By Army National Guard Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (11/29/12) - After the activation of more than 12,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen along the East Coast in response to Hurricane Sandy, officials want to make Guard members aware of the steps they need to take to ensure they don’t lose their education benefits.
Guard members receiving any Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits for the current semester – and who were also put on state active duty orders for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery – are encouraged to immediately contact their educational institutions and notify them of their activation. Guard officials also recommend these Soldiers and Airmen request alternate arrangements for making up missed assignments and/or completing their courses.
Schools will authorize alternate arrangements based upon their individually published policies, but it is again up to the Soldier or Airmen to discuss these policies with their institutions, officials said.
The VA does not require schools to allow students to make up assignments or to grant students incompletes.
Officials said the VA will allow individuals up to 12 months to complete coursework for a course in which they receive an “incomplete” grade, but Guard members must discuss incompletes with their education institutions. If individuals do not complete the coursework within the 12 months, the VA will create a debt for the course that will need to be repaid by the student.
If schools do allow students to make up coursework without dropping the class, an individual’s Basic Allowance for Housing will not be affected. However, officials said that if a student receives an incomplete and the course is not completed within the 12-month period, the VA will create an overpayment for the course to include payments for tuition, fees, books and the Basic Allowance for Housing.
Officials warned that students who are not successful in making arrangements with their schools to stay enrolled will stop receiving BAH payments on the date they are dropped from a course.
For more information, please contact your respective educational institution or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-GIBILL-1 or click here.