Learn About Available Benefits
If you are considering college, know your options! Veterans with an honorable discharge (or in certain limited cases, with a “general – under honorable conditions” discharge) usually qualify for some form of service-related educational assistance. The variety of options can be a bit confusing, but the key is to narrow down your search and not be afraid to ask questions.
As a first step, you might investigate the TC web pages for federal VA Educational Benefits and the Hazelwood Exemption, which have links to the official web sites for the veteran educational benefit programs they describe. Also, feel free to contact Jesse Hausler in the TC Office of Veterans Services for more information about how the different programs work and compare to one another. Finally, the authoritative source of all info about educational benefits and your eligibility for them is the Department of Veterans Affairs (1-888-442-4551), which will be happy to give counsel, information, and advice.
Apply for Federal VA Benefits
Now that you know what benefit program you wish to request, you must apply for it. The key to success here is to start early. The Department of Veterans Affairs processes millions of claims each year, and “procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on theirs.”
You can apply online or by mailing paper forms. The VA and Texarkana College suggest applying online if you are comfortable doing so – it’s free, secure, and faster because no one has to re-type your document once it is received. Just create a “VONAPP” profile and choose the program you wish to apply for. If you prefer to apply using a paper application, contact the TC Veteran Services Office or a local VA office for forms.
However you decide to apply, we suggest sending the VA a photocopy of your or your family member’s discharge document (DD-214, “Member 4″ copy) to help them process your claim. The VA can usually look up this information, but it saves everyone time if they don’t have to search for it. You can scan the DD-214 and attach it to your online application, or it can be mailed to “Dept. of Veterans Affairs; P.O. Box 8888; Muskogee, OK 74402.” If you do the application online but mail the DD-214, be sure to include a cover letter explaining that you are sending it in support of your educational benefit claim.
Once you have submitted your application, expect a turnaround time of 4-6 weeks; applications submitted during peak registration months may take longer (June – August, November – January). After the VA makes a decision on your claim, they will send a letter to the mailing address you provided on your application either denying your claim or granting you a “Certificate of Eligibility” for educational benefits.
Apply for Hazelwood Benefits
Unlike federal VA benefits, eligibility for the Hazelwood Exemption is determined by each individual college. Students wishing to apply for the Hazelwood Exemption at Texarkana College should read our college’s Hazelwood information page, then submit their application directly to the TC Veterans Services Office. Please allow at least 2 weeks for processing, especially during peak registration months.
Visit the TC Veterans Services Office
After you receive your “Certificate of Eligibility,” pay a visit to TC’s Office of Veterans Services and introduce yourself to the campus VA Rep (Jesse Hausler) if you have not done so already. He will go over your educational benefits with you and explain how to use them. He will also have you fill out several forms for new students using VA benefits at Texarkana College. If you would like to fill these forms out in advance, please download and submit the packet available in PDF format below.
Please note that this packet is not required for Hazelwood Exemption recipients.
Make a Plan of Action for Admissions
As a veteran, you know that one of the keys to a successful mission is to have clearly-defined objectives. The same is true for the college admissions process! The Office of Veterans Services has put together a checklist that summarizes the main requirements for admission at Texarkana College.
Veteran Admissions Checklist
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and certain programs may have additional requirements beyond what is listed here. If you will visit the offices and people it suggests, however, they will point you in the right direction and ensure you are 100% ready for the semester ahead.
New VA Student Packet