GI Bill with Vocational Rehab: A conversation with OCOM’s Registrar/Veteran's benefit coordinator

In August, lawmakers passed a major expansion to the education benefits for U.S. military veterans. This bill eliminates the 15-year time limit on the use of education benefits for new recruits among other changes that expand veteran access. How do these changes affect someone considering a career in acupuncture? The OCOM Admissions team sat down with the college’s Registrar, Carol Acheson, to learn more.

Admissions:
I have a prospective student who has just retired from the Army and now has the GI Bill with Voc Rehab. She has her undergraduate degree from about 20 years ago under the former GI Bill and would like to know more about the process should she be admitted to OCOM with the Voc Rehab aid.

Registrar:
She will need to go to her Voc Rehab representative and start the paperwork with them, the Veterans Administration. Once she has her paperwork completed and accepted by Voc Rehab, the rep sends me authorization to bill them. I then create a VA file for her and sign her up with the Veterans Administration. Once, the government site for reporting her credits each term.

Admissions:
So, to clarify the steps that a prospective student needs to take...

  1. See their VA rep and obtain requisite paperwork and qualifications to receive Voc Rehab.
  2. When the prospective student receive this authorization, they send their paperwork to you (the Registrar).
  3. Meanwhile, they can still apply to OCOM and, if admitted and their Voc Rehab qualifies, then OCOM/you will bill Voc Rehab VA for tuition and any other accompanying expenses for their education at OCOM?

Registrar:
That's correct.

Admissions:
Do you know how many OCOM students are currently utilizing the GI Bill?

Registrar:
We have six current VA students; five are master’s students and one is a doctoral student. Out of the six, two of them will be graduating at the end of August.

Admissions:
Is there anything that our current OCOM students, who are using VA benefits, need to remember to do to continue their benefits?

Registrar:
I don't think there is anything the VA students need to remember for their benefits. Student[s] should remember that there is an educational tuition cap each school year and if OCOM tuition rises above that amount, then students have to pay the difference of what the VA does not cover. This usually happens in the summer as the VA considers August 1 as the start of the school year.

For more information about the OCOM’s VA process, visit http://www.ocom.edu/registrar or contact Carol Acheson, Office of the Registrar, at 503-253-3443 x112

For more information on VA benefits, visit their website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.