What happens if I change my enrollment?

Once the semester starts if you or add or drop a class you must notify the Veteran Certifying Official by emailing gibill@otc.edu.

If you withdraw from one or more of your courses after the end of the school’s drop period, VA may reduce or stop your benefits on the date of reduction or withdrawal. If you withdraw from a course after the end of the drop period, you may have to repay all benefits for the course unless you can show that the change was due to mitigating circumstances. VA defines “mitigating circumstances” as unavoidable and unexpected events that directly interfere with your pursuit of a course and are beyond your control.

Examples of reasons VA may accept are:

  • Extended illness
  • Severe illness or death in your immediate family
  • Unscheduled changes in your employment
  • Lack of child care

Examples of reasons VA may not accept are:

  • Withdrawal to avoid a failing grade
  • Dislike of the instructor
  • Too many courses attempted

NOTE: VA may ask you to furnish evidence to support your reason for a change.

If a serious injury or illness caused the change, obtain a statement from your doctor.
If a change in employment caused the change, obtain a statement from your employer.

The first time you withdraw from up to six credit hours, VA will “excuse” the withdrawal and pay benefits for the period attended. Remember, this only applies to your first withdrawal. If you receive a grade that does not count toward graduation, you may have to repay all benefits for the course.

Non-Punitive Grades:
You should check your school’s grading policy with the registrar or the office handling VA paperwork. The school may have “non-punitive grades.” VA defines “non-punitive grades” as those not used to compute graduation requirements.

Common examples are:

  • An “I” grade for an incomplete which is not made up during the time period required by the school or within one year from receipt
  • A “W” grade for withdrawing
  • An “AU” grade for auditing
  • Any grade the school does not use to compute the GPA (grade point average) or its equivalent

If you receive a non-punitive grade, the school will notify VA. Upon receipt of the notice, VA may reduce or stop benefits. You may not have to repay the benefits if you can show that the grades were due to mitigating circumstances.

When will benefits be distributed?

Once your school submits your enrollment information, it must be entered into the system by VA. Because VA is generally overwhelmed with enrollments at the start of each semester, it could take up to 6 weeks to process an enrollment during those times. Your patience is appreciated – we will process all of the enrollments in order by the date received.

If you are receiving benefits under MGIB-AD (Chapter 30) or MGIB-SR (Chapter 1606), you must also verify your enrollment at the end of each month in order to receive payment for that month. Benefits are paid after each month of school is completed.
For instructions on how to verify your enrollment click https://gibill.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7

You will generally receive payment within two weeks of verifying your enrollment at the end of the month (or within one week if using Direct Deposit). If you don’t receive payment in this timeframe, please contact VA using the Ask a Question tab at https://gibill.custhelp.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask, or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Why is my Pell and Student Loans Paying for my Tuition and Fees when I have Post 9/11 benefits or Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits and they pay for it?

The answer is OTC operates on first funds in pay on your balance first. So when you Pell monies or Loan monies arrive to the school first they are applied to the balance. If you Gi Bill monies come in first they are applied first. In either scenario you actual refund will be the same.


Why is my check smaller than I expected?

The most common reason a check may be less than the monthly rate is that checks are prorated based on the number of days in the month for which you are enrolled.
For example: Your full time rate is $800.00; however your term starts on August 19th and continues through December 14th. Payment for the month of August would include the 19th to the end of the month. (All months are based on 30 days, so months with more or less than 30 days would not affect the rate). Thus your payment for the month of August would be approximately $320.00. Payments for September, October, and November would be $800.00 each month and payment for December would be approximately $373.36 (prorated from the 1st to the 14th).

Here are other reasons your check might be short:

  • An overpayment was deducted from your payment
  • You reduced your training time after you received your award letter
  • You took a class that could not be certified. Therefore, you do not have enough certifiable hours to be full time.

What causes debts with VA Educational Benefits?

If you decrease your training time (i.e. drop classes, leave school, etc.) and we have already processed a payment for tuition and fees, an overpayment will occur. When the School Certifying Official (SCO) notifies us of a change, a debt is created against your account. The school will issue any refunds in accordance with their internal policy, which may not fully cover the debt with the VA. If the amount refunded by the school does not satisfy the debt, you are responsible for the remainder.

If the school refunds money directly to the VA, we will credit your account any amount the school refunds.
If they refund money directly to you, you must clear the debt with us.

A decrease in your credit hours could also result in changes to your housing allowance and books & supplies stipend. If VA has already issued you a payment for the term a debt will be created on your account.
You are responsible for keeping track of your tuition and fee account balance and payments. Visit your schools’ financial office regularly to review your account, ensure the charges are correct and that payments and refunds are processed correctly, contact your SCO to ensure the certification information they send to us matches your schedule.
Please contact the Debt Management Center if you receive a debt notification from the VA. The Debt Management Center is the authoritative source of debt collection information. You can reach them at 800 827-0648 or e-mail them at dmc.ops@va.gov .

Why do I have a debt with the VA over tuition and fees paid to my school?

When you enroll in school and take classes, you enter into an agreement with the school to pay for your classes and the associated fees. VA pays the tuition and fees to the school on your behalf when the School Certifying Official (SCO) certifies that you are enrolled in classes. By law, you are responsible for any debt incurred while receiving benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. VA is required by law to recoup any debt.

You are responsible for keeping track of your tuition and fee account balance. Visit your school’s financial office regularly to review your account, ensure the charges are correct and that payments and refunds are processed correctly. Contact your SCO to make sure the certification sent to the VA matches your schedule. Please contact the Debt Management Center (DMC) when you receive a debt letter, they are the sole authority in resolving debts.

The Debt Management Center may be contacted at 800-827-0648 or dmc.ops@va.gov.

How do I update my address and direct deposit information?

If you are currently receiving benefits or have received benefits in the last year, the WAVE online system is the simplest way to update your address and Direct Deposit information. This only applies to Montgomery GI Bill or REAP recipients. For VEAP, and Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients you must contact us via telephone.

To update your Direct Deposit or address online:
1. Click here to access the WAVE web site. https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/index.do. Click the tab that says “log in instructions” at the top of the page, and follow the instructions to log on to WAVE.
2. On the main menu page once you have logged in, click the link to the left that says “Direct Deposit Enrollment Form” or “Change of Address” depending on what you need to do. Both procedures can be completed online.
3. If you don’t have access to WAVE, these requests must be submitted via telephone.
To update your Direct Deposit or Address by phone:

You can contact us by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).