Oakland Community College

Veterans Affairs - Frequently Asked Question

General Question

I am a new student and would like to start using my VA benefits, what do I need to do to get started?

Welcome to Oakland Community College (OCC), listed below is the check list and tasks necessary for you to complete in order to get started.
  • Apply as a student to OCC, once you receive confirmation of student status you will need to plan for a time to take the COMPASS test. Allow some time in your schedule to complete a COMPASS test which can be taken at any campus location
  • Set aside a copy of your DD214 (Member 4) for OCC VA office.
  • Go to VA website www.gibill.va.gov to establish benefits. You will receive a Letter of Eligibility, set aside a copy for the OCC VA office.
  • Supply copies of all unofficial transcripts for the OCC VA office.
  • Contact Academic Counseling at any campus that is convenient for you to reach after you have taken the COMPASS test to set up an appointment to meet, make sure that you let them know you are a Veteran seeking to complete a Veterans Plan of Study. When meeting with the Counselor you will complete a Veterans Plan of Study, you will need to provide a copy of the Veterans Plan of Study to OCC VA.
  • Complete a Statement of Responsibility Form which can be found on the OCC website or a printed copy is available in front of the OCC VA office in Auburn Hills.
  • Complete a Statement of Intent Form which can be found on the OCC website or a printed copy is available in front of the OCC VA office in Auburn Hills.
Return all completed information (DD214, Letter of Eligibility from VA, Unofficial Transcripts, Veterans Plan of Study, Statement of Responsibility and Statement of Intent) as one package to the OCC VA office in Auburn Hills.

Can you provide the location of the OCC VA office and hours of operation?

Oakland Community College VA office is located at the Auburn Hills campus in Building B on the second floor, look for Financial Services sign as we reside in the same office. Ample parking is available and SMART does have a shuttle to the campus (SMART Customer Service Connector & Fixed Route - 866-962-5515). Students may walk in any time on Tuesday without an appointment from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.

I can't remember what to do and I am a returning student from last semester?

The OCC VA office requires a completed Statement of Intent each semester you intend to take a course load and use your benefits.

How do I get my VA benefits started?

Go to the following website - www.gibill.va.gov and look for the section called establishing benefits; this applies to a veteran or dependent of a veteran.

What is the best way to contact the OCC VA staff?

It really depends on you, if you think an email will work then email, call us and expect a call back within 48 hrs or less or just stop in during open office hours (Tuesday from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm). Most importantly ask the question!

I am a Veteran and a returning student to OCC, what should I do?

If it has been longer than three years since you last attended OCC, you will need to complete a new application to the college as well provide the OCC VA office with the information required for your file. If it has been less than three years since you last attended you will not need to reapply, but you will need to check with the OCC VA office to verify if your VA file is still being held or has been shredded for your protection.

How will the OCC VA communicate with me?

To maintain student confidentiality, OCC VA will only communicate sensitive information with students using their OCC student e-mail addresses. Be sure to check this often to receive important information and notifications.

I wanted more information on grants and loans, whom should I contact?

The department with in OCC that helps students is Financial Resources & Scholarships, they have office locations on every campus. In Auburn Hills the OCC VA office resides in the same location so you will be able to stop in and ask either Financial Services or OCC VA questions if needed. Make sure you fill the FAFSA application as that government form is used to determine benefit eligibility.

Can I take the same class more than once?

In some situations you can take the same class more than once and have it certified. If you fail a course or receive a grade that is below the minimum requirement for graduation or entry into specified area of study then it could be retaken. Send us an e-mail to seek more information on a possible retake.

I just checked my email and the OCC VA office message said one or more courses won’t fall under my Veterans Plan of Study?

A-Your Veterans Plan of Study is the guide for your class selection as VA will only pay for courses that fall under the plan. VA will not pay for suggested courses, nor will the VA pay for a course that another college or university suggests you should take before a transfer. You will need to make the changes in order to meet VA requirements; you can always contact us for further information. If in doubt send us an email with your course selection and OCC VA will verify if the course falls under your Veterans Plan of Study.

My course load has changed (dropped a class or canceled class) what should I do?

Contact the OCC VA office any time you have a change in schedule. Failure not to make the OCC VA office aware could result in a delay of benefits.

I am looking for some career guidance, does OCC offer that type of support?

Yes, the Academic Counseling office has career guidance support, make an appointment with the counseling office and let them know when making the appointment your desire for career guidance.

Can an Academic Counselor provide guidance on continuing my education after my time with OCC is complete?

Yes, if you’re thinking about a next step after OCC to continue your education its best to contact the counseling office to set up an appointment. A counselor will be able to discuss what another school is looking for in a transfer.

I have been dealing with some personal issues, does OCC have counseling available for me to speak with someone?

Yes, contact the Academic Counseling office at the campus nearest to you and ask for an appointment as soon as possible, please make them aware why you want the appointment.
If you have an immediate need to speak with someone call 800.273.TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected to a skilled trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

I am looking for some help like tutoring, where do I go?

Contact the Academic Support Center as they provide tutoring in a variety of subject areas and an ASC center is located on every campus

I just received an email from VA about a change in my enrollment, what is going on with this?

Whenever OCC VA goes into your account to make changes VA will send an email. The reasons for change are numerous and can include a course drop or add, withdrawal or an entry error after a periodic audit. Whatever the case an error was discovered and updated with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and this was done in order to keep the student as well as the college in good standing.

I would like to attend another college or university while attending OCC, what do I need to do?

Any time you would like to attend another school you will have to the following:
  • contact an Academic Counselor to make your course selection transfers back to OCC and falls under your Veterans Plan of Study.
  • contact the OCC VA office to request a Parent School Letter be sent and provide documentation that the course is approved by counselor.

Does the OCC VA report my grades to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs?

Yes, the OCC VA office reports grades and changes to your enrollment status as soon as we are made aware of the changes. Please report any changes as soon as possible as not informing the OCC VA office may adversely affect your education benefit from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

I have been activated for military duty (training/drill/deployment overseas), what should I do?

Contact the OCC VA office as soon as possible, we will require a copy of your paper work for your file.
If you are called to active duty in the middle of a semester and this will prevent you from finishing your class, bring a copy of the orders and report to any campus Enrollment Services. You will complete a withdrawal form will receive a 100% refund of tuition and course fees.

I wanted to take a course load during the summer how should or can I do this and still qualify as full time status with VA?

The best way to accomplish is either of the following: only attempt a course load (7-12 credit hours) for the 15 week semester or attempt 6 credit hours for each of the 8 week semesters. If you attempt 6 credit hours for each of the 8 week periods VA will recognize this as full time for the 8 weeks, you will only be paid for the dates of attendance.
Chapter 35 Dependents of Veterans

I am the dependent of a Veteran (CH 35), how do I establish benefits?

Go to the following website - www.gibill.va.gov and look for the section called establishing benefits, you will need to have the Social Security number of the Veteran in order to establish the benefit

I am CH 35, Dependent of a Veteran, do I need to do everything listed for the Veterans?

Yes, every person that receives benefits from the Veterans Administration needs to complete all items required by the OCC office of Veterans Affairs. As well you will need to supply us the Social Security number of the Veteran from whom the benefits come from and no you don’t need to supply us a copy of DD 214 as you are not a veteran.

Am I eligible for the Children of Veterans Tuition Grant program from the State of Michigan and if I am eligible what do I need to do?

To determine eligibility for the Children of Veterans Tuition Grant program you will need to contact the Dept. of Treasury for the State of Michigan. Once approved please bring a copy of award letter to the OCC VA office along with the other items required for your file

What is CHAMPVA and how do I qualify?

CHAMPVA provides health coverage to the spouse, widow or children of veterans that qualify; you must contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly to determine eligibility and to establish the benefit. If you are CHAMPVA eligible make sure you provide the OCC VA office proper documentation and check off the box on the Statement of Intent form to assure OCC VA does report your status
Tuition Assistance

I receive FTA (Federal Tuition Assistance) what do I do?

Send over your information and we will forward to the correct department with in OCC. Also you will need to supply all the information required of any student veteran. Please be aware that your TA pays first and any other forms of assistance will pay the remainder if any.
Chapter 33 Post 9/11

Oakland Community College sent me a bill and I am CH 33 Post 9/11, why am I getting a bill?

The college sends out a bill because technically you owe the college (yes even though VA is paying the bill), once payment is received by the college and applied your account status will be updated. If you receive a bill latter in the semester, first check with Veterans Affairs to see if payment has been made to the college, if the college has been paid please contact the OCC VA office to make sure the payment has been applied to your account.

I paid for my course load and I receive CH 33 Post 9/11 benefits, what happens next?

Because the Dept. of Veterans Affairs pays OCC directly, once the college receives payment you will be refunded the balance. If for some reason you don’t receive a refund please contact the OCC VA office directly.

I am CH 33 Post 9/11 and just checked, VA states they have sent payment to OCC but the college still shows a balance?

Either we just have not processed the payment (you can monitor payment via your OCC student account) or if you are not 100% tuition eligible then you may have balance with the college in which case you will have to clear out the balance to register for further course’s.

VA just sent me a letter saying an overpayment was made and I owe money.

If you dropped a course, withdrew outside of the prescribed times of the college, or stopped attending a course for which you received a F grade OCC VA will update the Dept. of Veterans Affairs of your current enrollment status. The surprise for you is because you didn’t inform OCC VA of your current situation and now as a result you have a bill with VA. Please contact the OCC VA office to discuss what is going on and possible outcomes.

I am using my Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill, how or when do I get my book stipend?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill book stipend will be sent directly to you by the VA. You will not receive this until after the beginning of the semester so you will have to purchase your books and wait to be reimbursed.

I am using my Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill. Will I still get my Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if I take all my classes online?

If you are enrolled exclusively in online courses for a semester and have a rate of pursuit of greater than 50%, you will still be eligible for a MHA. However, it will be at the reduced rate of 50% of the national average of all Basic Allowances for Housing. You must enroll in at least on-campus course to receive the BAH for the zip code of the school. You will receive the full BAH as long as your on-campus class is in session.

What do I need to do in order to receive the Monthly Housing Allowance from VA?

To receive the housing benefit you will need to attempt in the range of 7 credit hours to 12 credit hours during a 15 week semester. With 12 credit hours being the top of the range, as you attempt less credit hours the Monthly Housing Allowance decreases. Below 7 credit hours attempted and you will not receive the Monthly Housing Allowance and just because you attempt more than 12 credit hours does not mean you will receive more MHA.
Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab

I am a Voc Rehab CH31 student, what do I need to know to get started?

You will need to have your VA Counselor provide the OCC VA office a 1905 form. This form lets OCC know your status as to the benefit provided. Along with the form you will still need to follow the steps sighted earlier in the document for new students.

I am a Voc Rehab CH 31 student and wanted to purchase books for the semester?

Contact the OCC VA office and we will provide you a voucher for the semester. This can only be used for the purchase of books and a small amount of supplies such as pens, paper and folders. If you required an item for a course or to support your academic progress that is a substantial amount of money contact your Voc Rehab Counselor to explain the need and seek authorization for the purchase.

I have just been awarded so what do I do?

Follow the list sighted earlier in the document. Please move fast as some items can take time and slow down the process.

I understand that I will be required to pay the college directly for my course work, what can I do since I am unable to afford the cost? Does OCC participate in the advance payment part of the program?

Unfortunately, OCC does not participate in the advance payment part of the VRAP program. You may be eligible for Financial Assistance in which case you will need to apply, call or stop into any campus Financial Assistance office to seek information.

What classes can I sign up for in VRAP?

You must take a course load that falls under your Veterans Plan of Study, no exceptions. Your Veterans Plan of Study will match the program you submitted for under the VRAP application to VA.
W.A.V.E. - Web Automated Verification of Enrollment

I think I may have to verify enrollment with WAVE, what do I do?

Yes, if you are a current or active benefit award (active records are those with activity in the last 12 months) for the following: MGIB-Active Duty (Chapter 30), or MGIB Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606), or Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP, Chapter 1607), or Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) - you must use WAVE to verify enrollment.
Website: https://www.gibill.va.gov/wave/index.do or call 877.823.2378.