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Certification Process Overview by VA Education Benefit Type

American University under advisement from the VA, certifies VA Education benefits in two phases.

The first phase occurs usually around 30 days before the start of classes. We will send a notification to the VA letting them know the timeframe you are registered for courses and the credit hours you are taking but we will not report your tuition and fees. This initial certification is a notification to the VA that you are enrolled to give them ample time to begin processing your Housing Allowance (BAH) and book stipend if you are eligible to receive this. This has been nicknamed the “zero-cert.”

The second phase occurs after add/drop when we will again review your schedule and send a 2nd certification with your tuition and fees amounts as well as any needed credit hours adjustments to the VA.

This process allows you the time you need to finalize your schedule and prevents debts being created on accounts due to schedule changes while processing your housing allowance as quickly as possible.

Important Information Concerning the Verification Process:

Students who are entitled to educational assistance under Chapter 31, Veterans Readiness and Employment, or Chapter 33, Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits must submit the following:

  • Certificate of eligibility or a Statement of Benefits from the VA website-eBenefits
  • Approved VAF 28-1905 form (Chapter 31 only)
  • Request for Certification via AU’s website (This must be completed each semester or term)

If these steps have been taken, AU will not impose any penalty including finance charges and will not deny access to classes, libraries or other institutional facilities while waiting for educational benefits to be processed by the VA and sent to AU. Students will not be required to borrow additional funds in the interim of a delayed disbursement of VA funding from Ch. 31 or 33.

Any balance due after the start of classes that is not covered by Ch. 31 or Ch. 33 VA funding will be subject to monthly finance charges of .05% of the balance due and an account balance stop.

CH31 V&E Benefits are certified by the school certifying official after completion & submission of the student’s Request for Certification

Students must also have an approved purchase order from the VR&E (Veterans Readiness and Employment) counselor submitted to the university. 

The Sponsor Accounts team will begin processing of your book voucher soon after your enrollment information is submitted to VR&E. Students will receive a book voucher via email that can be used online or in-person at AU's Bookstore.

Student accounts are paid by VR&E at the end of the semester. You will see a placeholder on file once all documentation has been received by AU and processed. If you are anticipating receiving a refund you must reach out to veteran services at American University in order for your refund to be processed before VR&E funding officially arrives. 

After students submit their Request for Certification, Veterans Services can submit enrollment information no earlier than 120 days before the semester/term begins. There are exceptions to this timeline, as follows: 

  1. If the student is currently on active duty. 

  1. If the student requests accelerated payment. 

  1. If the student is enrolled less than half-time. 

In cases where a student falls into any of these categories, certification, and reporting of tuition and fees must be carried out on or after the first day of classes.

You can check the status of your Request for Certification using the link provided in your confirmation of submission email. 

Submitted-Your Request for Certification is received, but not yet reviewed by the Veterans Services Team

Upcoming Semester-The processing timeframe for your Request for Certification has not yet begun. Your Request will be reviewed and submitted closer to the start of the semester

Zero Cert-The Veterans Services Office has completed Phase One of the Certification Process

Certified/Complete- The Veterans Services Office has completed Both Phases of the Certification Process

Pending-The Veterans Services Office is in contact with an AU department or Veterans Affairs before completing your request.

No SSN-The Veterans Services office needs additional information to complete your request. Please go to:

Wrong Semester-Please reach out to Veterans Services to re-submit your request for the correct semester.

No Current Schedule-Upon initial review, you are not registered for courses. If classes are added to your schedule, please email so we can process your request.

If you need to submit any changes/updates to your Request for Certification, please do not submit a duplicate form. Contact the Veterans Services Office at

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out at and visit our webpage for more information.

Zero Cert vs 2nd Cert

Check out the infographic above for a snapshot the certification process for Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® Benefits!