Veterans Resource Center (VRC) FAQ

NEW STUDENT MATRICULATION for MILITARY-CONNECTED STUDENTS

What steps do I need to take to start at ELAC as a student veteran, dependent or service member?

  1. Apply online to ELAC.  It will take approximately 24-48 hours to receive a Student ID (SID) number via email. 
  2. Apply for VA Education Benefits. While waiting for your SID number, Apply for VA Education Benefits at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/apply and click on “Find Your Education Benefits Form”.  You can also apply for VA Education Benefits at https://www.vets.gov.  When applying, consider the following tips:
  • Provide your personal information pertaining to your military service in accordance with the information on your DD-214 and to the best of your ability. 
  • Provide the information of the institution you wish to attend: 

EAST LOS ANGELES COLLEGE 
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez 
Monterey Park, CA 91754 

  • Print the webpage when you get to “Benefits Claim Submitted” and wait 30 days to receive your Certificate of Eligibility. You officially need this letter to certify classes for the term.  However, we can start this process with the printed confirmation without having to wait the 30 days. 
  1. Orientation & Counseling. Once issued an SID number, complete the following matriculation requirements online:
    • Orientation
    • Counseling
  2. Meet with the Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist.  Contact the VRC to schedule an appointment with the Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist to develop a Student Educational Plan (SEP).  The SEP serves as a contract between the VA, student and campus that lists required courses needed to meet a student’s educational goal.  Only courses REQUIRED to meet the student’s educational goal will be certified and will count towards your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA).  In preparation for your counseling appointment, provide copies of your unofficial transcript from all colleges/universities attended for an initial evaluation.  The VA will not pay for classes that a student has previously and successfully completed.  During your initial appointment, expect to learn more about additional on-campus, county, state and federal resources for veterans, service members and dependents.
  3. Official Transcripts. Request Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.  Transcripts should be mailed directly from the college/university previously attended to ELAC’s Admissions & Records.  Transcripts submitted in-person or electronically directly from students to Admissions & Records will not be accepted.  Per VA guidelines, when using VA Education Benefits, official transcripts must be submitted to the campus by the end of the second semester of being certified. 
  4. Enroll. Enroll in approved courses listed in your Student Educational Plan.  Reach out to the VRC for support and assistance with enrolling into courses. We are here to help.
  5. Request VA Certification (if using VA Education Benefits). Once you have enrolled in courses for the upcoming term, submit the VRC VA Certification Form (if using VA Education Benefits) available on http://veterans.elac.edu under “Request Certification.”
  6. Start the term! Attend your scheduled classes and notify the School Certifying Official (SCO) of any changes to the status of your enrollment (dropped classes, added classes, etc.) 
  7. ADDITIONAL Steps:
    • Visit the VRC to access services, peer support and resources for all military-connected students, whether you’re using VA Education benefits or not
    • Attend a VRC New Student Veteran Orientation (offered prior to every term)
    • Submit a copy of your DD-214 to the School Certifying Official, Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist to request Priority Registration and Military Credit
    • Apply online for FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)

Do I get college credit for my military training?

Yes.  Credit for military service will be awarded toward Associate Degree requirements as follows:

  • Three units of credit towards LACCD Associate Degree general education Area E: Health and Kinesiology (Board Rule 6201.14)
  • Three units of elective credit toward the 60 units required for an associate degree

Student veterans electing to receive military credit for LACCD degrees must provide verification of U.S. military service, as follows:

  • Military Personnel of Active Duty: documentation must verify at least 181 days of active duty
  • Former Military Personnel currently NOT on Active Duty: Active Duty documentation (DD-214) must indicate student’s length of service, which must include 181 days of active duty

Military credit will be posted on student transcripts in keeping with the provisions of Administrative Regulation E-118.

VA EDUCATION BENEFITS

I am currently enrolled, will be enrolled, or have previously attended the Sheriff’s or Fire Academy and would like to use my VA education benefits.  What steps should I take to request VA certification for my training?

Veterans with remaining VA educational benefits eligibility can use their earned VA education benefits while attending the Los Angeles County Sheriff Academy and Fire Academy. In order to certify for VA educational benefits at ELAC during your training at either of the Academies, you will need to submit the following documents to the School Certifying Official*:

  • DD-214 (Member 4)
  • Certificate of Eligibility from the VA
  • Graduation Certificate or Academy Letter (with Start and End dates)
  • Copy of your Sheriff / Fire Academy ID Card
  • ELAC VA Certification form (available online or by clicking here: ELAC VA Educational Benefits Certification Form

Can I have my benefits Direct Deposited into my bank account?

Direct deposit of VA educational benefits payment is available for Chapter 30, 33, 35, 1606 and 1607 recipients. This program speeds up education and work study payments. It also decreases chance of missing, lost, or stolen checks. Students may request direct deposit through the VA by calling the VA at 1-888-442-4551. The VA will require students to provide their VA file number, bank routing number, and checking/savings account number.

 

Can I use my benefits at two or more different schools at the same time?

While receiving VA Educational Benefits, students may be concurrently enrolled at more than one school during the same semester. Whichever school the student is pursuing a degree from will be the Parent/Primary School. If the student is registered and pursuing courses at a four-year institution, that school will be deemed the Parent/Primary School. Students must provide an authorization letter from the advisor at the Parent School (called Parent Letter or Primary School Letter). This form states that the courses taken at the Secondary/Guest School will be credited toward the current major the student is pursuing. Students are responsible for informing the Secondary/Guest School's Certifying Official of the request to be certified at the Secondary/Guest School. The Secondary/Guest School will complete the certification for the benefits form (VA form 22-1999) and send this information to the VA.

Students requesting ELAC’s VRC to generate a Parent Letter for a Secondary/Guest School must show proof of enrollment and officially request for the Parent Letter to be generated by coming into the VRC. Student is responsible for any overpayment for courses not applicable to declared VA program.

 

If I have already used my benefits at another school, how do I transfer them to ELAC?

Students who previously received VA educational benefits at another school must complete VA form 22-1995/5495 (Change of Place of Training) and submit it to the VRC.

 

How do I get my benefits paid each semester?

Certification for VA Education benefits is not automatic. Students must stop by the VRC each semester they wish to utilize benefits and fill out a new Certification Request form. If you are changing your major, you must meet with the Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist to get an approved academic plan to submit with your Certification Request. If you are not changing your major, you are still encouraged to meet with the Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist each semester before submitting your Certification Request.

 

How much will my VA benefit be each month?

Rates depend upon amount contributed and/or length of time in service (Number of months of contribution), as well as enrollment status. Students can check current payment rates for Chapters 30, 1606, 1607, and 35 at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/.  For CH 33 current payment rates go to https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.  "Duty Zip Code" will be 91754 for ELAC. "Pay Grade" is always "E-5". Students are paid at the MHA/BAH rate that reads "With Dependents". Increase in payment rates will take effect August 1st of the respective calendar year.  Students may also inquire at the VRC for current payment rates for VA Education Benefits.

 

Do I have to be a full-time student to receive benefits?

Different program (Chapters) pay different rates based on attendance or "rate of pursuit". Also how long a class meets (i.e. 5, 8, or 16 weeks) affects your rate of pay. The SCO, Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist can help you determine your rate of pay each semester based on your enrollment.

 

I don’t plan on using VA Education Benefits, should I still meet with a Veterans Counselor or VRC Disability Specialist?

In all cases it is recommended that you meet with the VRC Veterans Counselors regardless if you intend to use veterans or dependents benefits.  Our VRC Faculty provides students with a variety of resources, referrals, insight into Vocational Rehabilitation, and veteran-specific transfer support.  If you do intend to use VA Education Benefits while at ELAC, then it is required by the VA that your elected courses follow a Student Educational Plan developed by our Veterans Counselors to be eligible for certification. 

 

What other Education Benefits can I apply for aside from VA benefits? 

It is HIGHLY recommended that students apply for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Veterans and dependents may use both Financial Aid and VA Education Benefits concurrently.  Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships.  For more information, ask the VRC staff. 

 

I have heard about VA Work Study, what is it?

The VA Work Study Program is tax-free employment program through the VA. The rate is minimum wage, state or federal – whichever one is higher. Students must be enrolled in and receiving VA educational benefits at the 3/4 time rate or more. For more information, contact the VRC.

 

Does ELAC offer the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program (DoD TA)?

No, ELAC currently does not participate in the DoD TA Program.