Military & Veterans FAQ
Excelsior College has continuous enrollment, and our flexibly-scheduled distance learning courses begin every other month throughout the year. Online courses are offered in 8 week and 15 week terms. Review our course search page for detailed information. Please contact an academic advisor for course approval to be sure the course(s) you choose will apply toward your remaining degree requirements.
Yes, but in order to receive the prorated or full time MHA when taking ECEs, you must register for and take exams following the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) mandated conditions below.
It is your responsibility to be sure that the dates you register for and schedule/take your exam properly reflect your rate of pursuit so you can qualify for a prorated (greater than half time) or full time MHA.
The term date reported to the DVA will be the total numbers of days beginning with the date of exam registration, and ending with the date the exam was scheduled and attempted. The “start date” of the semester/term is the day you register for an exam, and the “end date” of the semester/term is the day you schedule/take an exam.
How this affects Chapter 33/Post 9-11 students seeking the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)
You must study at a rate, “greater than half-time to full-time,” to be eligible for the housing allowance consideration, so it’s crucial that you do not register for an exam until you are ready to test in 8 weeks or less from the registration date. If you take the exam more than 8 weeks after registering for an exam you will likely not qualify for the MHA. Active-duty students do not qualify for the MHA regardless of when they test.
- The “start date” of the semester/term is the day you register for an exam
- The “end date” of the semester/term is the day you schedule/take an exam
- For 3-credit exams, students must take the exam within 8 weeks after registering to qualify for the housing allowance
- If you take a 3-credit exam sooner than 8 weeks, you will get a higher payment, but over a shorter period
- If you take a 3-credit exam more than 8 weeks after registering you will not receive a MHA
- The VA will pay the MHA to you after the exams have been completed
For students using Chapter 30, MGIB
Using the exam registration date as the semester/term start-date and the schedule/take date as the semester/term end-date also affects students using Chapter 30 (MGIB), or any other VA educational benefits, because monthly payment rates payments are based on a student’s rate of pursuit.
For example, when using Chapter 30 you will qualify for the half-time monthly rate if you test within 8 weeks of registration. However, the DVA will pay at a lesser monthly rate when you take longer to test and you will then lose you half-time status.
Yes. Excelsior College awards examination-related college credit via the following:
- Excelsior College® Examinations
- UExcel® examinations
- Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Tests
- DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)
- Defense Language Proficiency Tests (DLPT)
- IT certification examinations (Microsoft, Novell, CompTIA, Cisco, SUN, Oracle)
- Other examinations that are recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE)
All distance learning courses require the use of a computer and reliable internet. You will need access to a computer to communicate with the facilitator and other students through the MyExcelsior Community.
The same rates for in-state and out-of-state students apply to undergraduate and graduate distance learning courses offered through Excelsior College.
Yes. The credits must have come from an accredited university or college and have been evaluated by an international equivalency institution. Excelsior College uses Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To review the ECE applications, visit the ECE Web site.
Excelsior College will certify your enrollment status with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) as a student during the coming term. When the DVA processes your claim, they will make payment to Excelsior College for your tuition and fees and send you your book allowance. The book allowance is approximately $41 per credit with the 100% benefit and prorated for lesser benefits. Note: You must pay for your books and supplies when you order them and you will receive the book stipend from the VA at a later date.
You can receive the MHA if you take classes from Excelsior College and take a class from a local in-residence, traditional college in your area at the same time. The MHA you receive will be based on the zip code of the local traditional college. All the courses you take must apply to your Excelsior College degree and be approved by your academic advisors. Excelsior College advisors are prepared to discuss the classes you can take in your local area that will apply to your degree while you are taking classes with Excelsior College.
You must be attending college more than 50% or more than half time for the MHA. If you want to receive the full monthly housing stipend you must attend college full time. Attendance less than full time but, greater than half time will provide veteran students with a prorated rate housing stipend, rounded to the nearest tenth.
The course samples below will help you determine your enrollment status:
Taking 12 & 15 week courses:
- If you were taking 12 credits (or 4 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks, that would be considered full-time (100%).
- If you were taking 9 credits (or 3 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks, that would be considered three-quarters time (75%).
- If you were taking 6 credits (or 2 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks that would be considered half-time (50%).
Taking 8 week courses:
- If you were taking 6 credits (or 2 classes each worth 3 credits) for 8 weeks, that would be considered full-time (100%).
- If you were taking 3 credits (or 1 class worth 3 credits) for 8 weeks that would be considered half -time (50%).
Remember, each term or semester, to get the full MHA, you must take classes from Excelsior and a traditional college at the same time at the full time rate of pursuit. Also, the VA will look at every day in the month to ensure that you are carrying a course load of greater than 50%. If you are not taking 51% or more every day of that month than you will not get the prorated housing allowance rounded to the nearest tenth.
The number of courses taken at one time largely depends on your available free time. To ensure students are positioned for success, Excelsior does limit the number of credits one can register for at any given time. We suggest you make a course load decision based upon a realistic assessment of the amount of time you can devote to your studies. If you are enrolled in an Excelsior program, your academic advisor can assist you in developing a plan.
You must request a parent letter from us which we will then send to your in-residence school informing them that we will accept the credits you are taking from their institution. You will need to also provide your in-residence college with a certificate of eligibility on your VA benefit. The VA will then forward you the MHA for which you qualify.
Veteran students using the Post 9/11 and pursuing classes through distance learning may now receive the monthly housing allowance (MHA). The housing allowance is half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents.
Veteran students who want to receive the full monthly housing stipend must attend college full time. Attendance less than full time but, greater than half time will provide veteran students with a prorated rate housing stipend, rounded to the nearest tenth.
Active Duty Military personnel receive a monetary allowance toward their housing costs because they have to live where the military assigns them. Each area’s allowance is determined by the specific cost of living in that area.
Similarly, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay veterans a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if they attend school more than half time. Veterans receive the same as an E-5 with dependents. Use the BAH Calculator to make example calculations.
Yes. Excelsior College recognizes college-level courses completed at other accredited colleges and universities, as well as appropriate military experience. Contact your military consultant or our Center for Military and Veteran Education at firstname.lastname@example.org for an unofficial review. Academic advisors evaluate student transcripts from other colleges and universities during the evaluation process, and there is no limit on the number of transfer credits accepted. Credits transferred must apply to specific degree requirements.
Yes, payments for courses and fees will be waived based on the percentage of your Post-9/11 GI Bill® eligibility while you take classes. The Department of Veterans Affairs will send payment directly to Excelsior College. Please be sure you fax a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility statement to 518-464-8777 or email email@example.com. If you are waiting for your Certificate of Eligibility, then you can submit your unofficial DD 214 to get started.
For additional information, visit our Financial Aid Support Center.
All students enrolled in a degree program are assigned a team of academic advisors to assist with the development of their degree roadmaps upon completion of the initial evaluation. You will be able to communicate with the advisors on your advising team via telephone, email, fax, and Message Center. Military Academic Advisors are also available to answer military and veteran-related questions.
Yes. Undergraduate courses can be covered 100% by military tuition assistance (TA). For more information about tuition assistance for your branch, contact your Education Center or military education counselor.