September 2021, Volume 3
View it on the AU website at https://www.american.edu/veterans/newsletter-921.cfm
Inside this month’s issue:
- Section 1, Announcements: Request for Certification, health insurance waiver, office hours, and more!
- Section 2, Knowledge Article of the Month: Mitigating Circumstances and Your VA Education Benefits
- Section 3, Calendar & Spotlight: Deadlines, events, and a warm welcome to the newest member of the American University Military-Connected Club Team, Kai Suherwan
Make sure to read News You Can Use Volumes 1 & 2 for other important announcements!
- It’s time to submit your Request for Certification!
- Did you already submit your Request for Certification to the American University Veterans Services Office? If so, then you are on track to receive your VA education benefits in a timely manner. Please be advised that certifications will not be processed until after the add/drop deadline. This is to account for any changes in enrollment that could impact your benefit payment rate.
- Are you seeing an amount due on your student account?
- Don’t Panic! If you submitted your Request for Certification for Chapter 33 (Post-9/11) or Chapter 31 (VR&E) benefits, your VA education benefits are pending approval and will be dispersed in a timely manner. Please be advised that certifications will not be processed until after the add/drop deadline. This is to account for any changes in enrollment that could impact your VA benefits eligibility. It also means that you should expect to receive your first payment around the 6th and 8th week of the semester. The VA payment will either be sent to you directly or to your student account, depending on VA education benefit type. For more information on VA education benefits, check out these helpful FAQs about different types of Veterans education benefits.
- Remember to waive your health insurance fee!
- If you are already covered under a health insurance plan and are attending American University as a full-time student, you can login to the Academic Health Plans student portal to waive American University’s mandatory health insurance fee. The deadline to submit a waiver for the 2021-2022 academic year is September 17, 2021. Visit here to obtain proof of insurance under Tricare in order to submit a Health Insurance Waiver. If you are receiving Chapter 33 – Post 9/11 GI Bill® Benefits, you can also request to use your education benefits to cover the cost of the health insurance fee. Please note, this amount will be deducted from your GI Bill cap. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to include your health insurance charge in the tuition and fees amount requested from the VA.
- In-person office hours are back!
- While the American University Veterans Services team has expanded our office hours by adding a virtual component for your convenience, we recognize that Zoom meetings can be exhausting and less personal. That is why we will be resuming in-person office hours this Fall! Be advised that in-person meetings will be limited to Tuesdays and Fridays for the Fall semester. An appointment is required. We are still hoping to resume our Virtual Office hours as well, facilitated by our wonderful student work-study team. For more information on office hours dates and times, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
- Did you miss the Veterans’ Lounge?
- Well, we have good news for you! The Veterans Lounge will reopen this Fall 2021 semester. The Veterans’ Lounge is located next to AU Central – Veteran Services office in 201 Asbury building. The Veterans’ Lounge is designated for all military-affiliated students. If you have completed a Request for Certification For Fall 2021 and/or are part of our Military-Connected Club, you have been given access to the Veterans Lounge. If you still need access, please email email@example.com from your AU email. Access to the Veterans’ Lounge is typically granted in 24 hours.
Knowledge Article of the Month
What is the VA 6 Credit Hour Exclusion and how is it different from mitigating circumstances?
The American University Veterans Services team is excited to welcome students back to campus! Still, we recognize that returning to in-person classes will not be without its challenges. Luckily, Veterans Affairs offers two options for students that might need to drop one or more classes without disrupting the continued receipt of their education benefits or penalizing the student with an incurring debt.
So, what is the 6-hour credit exclusion?
Well, the VA permits students to continue to receive benefits relevant to their enrollment after dropping up to 6-credit hours and up to the date they dropped classes where the student received non-punitive grades (“W’). What this means is that the VA will grant a one-time exclusion and no questions asked (proof of mitigating circumstances do not need to be provided), where the VA will pay for the dropped course from the date the course began until the date they were dropped by the student after the deadline of the university or program (whichever is applicable). This is not to be interpreted as the VA paying for the courses in full up to 6 credit hours. The VA will pay for the portion of the courses the student completed and the student will be billed for the portion that was not. If you’re dropping less than 6 Credit hours, the exclusion will only be granted for the amount of credits dropped and your one-time exclusion is used. The “unused” credits do not roll over for another time.
Ok. So what happens if you need to drop credit hours beyond the 6-credit hour exclusion policy?
Dropping credits beyond the 6-credit hour exclusion is where the mitigating circumstances provision may apply. This provision works the same as the 6-credit hour exclusion in terms of payments (the VA only paying for the portion of what was completed and billing the student for what was not) however the distinction is that the provision requires proof of mitigating circumstances before it is approved, and VA payments can be dispersed. A few examples of what the VA would deem mitigating circumstances are death in the family, severe sickness or illness, unforeseen change in employment, unavoidable geographical transfer. These are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Don’t miss these important deadlines and upcoming events!
September 5, 2021 (6:30 – 7:30 PM EST)
First general body meeting of the American University Military Connected Club held on Zoom. This meeting occurs the first Sunday of every month. Meeting Zoom Link
September 5, 2021 (8:00 PM EST)
Open discussion for student members of the American University Military Connected Club. This is a monthly event! To request membership to the American University Military Connected Club, visit the Office of Campus Life’s “Engage” platform. You can also follow the Military Connect Club on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
September 6, 20201
Labor Day! American University Veterans Services Office will be closed and will resume normal services on September 7, 2021.
September 13, 2021
Last day to drop a fall course for a 100% refund and without a “W” recorded. This date is especially important for students using VA education benefits, since our office will start certifying students’ benefits after this date for students in programs at AU’s main campus. For guidance on the add/drop period for other academic programs (i.e., online programs) visit American University’s Calendar of Events.
Mark your calendar!
Army Contracting Command – INSCOM is registered to attend the Career Fair at American Universiy on September 23, 2021. Army Contracting Command – INSCOM is made up of mostly Army Civilian Employees along with some Active Duty Soldiers. It also has a large number of former Active Duty Soldiers working in the organization now as Army Civilians.
Feel free to reach out to Jeff Martin, Supervisory Human Resources Analyst at:
Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
AU Veterans Spotlight
Kai Yuen Suherwan
American University Military Connected Club
Kai Yuen Suherwan grew up in Singapore and served in the Singapore Army, as part of his national service. He now attends American University and is enrolled in the School of International Studies. He is extremely passionate about helping the Veteran community and is especially looking forward to his new position as social media director for the American University Military Connected Club. Kai’s passion for assisting the American University Military Connected Club stems from his hope that American University’s military-connected students feel a sense of inclusion and appreciation that he was not afforded. He’s the youngest but among the brightest of the American University Military Connected Club’s leadership team. We’re very grateful for his communications and social media skills. Kai plays an essential role, working tirelessly for all members of the American university Military Connected Club. The club’s President, Jennifer Thurston, has expressed much praise for Kai and says “I can’t imagine where we’d be without him. Thank you, Kai!”