US Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits
If you are a Veteran, or Veteran’s dependent, who is entitled to VA (Veterans Affairs) Benefits under the GI Bill then you will be able to claim those benefits if you enrol at Simon Fraser University in a VA approved program.
Confirming SFU program eligibility for VA Benefits
The list of VA approved programs at SFU can be found here by selecting:
- Canada under “Select Country”
- Simon Fraser University from the list of institutions
- Programs at the top right
- Institution of Higher Learning under "Description"
If the program (degree and major) that you wish to study is not listed, then SFU can submit a request for approval to the VA if you have submitted an application to the programme.
If you need a Confirmation of Program Eligibility completed for a program that is not listed here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your intended program of study. SFU will work with Veteran Affairs to determine the program eligibility and notify you about the decision by email. This process usually takes 2 – 4 weeks but can take longer depending on the time of year.
VA Benefits application to study at SFU
Please apply online through the US Department of Veterans Affairs or in person at a local Veterans Affairs regional benefit office.
If you have any questions regarding your VA Benefits, refer to the information posted by VA regarding studying at a Foreign School.
Once you have been determined eligible for VA Benefits, you will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility.
How does SFU provide VA Enrollment Certification?
Once you have checked that your program of study is approved for VA Benefits, you will need to provide Financial Aid and Awards with a copy of your most recent VA Certification of Eligibility. This document will confirm the type of benefits you are eligible to receive, the duration of those benefits and the level of support you'll receive. We will request your Social Security Number (SSN), as we will need to provide this information when certifying your enrollment.
Once per academic year, we will request that you complete the SFU VA Overaward Notification form to acknowledge your responsibility for any overawards which may result due to withdrawals or a change in enrollment status. Your original signature is required on this form, however it may be submitted electronically to email@example.com.
We will reach out to you on a term by term basis to confirm the following information:
- Will you be receiving any scholarships, awards, bursaries, waivers or non-repayable funding that are meant to directly offset the cost of tuition and fees for your program?
- If yes, please provide a dollar amount in Canadian Funds.
- Please confirm that you have completed your registration and confirm how many units you will be completing this term so we can determine your cost of attendance
We will complete the Enrollment Certification form approximately 4 weeks before your term start date and upload this information to VA. This form will take between 2-4 weeks for processing by VA.
Your Benefits Period starts on the first day of classes for the term and ends on the last day of classes (exams) for the term.
How much will the VA contribute to my tuition and fees each term?
SFU will report your tuition fees to the VA as a $CDN amount. The VA will then use a fixed exchange rate set in July by the US Federal Reserve to calculate the $USD contribution they will make towards your fees, up to a maximum amount of $24,476.79 USD per academic year. This cap is subject to the percentage of benefits payable as stated in your Certificate of Eligibility letter.
Due to the exchange rate fluctuations and the fee cap, the actual $CDN contribution received from the VA is unlikely to exactly match your tuition fees.
Please be aware that the VA will not make any additional contributions to tuition fees where there is a shortfall due to the exchange rate. Students are not able to appeal this decision since this is not a SFU or VA decision, this is based in US Law (38 CFR 21.9640)
How do I receive my VA Benefits?
If you receive your VA Benefits under Chapter 33, payments of your VA benefits will be made directly to SFU in USD. See this link for information about the VA Monthly Housing Allowance (Living Stipend).
- SFU will report your Tuition and Fees in Canadian currency to Veterans Affairs (as per their requirement) on a term by term basis by completing the Enrollment Certification form.
- VA will use a set rate effective Jul 1 of every year through the US Federal Reserve. You can access the following website to determine a close value for this exchange rate value (Oanda.com) to convert your term-based tuition and fees reported in $CDN to $USD.
- Upon receipt of your VA payment in $USD, SFU will confirm your eligibility and convert your VA benefits cheque in $USD into Canadian Currency using the current, posted SFU Finance US Exchange Rate.
- Financial Aid and Awards will notify you of the arrival of your funding to your SFU email and confirm whether or not you will be receiving a refund. Any refund will be issued to you in $CDN. You are strongly encouraged to sign up for Direct Deposit.
If you receive your VA Benefits under Chapter 35, money goes directly to you (the student), therefore you are responsible to pay any outstanding SFU tuition and fees.
Which courses are not eligible for VA Benefits through SFU?
- Distance education and correspondence (online) courses are not eligible for Veterans Affairs benefits (at foreign schools such as SFU)
- Audit courses are not eligible for VA education benefits
These restrictions are part of US Law governing the use of VA Benefits, and neither Simon Fraser University or the Veteran’s Affairs office are able to offer any flexibility in this matter.
What is the impact of Remote Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic on VA Benefits?
Any program that was approved for VA benefits prior to March 1, 2020 may be converted from in-residence training to on-line/distance learning training and the VA student may receive benefits for the on-line/distance learning training. This will expire on December 21, 2021.
Any program that is approved after March 1, 2020 is not eligible for on-line/distance learning (remote learning).
If I am repeating a course, how does this impact my VA benefits?
- courses that are failed or for which the grade does not meet minimum requirements for graduation may be certified for VA purposes if they are repeated (i.e. grades of "N", "F", "WE" and "WD")
- courses that are successfully completed may not be certified for VA purposes if they are repeated, unless a higher grade is requirement for program completion, contact Financial Aid and Awards for more information.
What are my responsibilities once I receive VA benefits through SFU?
- Be aware that your academic progress and changes to your enrollment status within a term will be reported to Veterans Affairs by SFU. These changes may impact your current or future VA Benefits eligibility
- Contact Financial Aid and Awards right away if your enrollment changes or if you must withdraw, as a revised Enrollment Certification must be sent by us to VA
- Be aware that VA Benefit rates are set by US Congress and may not cover the total cost of tuition and fees
Review the Degree Program Planning as part of Academic Advising to ensure that you on track to complete graduation requirements.
Plan to you review your Academic Progress Report on a yearly basis. This will help you plan what courses you need to take to complete your program. Use the Planner tool to plan courses ahead of time and enroll in courses.