Educational Benefits

Overview

Military-connected students may be eligible for federal and/or state educational benefits. VA Education Benefits are processed by the School Certifying Official. The CalVet Fee Waiver, a state benefit for dependents, is processed by the Financial Aid Office.

Neither Sonoma State University nor the School Certifying Official can determine whether you are eligible for educational benefits or how much you are eligible to receive.

Please review the steps below regarding how to initiate the benefits process.

How to Apply for VA Benefits

The certification process is time-consuming. You should begin this process as soon as you submit your Enrollment Reservation Deposit to accept your admission offer.

In order to activate your certification file, students are required to submit one of the following documents to the School VA Certifying Official:

  1. Certification of Eligibility from the US Department of Veterans Affairs
  2. VR&E Only: Students must email the VA School Certifying Official the name and contact information of their assigned Case Manager. 

Note: To be certified, students must submit their certification request each semester through their MySSU Student Center. Please see step-by-step instructions here.

For Summer 2021 courses, students must submit the Semester Class Enrollment Form. Fall 2021 certification requests must be submitted via your student portal. 

Apply for the CalVet Fee Waiver

The College Fee Waiver is a program of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet). This benefit waives the tuition fee at SSU, and is for dependents of eligible disabled Veterans with a service connected disability rating of 0% or higher. Families apply for this benefit through their local county Veteran Services Office.

Students utilizing the CalVet Fee Waiver submit their Fee Waiver Authorization forms directly to the Financial Aid Office via fax at (707) 664-4242 or via email at finaid@sonoma.edu. When submitting your form, please indicate the student’s full name and SSU ID number and black out their Social Security Number.

The Fee Waiver Authorization is good for one academic year only. Continuing students must obtain a Fee Waiver Authorization each year. To prevent disenrollment from classes, the Fee Waiver Authorization needs to be submitted to the Financial Aid Office before the date that registration charges are due to be paid for the fall and/or spring semester.

Please note the Fee Waiver Authorization benefit is for the Tuition Fee only, not any other campus fees. It does not cover any other expenses such as books, parking, or room and board.

This waiver cannot be applied to extended education programs or courses, including Winter or Summer intersession courses. However, the Fee Waiver Authorization can be used for the Early Start Program. A copy of the approval letter must be provided to the SSU School of Extended & International Education.

Applying for Financial Aid

All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your VAEB (your entitlement for your military service) does not affect your eligibility to apply for financial aid.

Most undergraduate students will qualify for a varied amount of grants and loans. Federal grants are not available to graduate or professional students, but you may still obtain loans or other funding sources.

Students can accept or decline any part of their financial aid award. 

Outside Grants and Scholarships

If you are using 100% VA Educational Benefits or the CalVet Fee Waiver, beware of grants or scholarships that say they must be applied directly to tuition and fees. If you use a grant that must be applied to tuition and fees in conjunction with your VAEB, the university is required to deduct the appropriate amount from your tuition invoice to the VA. So, essentially you did extra work to get the same amount of money. Grants or scholarships that say “General Education Expenses” should be good to go and can be used in addition to your VA Educational Benefits without penalty.

Please note that many grants and scholarships require you to have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students interested in applying to scholarships at SSU should visit the SSU Scholarship Office.