American University Veteran Services News You Can Use

American University Veteran Services News You Can Use

September 2021, Volume 3

View it on the AU website at https://www.american.edu/veterans/newsletter-921.cfm

Inside this month’s issue:

Announcements

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 veterans@american.edu 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 veterans@american.edu from your AU email. Access to the Veterans’ Lounge is typically granted in 24 hours.
Image derived from Vets HQ webpage on August 30, 2021

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.

September

September Calendar

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 InstagramFacebook, 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.

Virtual Job & Internship fair September 23, 2021 1-4 p.m. Eastern

Special Event

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.p.martin.civ@mail.mil with any questions.

Kai Yuen Suherwan

AU Veterans Spotlight

Kai Yuen Suherwan
Communications Director,
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!”

President Burwell Reference to Afghanistan

President Burwell Reference to Afghanistan

NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy (Aug. 22, 2021) Senior Airman Moon escorts Afghan evacuees aboard Naval Air Station Sigonella, Aug. 22, 2021. NAS Sigonella is currently supporting the Department of Defense mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable Afghan populations from Afghanistan.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Young)

We thank president Burwell for making the nominal effort in referencing the situation in Afghanistan in her Fall Welcome Letter.

In her statement president Burwell stated:

“Many in our community are struggling as family and friends endure terrible tragedies. This includes Afghan and Afghan American members of our community with loved ones at risk, and our veterans’ community, a number of whom served in Afghanistan or alongside colleagues and Afghan allies affected by the recent events. The devastating attack last week only deepens the pain, and we honor those who were lost. Our hearts are with you, and we are here to help.”

We ask president Burwell what resources at American University are available for our Afghan friends and Veteran community.

Moving on we hope that we can see more action and support given to our Afghan friends and our veteran community from our campus resources and President.

2021-22 AUMCC New Member Questionnaire

2021-22 AUMCC New Member Questionnaire

Naval Air Station Sigonella Command Master Chief Anna Wood assists an Afghanistan evacuee deplaning a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Aug. 22, 2021.  Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. William Chockey Source: Defense.gov

For those unfamiliar with American University’s Military Connected Club (AUMCC), we’re a chapter of Student Veterans of America and the only campus club focused entirely on serving AU’s military-connected students (both grad and undergrad).
Membership is open to all American University students, regardless of military service status.

To officially become a member of the club and receive timely notices of events, please register via American University’s Engage platform.

To better serve our members unique needs, we’d love for all current and prospective members to complete our ‘getting to know you’ questionnaire.

A Message on Afghanistan

A Message on Afghanistan

An airman guides qualified evacuees aboard an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of the noncombatant evacuation operation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2021. The Defense Department is committed to supporting the State Department in the departure of U.S. and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan and to evacuate Afghan allies to safety. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Crul Photo from Defense.gov

Dear AU Military Connected Students, as we prepare for the fall semester, I want to take a moment to address the evolving events in Afghanistan. If you’re like me, you’re vacillating somewhere between speechlessness and ranting raves. This is to be expected. We’re all experiencing the effects of *grief. The myriad of emotions associated with processing loss will look and feel different for each of us but are no less valid. Fortunately, we don’t have to grieve in isolation. There are over 500 military connected students at AU, and many more military-connected staff and faculty. With fall classes only a week away, and the capability to connect both in person and remote, there’s no better time for military-connected students to come
together in solidarity.

Beginning Sunday, August 22nd @ 8pm EST and every Sunday through December 12th (or until further notice), a Military Connected Club Executive will facilitate an open discussion via Zoom for military-connected students interested in sharing their thoughts, feelings, concerns and/or comments. Regardless of the topic, we want to assure your voice is heard, concerns acknowledged, and any conflict appropriately resolved. To that end, we encourage all military-connected students to join us in solidarity. United we’re
far stronger than alone.

To receive the these invitations by email, please join the AUMCC via American University’s Engage system.