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Glossary for VA education benefits

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Browse this glossary of frequently used terms, abbreviations, and acronyms for VA education benefits.


Account Hold vs. Positive/Negative Service Indicator: These are frequently called “account holds” or "flags" at other institutions - these are marks made on your file indicating either a negative service indicator (preventing you from pursuing actions such as registering for courses), or a positive service indicator (preventing holds from accruing for a set period of time).

Add/Drop Period vs. Final Study List Deadline: The add/drop period allows you to change your course schedule without being charged for courses. The Final Study List Deadline is the date in which your schedule is finalized. Stanford does not submit tuition/fees charges to VA until the Final Study List Deadline has passed. 

AskVA (also known as 'AVA') : VA’s online question and answer portal, containing an extensive FAQ, as well as the option to create an account and send a question to a processing agent. This portal is a good option for items which are not time sensitive, or for which you would like an answer in writing. This system has fully replaced "Ask A Question" and can be accessed at

Arrears: Much like receiving a paycheck for a job, VA pays housing payments in arrears, or after the time period has passed. For example, money received on February 1 is for attendance in the month of January. 

Base benefit/tuition cap/tuition maximum: These terms are used interchangeably to refer to Chapter 33 Post-9/11 Bill’s tuition and fees benefit. This amount is determined by VA on an annual basis, with the listed amount being the maximum amount of tuition and fees available for a 100% eligible Chapter 33 student to use. Students at a lower percentage rate are eligible for the base multiplied by their eligibility percentage. This amount resets annually on August 1 and does not reset if a student changes schools within an academic year. Annual rates are listed on VA’s website 

Catalog vs. Bulletin: Stanford’s policies, program information, etc. are distributed in the form of the annual Bulletin. This term can be used interchangeably with the generic term ‘Catalog’ used by VA and many other institutions.

Credit/Unit: These terms are used interchangeably to refer to the creditable units of measurement assigned to an accredited course.

COE (Certificate of Eligibility): This is the document issued by VA listing the type of benefit you are approved for, the amount of entitlement you have remaining, and your delimiting date (if applicable). Hard-copy COEs are mailed to your address on file, but you are also able to access this information in eBenefits and download/screenshot from the portal to provide to the school in lieu of a hard copy. 

Delimiting date: This is the date after which you are no longer eligible to use benefits due to their expiration. This is not the same as an exhaustion date. For servicemembers using their own benefits, this is based on the date separated from active duty. Not all servicemembers will have a delimiting date as some situations allow for lifetime benefit use. For dependents using benefits through a parent or spouse, this date is based on your age (child), or your marriage/domestic partnership status and the servicemember’s (spouse) separation date. This date is listed on your eligibility paperwork. 

Eligibility percentage: For Chapter 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients, eligibility is determined on a tiered system based on accrued active duty time. The eligibility tiers range from 50% to 100% in increments of 10%. This percentage determines the amount of tuition/fees a student is eligible for, as well as their housing rate.

Entitlement: The amount of benefits a student has remaining in their benefit bank, which is conveyed as “months and days remaining.” Remaining entitlement is always referred to full time months and days, even though a student may use their benefits slower than chronological time if they are utilizing their benefits at a less than full time rate. 

Exhaustion date: The date after which you are no longer eligible to use benefits due to having used all entitlement which you were granted. 

JST/CCAF: Joint Services Transcript; Community College of the Air Force transcript - these are transcripts containing a summary of training completed in the military. CCAF is for USAF; JST is for all other branches.

MHA/BAH: Monthly Housing Allowance/Basic Allowed Housing - these terms are generally used interchangeably to refer to the portion of housing benefits paid to students through benefit usage.

Muskogee/RPO: Muskogee, OK is the location of the federal VA Regional Processing Office (RPO) where Stanford’s files are processed. This is also the location of the main call center, which can be reached by calling 888-442-4551. 

NOBE: Notice of Basic Eligibility; this is the eligibility document provided to beneficiaries using Chapter 1606.

OMAC: Office of Military-Affiliated Communities, This is the Stanford office responsible for community outreach and veteran’s programs not related to benefit processing - 

Quarter/Term/Semester: Stanford is on a quarter-based academic calendar, but these terms are generally used interchangeably to refer to the quarters.

Rate of Pursuit: This is VA’s measurement for how quickly you are advancing toward your declared educational goal and the Rate of Pursuit (ROP) also plays a role in the calculation of housing payments and entitlement deduction. VA pro-rates housing payments for students who are less than full time for any given period. Chapter 33 Post-9/11 recipients must be above 50% ROP to be eligible for housing. 

SSC: Stanford’s Student Services Center (SSC), where the VA Certification team is located.

SCO: School Certifying Officials (SCOs) are the university employees responsible for processing your benefit paperwork and submitting it to VA.

Yellow Ribbon: The Yellow Ribbon program is a voluntary program schools are able to opt into to offer additional benefits to eligible students. You can access Stanford’s current Yellow Ribbon rates here:




GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at