Beginning Fall 2019, all students using veteran educational benefits must complete the Registrar Veterans Certification Request Form (PDF 135kB) each term prior to registration. Completing this form authorizes SUNY Empire State College to provide required information and to certify your enrollment at ESC for the specified semester to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Using Veterans Educational Benefits at Empire State College (ESC)
Certification Information for Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or Montgomery Bill (Chapter 30, Chapter 1606, and Chapter 1607) and Chapter 35 DEA program
Step-by-Step Fast Facts
Step 1) Connect
- Contact a VA representative or advocate (VA county representative, VFW, American Legion) to determine your eligibility for federal VA benefits or call 800-827-1000.
- For information related specifically to the Post 9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, please call the GI Bill Hotline, 888-442-4551.
- To apply for benefits and/or obtain proof of entitlement to benefits, you can visit the va.gov/education.
Step 2) Apply
- Establish VA eligibility online at va.gov/education.
- The VA will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) statement by mail, which outlines your percentage of benefits.
- Complete the SUNY Empire State College Application for Admission at esc.edu/Apply. Submit proof of high school completion and official transcripts, including military service training.
- Submit the COE to the school certifying officer at SUNY Empire State College. Fax: 518-580-0105, Email: VCO@esc.edu, or Mail: SUNY Empire State College, Office of the Registrar, 111 West Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
- Acceptable proof of entitlement to benefits includes:
- a copy of the confirmation you receive when you submit your application for benefits (sufficient only for one term of VA enrollment certification, after which you must provide one of the following as proof of entitlement to benefits).
- a screen shot of your VA eBenefits Education Entitlement information
- a screen shot of your Vets.gov entitlement information.
- a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which is the approval letter the VA sends after they review your application.
- Students not pursuing a degree (non-matriculated status), but who are interested in taking courses, need to fill out a non-matriculated application at esc.edu/nmapply. Note: the VA will pay for only two terms for a non-matriculated student.
Step 3) Enroll
- Once you are accepted and have completed the orientation process, you will be assigned a primary mentor who will work with you to create a degree plan and assist with course selection each term.
- If using VA funding, the Department of Defense requires an official degree program within the first two terms of study.
- Register for courses online at MyESC.
- As soon as you have registered for courses, all students using veteran educational benefits must complete the Registrar Veterans Certification Request Form (PDF 135kB). Submit the completed form to the School Certifying Officer at SUNY Empire State College, Fax: 518-580-0105, Email: VCO@esc.edu, or Mail: SUNY Empire State College, Office of the Registrar, 111 West Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
- Order your course materials at the ESC Bookstore.
Step 4) Tuition and Fees
- Low tuition and most fees are waived.
- Information about financial and other funding options including the New York State Veterans Tuition Awards, are available at http://www.hesc.ny.gov or https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/military-corner.html,and esc.edu/Military.
Step 5) Certificate of Enrollment to the VA
- SUNY Empire State College school certifying officer will submit VA Form 22-1999 (COE) to the VA once course registration is complete.
- Please take into consideration that it normally takes 8-10 weeks after we submit your certification for you to receive your first check. If you have questions about what payment you can expect to receive or when payments will be issued, please contact the VA directly at 888-442-4551.
Important Information About Benefits
Certification Information for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation
To initiate enrollment certification under the Chapter 31 program, either you or your VA counselor needs to send in VA form 28-1905 showing you are approved for the term you are enrolling in. When authorization for the term is received, the ESC Bookstore is notified by email that you are entitled to third-party invoicing for your books. If your VA counselor provides you with a form requesting supplies, the School Certifying Officer is responsible for signing the form and returning it. After your enrollment is certified, a copy of the VA enrollment certification is sent to your VA counselor. If you have questions about payment, the best source to contact is your VA counselor.
If you are using a benefit or participating in a program that includes a monthly housing allowance, it is very important for you to know that the VA requires all ESC credits to be certified as distance learning, regardless of the mode of study. Even if you are meeting face to face with an instructor, your enrollment will be certified as distance learning. The distance learning housing allowance is only granted for more-than half-time study, meaning you have to be enrolled in at least 7 credits for undergraduate study or at least 5 credits for graduate level study, and is granted on a prorated basis depending on your rate of pursuit and percent of entitlement (if applicable). The distance learning housing allowance works out to roughly half of what the national average Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH, paid for in-residence study) would be. To qualify for BAH, ESC students must cross register or take a course at with a brick and mortar school for an in-residence study. See the Student Accounts website for more information about cross registration.
If you are enrolling as a guest student at another school and are using VA education benefits or are participating in Chapter 31 VA Vocational Rehabilitation, you may be asked to provide a VA parent/primary letter to the other school so they can certify your enrollment. Requests for VA parent/primary letters can be sent to VCO@esc.edu. When requesting a letter, please include copies of any cross registration paperwork you completed (if applicable) and a copy of your schedule and billing statement from the other school.
If you are not an ESC student and would like to be certified as a guest student for ESC enrollment, please ask your parent/primary school to send a VA parent/primary letter to the School Certifying Officer at VCO@esc.edu to request a guest enrollment certification.
Reporting Enrollment Changes to the VA
ESC is required to report enrollment changes related to all credits certified to the VA. This includes adding studies, dropping studies, withdrawing from studies, and being academically withdrawn from studies. ESC is also required to report graduation, academic warning and academic dismissal to the VA for students using VA education benefits. As a veteran who has accepted benefits, you will be directly responsible for any overpayments that you may receive. If you have questions about how an enrollment change is going to impact you financially, please contact ESC’s Military Student Accounts Coordinator, Kimberly Durant at Kimberly.Durant@esc.edu. If you have questions about when a change in enrollment will be reported to the VA, please email VCO@esc.edu.
Debbi Staulters is ESC’s School Certifying Officer. If you have any questions about using veterans educational benefits at Empire State College, please contact the Office of the Registrar at VCO@esc.edu.
For current students: Registrar in MyESC (login required)