State Approving Agency (SAA) for Veterans’ Education and Training
In the District of Columbia, the Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC) serves as the State Approving Agency (SAA) for veteran educational benefits. The state approving agency reviews, approves and monitors programs which enable veterans and those eligible for education benefits under Title 38, United States Code, Chapters 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, and Title 10 US Code, Chapter 1606 and 1607, to receive access to quality education and training programs. The state approving agency approves and monitors institutions of higher learning and non-college degree programs including private and public colleges and universities, private career colleges, high schools, and on-the-job training/apprenticeship programs.
The DC state approving agency is a member of the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) which advocates for quality education and training programs for United States veterans and their dependents.
On this page, find information for service members and their families under Student Eligibility and information for postsecondary institutions under Institutional Eligibility. Additional information such as federal guidance are provided under Resources.
For additional information or questions, please contact [email protected].
Service members and their dependents should apply through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine which education benefits they may be eligible for. The VA maintains the GI Bill Comparison Tool which provides information about college affordability and value so beneficiaries can choose the best education program for their needs.
What type of training does the Post 9/11 GI Bill® cover?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® may be used for the following types of training:
- Institutions of Higher Learning (degree granting institutions)
- Non-college degree schools (vocational & technical training)
- Apprenticeship/on-the-job training programs
- Licensing & Certification training
- National testing programs
- Flight training programs
- Correspondence training
- Tutorial assistance
How do I know if my institution is approved?
Follow this link to VA’s Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS) to search for approved facilities: USDVA's WEAMS Institution Search Site.
Follow this link to find School Comparison Tools on the GI Bill® website at GI Bill® Comparison Tool.
How do I submit a complaint about my school or employer?
You may submit a complaint through the GI Bill Feedback System if your school or employer is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence. The GI Bill Feedback System can be found at: http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Feedback.asp. You can submit a complaint for yourself or anonymously on behalf of someone who does not wish to be identified. You will need to identify which education benefit you’re using, select an issue category, and provide your complaint in a narrative with the desired outcome. You will also be asked to identify the school or employer and provide your contact information.
Participation in Veterans’ education and training benefits programs is voluntary for institutions. However, in order for a veteran, reservist, or dependent to use their GI Bill® benefits at an institution the program must be approved by the State Approving Agency.
What types of programs/schools must be approved by the SAA?
Any educational institution planning to enroll veterans or other eligible students planning to utilize GI Bill® benefits in pursuit of postsecondary programs must be approved by the SAA. These institutions include, but are not limited to:
- Colleges and universities
- Cosmetology and barbering schools
- High school diploma, G.E.D. or post-diploma certificate programs
- College entrance exam preparatory programs
- Organizations or agencies that provide licensing or certification tests
What needs to be approved by the SAA?
- Publications (including catalogs, student handbooks and all advertising in which the GI Bill ® is referenced)
- Programs leading to an educational or immediate vocational goal such as a degree, certificate, postgraduate residency, or non-collegiate technical or trade program. (Programs offered at branch campuses or facilities other than main campuses are approved separately.)
- Institution Policies (attendance, academic progress, evaluation of credit for prior education and training, student conduct and specific types of instruction such as television courses, independent study, distance learning, practicums or internships, or other developmental programs)
How can my school or business become approved to allow veterans to use their GI Bill® benefits?
To request an application, contact Chasity Cook at [email protected] or Jocelyn Harris at (202) 442-4012 or at [email protected]. The approval process also includes a site visit to the educational institution or training establishment.
Once approved, what must my institution do to maintain approval?
Publications (including catalogs, student handbooks and all advertising in which the GI Bill® is referenced) must be submitted annually, or when your institution publishes a new edition. Please send two copies (1 copy for the DC SAA and 1 copy for the VA ELR). This must include:
- Standards of progress (which define the grading system, minimum grades considered satisfactory, conditions for interruption for unsatisfactory grades or progress, description of probationary periods and conditions for dismissal and readmittance.
- Polices related to Attendance (if applicable), Conduct and Refunds.
- Progress records furnished to students.
- Each catalog submission must include the certification statement, “I certify this catalog to be true and correct in contents and policies,” along with signature of the School Certifying Official (SCO).
The school must maintain:
- A written record of a veteran’s previous education and training clearly indicating that appropriate credit for prior learning has been given and training shortened proportionately.
- Cumulative individual records containing the results of each enrollment period, including all courses and grades.
- Adequate records showing the progress of each veteran, including notices of course withdrawals and last dates of attendance.
- Attendance records of veterans enrolled in courses not leading to standard college degrees.
- Evidence that tuition and fees charged to and received from veterans are the same as those for other students.
- Complete records and copies of all advertising, sales and enrollment materials used by or on behalf of the school for the preceding 12 months.
- Veteran certification files for three years after the veteran leaves the institution.
The school agrees to:
- Enforce all policies.
- Notify the Department of Veterans Affairs when veterans do not achieve satisfactory academic progress.
- Notify the Department of Veterans Affairs within 30 days of all changes in hours of credit or attendance, including interruption or termination.
- Notify the DC State Approving Agency of any changes affecting approved programs, including changes to location, personnel, course offerings, degree requirements and academic regulations.
- Make available during regular business hours all required records outlined above to representatives of the DC State Approving Agency and veterans’ officials during periodic on-site visits.
- US Department of Veterans Affairs Education and Training
- School Certifying Official Handbook
- Students – How to Apply for GI Bill® Benefits
- On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeships
- DC Office of Veterans Affairs
For complete information, please click on the program title.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill®
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® is an education benefit program for individuals who served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Students may be eligible if they served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept.10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days following Sept. 10, 2001. The Post-9/11 GI Bill® may be used at colleges, universities, trade schools, and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and flight schools. To see what programs are currently approved, please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.
How does the Post-9/11 GI Bill® compare to other GI Bills?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® extends the number of people who qualify for VA education benefits. To see specific information about how this benefit compares to other education support bills, visit the benefit comparison page.
Chapter 1607, Reserve Educational Assistance Program
Chapter 30, Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty
Chapter 1606, Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve
Chapter 35, Dependents' Educational Assistance Program
To apply online visit: Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP)
‘‘GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official US government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill."