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Military Educational Benefits

The Military Educational Benefits Specialist is here to assist our service members, veterans, and their dependents, access their earned benefits while studying at Biola. As part of the Office of the Registrar, we ensure institutional and student compliance with all regulations pertaining to the use of VA and DOD educational benefits, and are available to help the veteran and military affiliated community understand, utilize, and maintain their benefits. We are dedicated to processing your benefits requests accurately and efficiently and look forward to helping you achieve your education goals.

If you are eligible to receive educational benefits from the VA or DOD, we can provide the necessary enrollment certification and assist you with completing the appropriate forms. Review the FAQ below to find topics and questions related to using your benefits and find out how our office can assist you.

John Woolard

Military Educational Benefits Specialist
(562) 944-0351 ext.3023 

Have questions?

Please reach out to John Woolard!

  • Phone: (562) 903-4720 x3023
  • Email:
  • Location: Metzger Hall, Middle Level, Office of the Registrar — Biola University

Walk-in Appointments

Day Walk-in Hours
Monday 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday 9-11 a.m. & 3-4 p.m.
Wednesday 3–4 p.m.
Thursday 9-11 a.m. & 3-4 p.m. (Vet Center)
Friday 3–4 p.m.

Contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Military Benefits Authorization Process

Congratulations! Now that you’ve been admitted to Biola, what are your next steps?

  1. Apply to the VA for your educational benefits.

    • We recommend prospective students apply for benefits even if they are unsure of their eligibility. We encourage students to reach out to the VA if they are uncertain of their options or eligibility.
  2. You will receive a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA once they have verified your entitlements.

    • It usually takes around 30 days for the VA to process your application and send out a Certificate of Eligibility. In some cases it may take a little longer.
  3. Submit your Benefits Authorization form to the Office of the Registrar.

    • Regardless of the benefits available to you, please fill out a Benefits Authorization form as soon as you are enrolled at Biola, even if you are still working out the details of your schedule. We can make adjustments as the certification window approaches.
    • Make sure to include your Certificate of Eligibility. We cannot process your benefits request without the certificate. This applies to all VA and DOD education benefits, not just the Post-9/11 GI Bill® . If you are waiting for a Certificate of Eligibility, send a copy of your online statement of benefits as a stand-in until your certificate arrives. Visit the VA website to download a digital copy of your statement of benefits.
    • You must submit a Benefits Authorization Form for every semester you wish to use your educational benefits.
  4. You will receive email notification of your enrollment certification from the VA.

    • You will be notified once your credits have been certified. If for any reason we cannot move forward with your request to use benefits, you will be notified with an explanation of the situation and what we need from you to move forward.
    • If your VA or DOD entitlement covers tuition and fees then a temporary credit in the amount expected will post to your account until the funds are disbursed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits Eligibility

I don’t know which VA benefit applies to me, what should I do?

To obtain more information about various VA entitlements, eligibility requirements, and to see what you may qualify for, please call the VA’s education hotline or visit the VA website. Keep in mind, while the Military Educational Benefits Specialist is available to answer questions you might have, Biola does not determine eligibility on behalf of the VA.

Contact the VA:

    Can your office tell me if I am eligible to receive benefits or how much I have left?

    Biola does not have access to VA records and is unable to verify your eligibility. You may request your benefits on the VA website and they will be able to confirm your eligibility. If you are a veteran who is entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits, you can get an online statement of benefits from the VA website while you wait for a copy in the mail. If you are a dependent or spouse, you must request a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA. In both cases, your Certificate of Eligibility will indicate the amount of entitlement you have remaining.

    How do I know if my preferred program of study is approved by the VA?

    Students should check the public WEAMS site to ensure their program of choice is approved for VA and/or DOD educational benefits. Follow the steps below to see if your program is approved:

    1. First, go to the public WEAMS site.
    2. In the Search Filters:
      1. Institution Name- enter Biola
      2. Program Type- select Institution of Higher Learning
    3. Select Biola University in the Search Results
      1. Select the programs tab and check for your program

      If you do not see your program listed be sure to reach out to the Military Educational Benefits Specialist.

      Will you certify courses that don’t apply to my degree program?

      No. The VA will only pay benefits for courses that are degree applicable (i.e., fulfilling a requirement towards the completion of your degree program). The only exception to this is during a student’s last semester of enrollment leading to their degree completion. If the student does not have enough required credits remaining to obtain a full-time status then the student can enroll in additional coursework. The nonrequired course(s) can help you maintain a full-time status so long as the course could have been used to satisfy a degree requirement and you haven’t already taken it.

      Understanding VA Benefits

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient. How much is the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)?

      The VA pays a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) for eligible beneficiaries equivalent to the BAH of an E-5 with dependents. The amount depends on the location of the institution where you take a majority of your classes. Generally, a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient entitled to 100% of their earned benefit will receive the MHA so long as they are above a 50% rate of pursuit (i.e., taking more than half a full course load, and at least one of their classes is residential). Students taking online courses only will be eligible for the online MHA amount. Use the GI Bill® Comparison Tool to determine your housing allowance. Please note that the MHA is paid only to Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients. Eligible students under different programs have varying entitlements paid to them. Additionally, active duty servicemembers and the spouses of active duty servicemembers using transferred benefits are not eligible for MHA.

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient. Will I receive the full Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if I am not a full-time student?

      No. The full Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) will not be applied if you are carrying less than a full time status. The amount is prorated according to your rate of pursuit. For example, if you are only pursuing ¾ of a full course load (9 credits out of 12 for undergraduates) then you will receive ¾ of the full MHA amount so long as you have at least one residential course. Additionally, you must be enrolled more than half-time to receive any MHA at all. For example, an undergraduate student taking 6 credits will not qualify for the MHA. You must be above a half-time course load to receive the prorated amount. Keep in mind that the MHA for residential students is different from their online counterparts. Students taking online only classes will receive the online MHA while students who have at least one residential class while maintaining over half a course load will receive the residential MHA. Use the GI Bill® Comparison Tool to find out how much you will receive in housing allowance.

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient. What is the Yellow Ribbon program and do I qualify?

      The Yellow Ribbon program is a voluntary agreement between the VA and Biola that may help cover the cost of tuition and fees over the yearly cap amount set by the VA. The VA agrees to split the difference of the overage with participating schools. For example, if a student went over the yearly cap amount by $10,000.00, then the Yellow Ribbon program would contribute an additional $5,000.00 if the participating institution also contributed $5,000.00. To qualify for the Yellow Ribbon program, you must be a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient with 100% eligibility as determined by the VA. Students who have exhausted their Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits are not eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program.

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient at 100% entitlement and I’m eligible for Yellow Ribbon. Why do I still owe a balance to the university?

      Some charges are not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill® or the Yellow Ribbon program. Any non-mandatory fees charged to your student account cannot be paid for by the Post-9/11 GI Bill® or Yellow Ribbon. These include but are not limited to, parking permits, fines, housing, and meal plans. These charges would need to be covered by the student or other forms of financial aid.

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient but I also receive Federal, State, or institutional financial aid (i.e., Pell Grant, Biola Institutional Aid, student loans, etc.). Can I receive a refund from this additional aid?

      While the Post-9/11 GI Bill® is not refundable to students, refunds are available for some financial aid awards. If your financial aid exceeds your outstanding balance, you can request a refund of the excess aid once your tuition payment from the VA has been applied to your account. Note that some forms of aid are tuition specific and are not refundable. Generally, grants and scholarships not restricted to tuition are refundable. If you have any questions please contact the Financial Aid Office at

      I am a Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipient and I received a letter from the VA that says my certification was submitted with $0 in tuition. What does this mean?

      The VA requires a two step certification process in order to ensure accuracy. We send the first certification roughly 30 days before classes begin and report $0 in tuition and fees. This ensures students get their book stipend before classes begin and there’s no delay in their monthly housing allowance. The second certification occurs after the add/drop period. Once tuition and fees are finalized, we report the final amount through an amendment to the original certification. You will get email updates from the VA as the process unfolds and your statement of benefits will reflect tuition and fees at that time.

      I am a Chapter 1606, 30, or 35 recipient. Does Biola work with these programs and will the VA send a tuition payment directly to the university?

      Yes, Biola provides enrollment certification for Chapters 1606, 30, and 35. However, the VA does not send tuition payments to Biola University under these entitlements. The VA sends a monthly stipend directly to the student. While many students use these funds to offset the cost of tuition and fees, the amount of the stipend is typically not enough to pay the entire balance. For more information regarding payment plans, reach out to Student Accounts at

      Does Biola University work with Chapter 31, Veteran Readiness and Employment, recipients?

      Yes! We have a robust group of veterans who leverage this benefit towards gainful employment. Our students pursue a variety of programs, everything from undergraduate degrees to Masters. This program may cover the cost of all tuition and fees, books and supplies, and other costs associated with a veteran’s individual employment plan. Check with the VA for eligibility and information.

      I received a debt letter from the VA. Do I have to pay the VA back?

      There are instances when you may incur a debt to the VA. The VA sends debt letters to students only for amounts paid directly to the student. For example, if you dropped a course after the add/drop date and fell below full time status after the VA paid you the full monthly housing allowance (MHA) then they will request a return of the overage. Students will be required to remit payment. Keep in mind, the VA will not request repayment for funds sent to the university. For information on VA debts, visit the VA debt website.

      Benefits Authorization Form

      When should I submit my Benefits Authorization Form?

      You should submit a Benefits Authorization Form as early as possible, even if you are still working out the details of your schedule. While we will not certify your benefits until you have registered in courses, your Benefits Authorization Form indicates your enrollment and intentions to use benefits. We can make adjustments as the certification window approaches. Since we can only certify you for courses you are registered in, it is in your best interest to submit your Benefits Authorization Form as soon as possible. We aim to certify each student in a timely manner to avoid any disruptions to student benefits.

      What can I expect when I submit a Benefits Authorization Form?

      Once your Benefits Authorization Form is on file and you are registered for the semester, Biola will have the required paperwork to report your enrollment information to the VA. You will receive an email notification once your credits have been certified. If for any reason we cannot move forward with your request to use benefits, you will be notified with an explanation of the situation and what we need from you to move forward.

      Do I have to submit a Benefits Authorization Form every semester?

      Yes, you must submit a Benefits Authorization Form for every semester you wish to use your education benefits. This is required by the VA and DOD. Failure to complete this form in a timely manner will delay the certification process, which in turn, might delay disbursement of benefits. Prompt attention to the Benefits Authorization Form each semester ensures a student's benefits are disbursed in a timely manner and are protected against unlawful access. Use the following steps to complete the form.

      1. Visit Biola’s Veterans Scholarship & Benefits page
      2. Scroll down to Military Benefits Forms
      3. Select Biola Benefit Authorization Form
      4. Complete the form and include the most recent copy of your Certificate of Eligibility.

      I've added or dropped a course. What should I do now?

      If you make a change to your course schedule (i.e. add/drop/adjust course/s), you must notify us right away. In most cases, swapping one course for another won’t change anything. However, some course substitutions and/or credit reductions can impact the amount of benefit you receive. We are happy to discuss any desired changes to your schedule beforehand so that you will be aware of potential impacts.

      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