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Veterans Affairs Standards and Guidelines

The academic policy for students enrolled at Tidewater Community College is applicable to all students. However, in order to make explicit a few guidelines which are in compliance with the Dept of Veterans Affairs, the Virginia Community College System and Virginia State Approving Agency's standards for institutions certifying veterans educational benefits, the college has established the following standards and guidelines for veterans and dependents. 

SATISFACTORY PROGRESS

Veterans are required to make satisfactory progress toward graduation. If a veteran is placed on Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal, DVA benefits will be terminated. Veterans who are not making satisfactory progress will be required to provide mitigating circumstances to the DVA for reinstatement of benefits. Refer to current college catalog. 

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Veterans or dependents eligible for DVA benefits should use the following as a guide for determining mitigating circumstances (circumstances which directly hinder eligible veterans or dependents pursuit of a course and which are judged to be out of the student's control). The following are some general categories of mitigating circumstances: 

  • Serious illness of the eligible veteran or dependent. 
  • Serious illness or death in the eligible veteran's or dependent's immediate family. 
  • Immediate family or financial obligations which require a change in terms, hours or place of employment which precludes pursuit of a course. 
  • Discontinuance of a course by a school. 
  • Active duty military service, including active duty for training. 
  • Withdrawal from a course or receipt of a non-punitive grade upon completion of a course due to unsatisfactory work may be considered to be under mitigating circumstances if the student can demonstrate good faith pursuit of the course up to the point of withdrawal or completion and the student submits evidence that he/she applied for Tutorial Aid or consulted a school Academic Counselor or Advisor regarding an attempt to remedy the unsatisfactory work before withdrawal or completion. 

DEBT AVOIDANCE 

In order to prevent the possibility of receiving an erroneous DVA educational benefits check, promptly report any changes in your enrollment (including attendance) to the TCC OVA and the DVA. Any withdrawal or failure to attend class may result in an adjustment to the award which may result in a debt to the U.S. government, which includes interest.

PRIOR CREDIT 

DVA regulations require that all previous education (prior college, CLEP, DANTES, ACT/PEP credits) as well as military training and experience be evaluated by TCC and, where applicable, be applied to shorten the program of education being pursued. It is the veteran's responsibility to ensure that acceptable records are sent to the appropriate college records office for evaluation no later than the first semester of enrollment. 

CHANGE OF PROGRAM 

The law permits one change of program without prior DVA approval if your attendance, conduct, and progress in the last program were satisfactory. DVA may approve additional changes if the proposed programs are suitable to your abilities, aptitudes and interests. 

EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS FOR COURSE(S) NOT COUNTED TO SATISFY GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS 

No payment of educational benefits will be made to an eligible veteran or person for auditing courses or courses for which the grade assigned is not used in computing graduation requirements. This includes prohibition of payments for courses from which the eligible veteran or person withdraws or receives a final grade of "W", unless mitigating circumstances are involved in the withdrawal. The DVA will not pay for courses for which prior credit was awarded or repeat of courses satisfactorily completed. 

ADVANCE PROCESSING 

The school must agree to receive and process the advance paper-work. Veterans must arrange to have tuition paid by means other than their advance payment. Please note that all of the following requirements must be met: 

  • The enrollment must be at least half-time training. 
  • The school must agree to receive and process the advance payment. 
  • The student must specifically request advance processing on the Enrollment Certification. 
  • The request for advance processing must be received by the DVA Regional Office at least 30 days, but not more than 120 days, before the beginning of the semester. 
  • The enrollment must be at least one full calendar month (30 days) after the student's prior term ended. 

TUTORIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM 

Veterans experiencing difficulties in satisfactorily completing a course may obtain tutorial information from the Veterans Affairs Office. Any veteran or eligible person who is having difficulties in his/her studies or lacks full knowledge of the subject matter should obtain a tutor as soon as possible. The Dept of Veterans Affairs will reimburse the veteran up to a maximum of $100 per month for 12 months or until a maximum of $1,200 is utilized. A charge against basic entitlement may apply. To be eligible for tutorial assistance, the veteran must be attending college on at least a half-time basis and need tutorial assistance to correct a deficiency in a course required in his/her program of study. 

WORK STUDY 

Veterans enrolled under Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 1606, and 1607 who are enrolled at least three-quarter time are eligible to apply for DVA Work Study for the semester in which they wish to be considered. Veterans who are disabled from service-connected disabilities shall be given preference. A student may work up to 25 hours per week at the hourly minimum wage in effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The hours are to be worked during or between enrollment periods. The work study program is an additional benefit and therefore it is a tax-free income.   

1. Veterans Standards of Progress Policy - TCC follows the academic policy for students developed by the Virginia Community College system. It is educationally sound and serves the needs and purposes of the College and its constituents. This policy applies equally to veterans. However, in order to make explicit a few guidelines specifically applicable to students certified for benefits from the Veterans Administration, the following procedures are in effect: 

  • A record of course progress for all students will be maintained by instructors. This record may include class attendance; dates of examinations; term papers and class projects completed, along with their respective dates of submission; grade level of performance; and other appropriate index of student achievement. The data must be sufficiently complete to determine the termination date of course pursuit, should a student fail to maintain satisfactory progress in attendance or quality of work. 
  • A student receiving VA benefits who adds or drops courses or withdraws from the College will be reported to the campus Veterans Affairs Office by the Admissions and Records Office within one week of the course adjustment or withdrawal. 
  • Any change in the status of a student receiving VA benefits, whether it be a change of curriculum, reduction or increase in course load, withdrawal, suspension, dismissal, or other type of change, will be reported to the Veterans Administration as soon as possible, but no more than thirty calendar days after the process has been officially completed by the Admissions and Records Office. 
  • A student receiving VA benefits may remain on probation only one semester without being reported as making unsatisfactory progress. If the student's grade point average (GPA) is not raised above the probationary level during the semester in which he is on probation, his unsatisfactory progress will be reported at the end of the probationary semester. Likewise, a student placed on suspension or academic dismissal will be reported as making unsatisfactory progress. 
  • The campus Veterans Affairs Office will use curriculum check sheets to list authorized courses in programs of study and to monitor the progress toward graduation of students receiving benefits. 
  • The Admissions and Records Office will ensure that previous collegiate, civilian or military training and experience of students receiving VA benefits are evaluated in a timely manner. It is the student's responsibility to insure that acceptable records are sent to the appropriate college records office no later than the first semester of enrollment. The campus Veterans Affairs Office will report the results of these evaluations to the Veterans Administration as soon as possible. 
  • Each recipient of Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits is required to execute a certificate of understanding enumerating obligations between the campus office of Veterans Affairs and the student.
2. Selection of Curriculum; Payment only for Courses in Curriculum - Each student receiving veterans benefits must select a curriculum leading to a diploma, certificate, or degree. A veteran may not be paid benefits for courses taken which are outside of his or her curriculum, except for authorized prerequisite courses and those substituted by a division approved waiver. 

3. Developmental Courses - Veteran students may receive benefits for enrolling in developmental courses where need for those courses has been indicated. Need for English and Math developmental courses is determined by placement testing. In the case of science courses, need is determined by previous academic experience. 

4. Tutoring - Reimbursement for tutoring services in all courses is available. Need for the tutoring and selection of the tutor are decisions made by the instructor and the student, as is the hourly rate to be paid. A maximum of $100.00 per month is allowed. 

5. Repeating Developmental Courses - Veteran students may receive benefits to repeat a developmental course one time if he or she has not met all requirements of the course and if a grade of R or U is assigned. Under certain circumstances, and if the need is documented by the appropriate Division Chairman, the veteran may repeat a course for a second time (i.e. third attempt). 

6. Repeating College Level Courses; Grades of W or F - Veteran students may not be paid benefits for repeating any college level course unless a W or F if assigned. If a grade of W is assigned, the veteran may be required to repay all benefits for the semester based on the W grade unless mitigating circumstances exist. If mitigating circumstances exist the veteran will receive benefits to the last date of attendance. Mitigating circumstances include: 

  • Serious illness of the eligible veteran or dependent.
  • Serious illness or death in the eligible veteran's or eligible dependent's immediate family. 
  • Immediate family of financial obligations which require a change in terms, hours, or place of employment which precludes pursuit of a course. 
  • Discontinuance of a course by a school. 
  • Active duty personnel military service, including active duty for training. An "F" grade in a required course may be repeated one time. Under certain circumstances and if the need is documented by the appropriate Division Chairman, a veteran may repeat a course for a second time (i.e. third attempt). 

7. Course Work Must Count Toward Graduation; Grades of W, X, or I - Veteran students may not be paid benefits for a college level course in which the grade received does not count to satisfy graduation requirements. As a result, they must normally repay benefits paid to them for any college level course in which they are awarded grades of X, W, or I unless these grades are changed to A, B, C, D, or F. The student has a grade period of one semester to complete the required work in a course where an I grade was awarded. He or she will not be paid additional benefits for the course in question during the grace period. 

8. Legal Liability of the College - While the veteran has primary liability for repayment of benefits to which he/she was not entitled, the college is secondarily liable for repayment of such benefits. Secondary liability is created by the College's failure to submit data on student drops, withdrawals, and satisfactory progress in a timely fashion. Submission of the administrative withdrawal form as soon as the decision is made to assign a W or F grade for non-attendance will greatly assist in timely reporting. 

9. College Attendance Policy - All students are expected to be present and on time at all scheduled class and laboratory meetings. Instructors are not required to admit a student who arrives late to the classroom. A student who adds a class or registers after the first day of classes is counted absent from all class meetings missed. Although a student may be allowed some absences in each semester, the student should be advised not to use these except for emergencies. Absences have adverse effects on student achievement. The student is responsible for determining and making up all work missed. Each instructor is responsible for keeping a record of the student's attendance in each class. 

When a student's absences in a course equal the number of weekly class sessions of that course, the student may be warned by the instructor that the student's standing in that class is in danger. 

Absences in excess of twenty percent of the scheduled instructional time for a course, including absences during the drop/add period, may be defined as unsatisfactory attendance. 

When an instructor determines that absences constitute unsatisfactory attendance, a Faculty Withdrawal Form may be completed and submitted to the Admissions and Records Office. The last date of attendance must be documented. A grade of "W" will be recorded for the first sixty percent of a course. Students withdrawn after sixty percent will receive a grade of "F" except under mitigating circumstances, which must be documented. A copy of this documentation must be placed in the student's academic file. (The V.A. office suggests that faculty members retain their grade and attendance records for at least one year.) Health Science programs may mandate more rigorous attendance standards. Such standards are explained in the Health Science program student handbooks. Source "College Catalog, page 42. 

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