The federal and state governments have several programs available to assist veterans, spouses and their dependents in paying for college and reaching their educational and vocational goals.
Assistance in applying for your veterans benefits is available in our Veterans Resource Center, located in Building G, Room G240.
- VA Education Benefits (Chapter 30, Chapter 33, Chapter 1606 and Chapter 1607)
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31)
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (Chapter 35)
- Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG)
- Illinois National Guard Grant (ING)
- Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship (for spouses and dependents)
Veterans’ benefits are provided through the GI Bill™ and administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Students must apply online for VA benefits. VA benefits are determined by date of enlistment. To be eligible for benefits, students must be pursuing a degree or certificate in an approved accredited transfer/career certificate program (programs offered by third-party institutions are not eligible) and making satisfactory academic progress as defined by college policy. Students receiving benefits must participate in a mandatory orientation program and meet with an academic advisor to ensure they register for courses that are consistent with their educational and career goals. Each subsequent semester, veterans must meet with an academic advisor prior to registering.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) administers two programs, the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program and the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program, that provide benefits to assist you with paying for college. Frequently asked questions documents are available to highlight important facts about both the ING Grant Program and IVG Program, and applications for both programs can be accessed at isac.org. According to state guidelines, students must maintain a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA, which includes developmental and remedial courses, to remain eligible for the grant. Student records will be reviewed at the end of each semester (including summer). If a student’s GPA is below 2.0, a letter will be sent to the student stating the criterion for academic progress has not been met. A minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA must be achieved in the next semester of enrollment for continued eligibility. A student will not be eligible for the grant until the criterion has been met. Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship (for spouses and dependents) If you are the dependent of a person who was an Illinois resident at the time he/she entered active duty and has been declared to be a prisoner of war, missing in action, dead as a result of a service-connected disability, or disabled with a 100 percent disability as the result of a service-connected cause as recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Defense, you may be eligible to receive the MIA/POW Scholarship. This scholarship may be used at public colleges in Illinois, and is administered by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. For more information, visit the website for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Combining Federal and State Benefits
For many eligible veterans, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides more attractive benefits than other veteran education benefit programs. However, veterans should carefully review all their options before making the irrevocable decision to apply for and utilize Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. When considering different scenarios, students should pay careful attention to the differences that occur when changing from full-time to half-time enrollment status, as well as to the amount of the monthly basic allowance for housing, which will vary based on the location of the school. In addition to reviewing the amount of monetary benefits, students should also consider the following:
- What type of training or education are you planning to pursue?
- Is the timeframe to utilize benefits important to you?
- Are you eligible for the transfer of entitlement benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program?
- Do you have remaining entitlement under other VA education programs?
Combining the Post-9/11 GI Bill with the IVG or ING Grant
For those with 100 percent eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, it is often the best option to use Post-9/11 instead of IVG or the ING Grant. However, for those with less than 100 percent eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill, it may be necessary to also use the IVG or ING Grant to help cover remaining tuition and fee charges not covered by the VA. Effective July 1, 2015, for veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at less than 100% and who use those benefits with the IVG Grant or ING Grant programs in the same term, the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will be applied first (VA will be first payer), and any remaining eligible tuition and fees would be covered by IVG Grant and/or ING Grant, and the amount of IVG and ING Grant benefits used will be prorated based on the percentage of the charges that are covered by the ISAC programs.