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Ask A CPA - College Planning & Financial Aid

In Reference To Financial Aid , Who Qualifies As A Veteran ?

Veteran status is needed for Federal financial aid purposes when determining dependency status. A veteran is a former member of the US Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard) who served on active duty and was discharged other than dishonorably, meaning: received an honorable or medical discharge. You are a veteran even if you serve just one day on active duty, (not active duty for training before receiving your DD-214 and formal discharge papers). In order for a veteran to be eligible for VA educational benefits, they must have served for more than 180 consecutive days on active duty before receiving an honorable discharge. There are exceptions for participation in Desert Storm/Desert Shield and other military campaigns.) ROTC students, members of the National Guard, and most reservists are not considered veterans. Since the 1995-96 academic year, a person who was discharged other than dishonorably from one of the military service academies (the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs or the Coast Guard Academy at New London) is considered a veteran for financial aid purposes. Cadets and midshipmen who are still enrolled in one of the military service academies, however, are not considered veterans. According to the US Department of Education's Action Letter #6 (February 1996), "a student who enrolls in a service academy, but who withdraws before graduating, is considered a veteran for purposes of determining dependency status". Having a DD-214 does not necessarily mean that you are a veteran for financial aid purposes. As noted above, you must have served on active duty and received an honorable discharge.

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