Using GI Bill® Benefits

Using GI Bill® Benefits

How Will Your Benefits Work?

The SANS Technology Institute programs are delivered in a format that differs from the 'standard' graduate school experience. Because we serve full-time working professionals, our programs are designed to maximize the flexibility by which a student can engage in the coursework required to complete the graduate program. Rather than engage in courses taken on-campus during fixed semesters, our programs are delivered through a series of courses taken via a mix of modalities (primarily at a student's option) with non-standardized start dates. All students enrolled in a particular program will need to satisfy the same requirements, but the timing of their progression through courses may differ according to their individual schedules and the availability of courses.

We have developed the following guide to further explain how benefits will work at STI. We encourage all applicants who wish to use benefits to review this guide before applying.

Guide to Veterans Benefits

Below we provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding how GI Bill benefits will work at STI.

How are your benefits distributed?

Depending on which chapter of benefits you are eligible for, payments may differ. For students using Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, payments for tuition are made directly to the school, while any applicable housing stipend and other benefit payments for books and fees are paid directly to the student. Students who use other chapters, including Chapter 30 Montgomery Bill benefits, pay their tuition themselves and the VA makes payments directly to the veteran.

What courses are eligible?

SANS Technology Institute is approved by the State of Maryland. Because of this, veterans may apply their benefits to course taken online from anywhere, or when the instruction element is delivered live by our faculty at an approved location in Maryland. Students may still take courses at other live residential institutes/instructional events in other states; however, we cannot certify those enrollments to the VA.

What is an Academic Term at the SANS Technology Institute?

STI operates an open entry academic model where students can enroll in courses at anytime. As a result, we do not operate a tradition academic calendar or terms. Course terms have been established for the length of a course. We have established 3 course terms - 120 days, 45 days and 30 days.

What is full time equivalent?

The Graduate School expects students to complete at least 8 credit hours per year in the Master's programs. Full time equivalent is calculated by the VA using this number. Most courses are full time at 3 credit hours with a course term of 3 months. 1 and 2 credit hour courses may have a lower rate of pursuit but can be combined to meet the full time equivalent.

What are the Tuition and Fees?

Tuition for individual courses in our master's programs is set by the number of credit hours associated with the course. The current tuition cost per credit hour is $1,250.

Tuition for courses in our certificate programs are set per course. The current tuition for courses in the graduate certificate programs is $5,000 per course.

STI does not currently charge any additional fees associated with coursework.

How does the housing stipend work? [Chapter 33 only]

Students with a rate of pursuit greater than 50% may be eligible for a housing stipend. The housing stipend is calculated by the VA using the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents in the zip code where we are based: 20814.

The current maximum BAH rate through August 1, 2015 for students taking courses in person in Maryland is $2,175 per month. The maximum BAH rate, through August 1, 2015, for student taking courses through any of our distance modalities (e.g. OnDemand, vLive, and Simulcast) is $754.50 per month.

If students are eligible for a housing stipend, the payment is made directly to the student typically at the beginning of the month following the previous month's enrollment activity. Students may receive prorated amounts for the portion of a month in which the student was enrolled.

How do I register and pay tuition for courses using GI Bill benefits?

  1. Once you are ready to begin taking courses please follow the registration instructions provided to you. Course registration sites may be found via the SANS Technology Institute's Course Registration webpage.
  2. STI will submit VA form 22-1999 (Enrollment Certification) on the first day of class for courses taken in-classroom or via our vLive or Simulcast modalities, and on the pre-determined start date of the enrollment period for OnDemand courses. Please note refunds are not given after classes begin for in-person/vLive courses and after date of registration for OnDemand courses.
  3. SANS Technology Institute will mark your course registration as "Invoiced" and will wait to receive payment for the course in 2-6 weeks after submitting the enrollment certification. Once payment is received we will update the student's account, setting the registration to "Paid".
  4. Chapter 30 (Montgomery Bill) students have up until the end of the course to pay their tuition, which remains their responsibility and obligation.

Please note the following:

  • The VA will pay veterans only for the courses listed in the catalog that are required for a degree and for programs that have been approved for study by the VA.
  • If students take courses in addition to those listed for their approved program, they will not be entitled to receive VA benefits for them.
  • Students who do not complete a course that has been certified by the VA, or do not submit adequate evidence for a mitigating circumstance, may have to pay back tuition and fees to the VA.
  • Students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Understanding Your Benefits

While STI will make every effort to help you navigate your benefits, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand your benefits. We cannot advise students on eligibility of benefits, as we do not represent the Department of Veterans Affairs. Any questions should be directed to 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

The following resources are available to help you find the information you need:

VA GI Bill Official Web Site:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/

VA VONAPP-Veterans Online Application:
https://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/default.asp

VA Education Forms hard copies:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/handouts_forms.asp

VA GI Bill FAQ:
https://gibill.custhelp.com/app/answers/list

Payment Rates and Comparison Tool:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/comparison_tool.asp

VA Post-9/11 GI Bill Summary:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp

Our VA regional processing center is the Buffalo Regional Office. Contact Information is:
Education Benefits Phone Number: 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.