students who are called to active duty or are mobilized shall be assured a reasonable opportunity to be reinstated in the same programs of study without having to re-apply for admission if they return to the same community college after a cumulative absence of not more than five years so long as the student provides notice of intent to return to the institution not later than three years after the completion of the period of service.
6. Dissemination of Information — Community college officials should make every effort to ensure that the aforementioned VCCS policies relative to tuition relief, refund, academic credit and reinstatement for military and military-dependent students are well disseminated and carefully explained in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Virginia, Section 23- 9.6:2, and the Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines in the appropriate college publications. Moreover, the college shall designate an administrative unit to ensure that these policies are properly disseminated and administered.