The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) announced new guidance for the accepted uses of student veteran benefits for study abroad with an effective implementation date of August 1, 2020.

Mark your calendar: Our upcoming Collegial Conversation on January 30, 2020 will take a look at changes to veteran benefits for study abroad.

NAFSA's understanding of the new guidance is as follows:

Tuition Benefits

  • Bilateral Exchanges: No, tuition benefits for exchange programs will no longer be approved after July 31, 2020 because the students home institution does not own the credit (e.g., transfer credit is given) and may or may not bill the student.
    • NAFSA's Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Committee is exploring language on extension or branch campuses and how this will impact benefits. More information forthcoming.
  • Faculty-Led programs: Yes, tuition benefits are applicable if the home institution owns the course(s) and bills the tuition to the student.
  • Provider or third-party program: tuition benefits are not applicable when the provider owns and teaches the course(s). These program types will not be approved for VA benefit use.
  • Direct Enrollment Abroad: Yes, tuition benefits are applicable if the foreign school is established in the VBA's WEAMs database to directly accept VA funding.

Please note that more information will follow as the VA provides new training and handbook materials for campus certifying officials.

Housing

Some instances will now allow student monthly housing allowances to reflect the national average for foreign programs instead of the in-state maximum.

Recommendations for Education Abroad Offices

  • Contact your campus's School Certifying Official (SCO) and Veterans Services office to discuss the new guidance.
  • Review the programs in your portfolio to determine which would be impacted by this new guidance. Key to this review should be an assessment of who owns the credit and who bills the student on any given program.

Additional information from the Veterans Benefits Administration