What to Know About Using VA Education Benefits at CSM

CSM’s Veterans Benefits team is here to help you maximize your military educational benefits while reducing stress and confusion. These tips will help make your college experience a smooth one.

It is vital that you submit any and all transcripts for evaluation at the beginning of your college career at CSM. This allows us to ensure you get credit for any eligible previous training during your service or prior college-level coursework.

Request your official Joint Services Transcript or CCAF Transcript, as well as official transcripts from all prior colleges/universities, to be sent directly to the CSM Registrar’s Office by email to transcripts@csmd.edu. Official transcripts can also be mailed to PO Box 910, La Plata, MD 20646.

All students desiring to use VA educational benefits must submit a Benefits Request Form (BRF) after registering for classes. You will also need to submit it after you make any changes to your schedule, such as adding or dropping a class. This form allows us to report your enrollment to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for payment.

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your BRF! We typically receive more than 500 BRFs each semester, and they’re processed in the order received. During peak enrollment periods, it can take CSM up to 30 days to process the requests and the VA can take another 30 days after that, so do not delay registering for classes and submitting your BRF.

Reduce money stress by keeping track of when you can expect payments from the VA. All monthly payments and stipends from the VA, including the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) from the Ch. 33 Post-9/11 G.I. Bill®, are paid the month following classes; for example, students receive payments in March for their February classes.

The VA only provides monthly payments/stipends for the time a student is enrolled in classes. There are no monthly payments/stipends during breaks between terms/semesters, and all monthly payments/stipends are prorated on the length of the term/semester.

Avoid surprises with your semester bill or reimbursements by understanding what additional fees the VA will and won’t pay for.

The VA will cover: liability insurance fee (once a year); course and lab fees; special course fees

The VA will not cover: E-materials; audit fee; late fee; returned payment fee; transcript fee; payment plan fee; certification verification fee; CLEP test

The VA will not pay for course repeats, Non-Attendance (N/A), or Non-Attendance F’s (FX).

Students in a suspended status are not eligible for VA educational benefits. Find more information on the college’s academic probation and suspension policy.

This guide is intended to help maximize the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) for students who are using Ch. 33, Ch. 31 (if also eligible for Ch. 33), or the Fry Scholarship. Refer to the VA’s rate tables for current payment rates.

To maximize your BAH, do the following:

  • Pay attention to the class format! MHA is only paid for time periods in which you’re taking classes in person. Choose at least one Face-to-Face, Hybrid, or Hy-Flex class that spans the length of the term. For example, if you are taking one 15-week class and two 7-week classes, choose a 15-week class OR two back-to-back 7-week classes with an on-campus component. The rest can be fully or partially remote according to your preference.
  • Understand your rate-of-pursuit (ROP) and make sure it is 100% if your schedule allows. (This is a personal preference and does not work for everyone!) Note the following:
    • A student’s ROP must be greater than 50% to receive any BAH.
    • The VA calculates your ROP based on your enrollment on each day of the session/term.
    • VA prorates BAH payments according to your ROP.

Use these ROP charts to help you calculate your ROP for the different academic sessions:

15-Week Session

Credits Rate of Pursuit Eligible for BAH?
1-6 50% or less No
7 60% Yes
8 70% Yes
9-10 80% Yes
11 90% Yes
12+ 100% Yes


7-Week Session

Credits Rate of Pursuit Eligible for BAH?
1-2 40% or less No
3 60% Yes
4 80% Yes
5+ 100% Yes


3-Week Session (Winter Session)

Credits Rate of Pursuit Eligible for BAH?
1 50% No
2+ 100% Yes


If you would like assistance from the VA regarding Military Housing Allowance (MHA) payments, call the VA’s toll-free number at 1-888-GI-BILL1 (442-4551).

This guide is intended to help maximize the monthly benefit payment for students who are using Ch. 35 (dependents), Ch. 30 (active duty), or Ch. 1606 (Selected Reserve). Students using these benefits are issued a monthly payment based on their training time on each day of the previous month. Refer to the VA’s rate tables for current payment rates.

To maximize your monthly benefit payment, understand how the VA determines your training time by referring to the charts below.

Please note: While training time (that is, the number of credits you’re taking) affects your monthly benefit payment, the instructional type of the class does not. Therefore, you can take classes in any course format (on campus, virtual, or some combination).


15-Week Session

Credit Hours Training Time
12+ credits Full time
9-11 credits 3/4 time
6-8 credits 1/2 time
4-5 credits <1/2 time
1-3 credits 1/4 time or less


7-Week Session

Credit Hours 15-week Credit Hour Equivalent Training Time
1 2.4 1/4 time or less
3 7.2 1/2 time
4 9.6 3/4 time
6+ 14.4+ Full time


3-Week Session (Winter Session)

Credit Hours 15-week Credit Hour Equivalent Training Time
1 6 1/2 time
2+ 12+ Full time

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact CSM’s Veterans Benefits team for support! It’s what we’re here for, after all.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

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