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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. I have never utilized my Veteran Educational Benefits, what do I need to do to activate my benefits?

    If this is your first time using your educational benefits, you must apply to active your benefits with the Department of Veteran Services. This can be done online at Please click on the "apply for benefits" icon. You will need to create an account through the VA Online Application (VonApps) program. Once you have logged in with your username and password, you will select the correct form from the drop down list.

    If you are a veteran or reservist using any of the following benefits, you will submit the Form 22-1990:

    • CH33 Post 911 GI Bill®
    • CH30 Montgomery GI Bill®
    • CH1606 Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve
    • CH1607 Reserve Educational Assistance Program

    If you are a dependent using any of the following benefits, you will submit the Form 22-5490

    • CH35 Dependent's Education Assistance Program
    • Fry's Scholarship

    If you are a dependent using CH33 Post 911 GI Bill® Transfer of Entitlement, you will submit form 22-1990E.

    Once your application is processed, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) document in the mail. Please keep a copy of this for your records and have a copy sent to Rio's Veterans Services Office.

  2. How do I transfer my educational benefits to Rio Salado College?

    If you are a veteran transferring into Rio Salado College from another institution, you will need to complete the form 22-1995. If you are a dependent or Post 911 Transfer of Entitlement recipient, you must submit the form 22-5495.

    These forms should be submitted online through the VonApps program.

  3. How long will it take for me to receive my educational benefit?

    The Regional Veterans Services Office in Muskogee Oklahoma processes all educational claims for the state of Arizona. The processing time is highly dependent on the time of year. During peak season such as August and January processing time can be as high as 4 to 6 weeks for original claims. During off peak seasons the processing time can be as few as 2 to 4 weeks for original claims. It is extremely important that you have applied for your educational benefits prior to having the Rio Veterans Services Office process your enrollment certification.

    In addition to the VA's processing time, processing time for the Rio Veterans Services Office is 13 business days for program seekers and 8 business days for guest students. You will receive a confirmation email once your enrollment certification has been submitted to the VA.

    Please see our processing deadline site for specific processing time for each available semester block.

  4. I have yet to receive my payment from the VA, is there a way I can get my books early?

    Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community Colleges offer the book advance program. This program provides a loan allowing students utilizing financial aid and veteran benefits to receive funds to purchase their textbooks. The amount awarded is dependent on the total credits in which a student is enrolled. This program is managed by Citibank and requires enrollment and a signed promissory note. In order to receive funds prior to the start of your courses, please allow 2 to 3 week processing time from the date you request the book advance to the start date of your semester block.

  5. Do I need to complete a benefits pay request form every semester?

    Yes, this form is required each semester. Please note that you have a restricted amount of eligibility. The Rio Veterans Services Office does not assume you intend to use benefits each term. In addition, the VA requires us to capture correct data in regards to your program of study, courses of enrollment, name, address, etc. This form allows us to remain in compliance with VA requirements.

  6. I have submitted the required documentation to the Rio Veterans Services Office; do I need to do anything else to receive my benefits?

    If you are receiving benefits under CH30, CH1606, CH1607, or are pursuing only a certificate under CH35, the Department of Veteran Affairs require that you verify your attendance on the last day of each month. You can do this via phone at 1-877-823-2378 or through W.A.V.E. online. To access W.A.V.E. click on the icon on the Rio VA home page.

  7. How do I change my program of study?

    To change your program of study (aka degree plan), you must notify your military advisor (1-800-517-8590) so that an RioCompass (formerly ESF) program checklist can be created. You must also indicate this change on your benefits pay request form for your next term.

  8. What classes will the VA pay for?

    The Department of Veteran Affairs will only pay for courses that are required on your program of study or RioCompass checksheet. This is the program you indicate on your benefits pay request form.

  9. Can I request the VA to pay for prior terms?

    Yes, the VA will "back pay" a student for up to one year preceding the current date.

  10. What is advance pay? Are my Rio Salado College classes eligible for advance pay?

    Advance pay allows a student to receive 1 and ½ months of their educational benefits in advance of their enrolled term. To be eligible for this benefit you must request advance pay and be certified 30 days prior to the start date of your courses. The second VA payment is not received until the beginning of the fourth month of enrollment. Advance pay is sent directly to the school and the student is contacted when that payment is in. Chapter 33 Post 911 recipients are not eligible for the advance pay option.

    Rio Salado College is considered by the Department of Veteran Affairs to be a non-standard term. Due to the flexibility that is inherent in Rio coursework (i.e. the ability for students to take a course in a 14 or 8 week format), Rio Salado College certifies all coursework one week AFTER the start date of the course. Certifying courses AFTER the start date means that we do not offer the advance pay option.

  11. Which GI Bill® is most beneficial to me – CH30 (Montgomery GI Bill®) or CH33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill®)?

    There are a lot of factors that go into determining which educational benefit is most beneficial for you. This is based on time served and the Rio Veterans Services Office does not have the ability to make that judgment call. Please contact the Regional Veterans Services Office at 1-888-442-4551. They can assist you with making this determination. Please note that choosing the Post 911 GI bill® requires that you relinquish a benefit. This choice is irrevocable.

  12. Can I receive benefits while attending more than one institution?

    Yes you can receive benefit at more than one school concurrently. One of the two institutions must be the "parent school" (institution where the degree will be awarded). This school must issue a parent school letter (aka 315 letter) authorizing enrollment at the secondary institution. All courses must apply towards completion of the selected degree program at the parent school.

  13. With multiple semester start dates as an option, how does the GI Bill® work with Rio Salado College?

    Although Rio Salado College offers the flexibility of different semester blocks, it is suggested that your classes start on the same day. This will ensure consistent payments throughout the duration of the term.

  14. What is considered full-time attendance for VA purposes?

    Full time status is determined by the length of your courses and total amount of credits in which you are enrolled. 12 credits of 14 to 16 week courses equate to full time. If you are enrolled in 8 week options, 6 credits equate to full time. For questions on other non-standard term dates, please contact Rio Veterans Services Office.

  15. The Rio Veterans Services Office certified my enrollment for CH33 Post 911 GI Bill®, however I still have a tuition balance on my account, why?

    There can be two reasons for this:

    First, if you are receiving chapter 33 benefits and your percentage of eligibility is less than 100%, you will be responsible for whatever portion is not covered by the VA (i.e. your percentage is 70%, VA pays 70% and you are responsible for the remaining 30%). To find out your eligibility percentage, please contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551.

    Second, please note that effective August of 2011, The VA will only pay for the in-state tuition costs at all institutions. If you are receiving CH33 benefits and are taking courses as a distance learning student, you tuition rate is greater than the cost of in-state tuition. Please note that you are responsible for the remaining tuition that is due.

  16. As a veteran, how do I obtain in-state residency?

    Arizona state law allows veterans the ability to claim automatic in-state residency if they have lived in Arizona for less than a full year. To be eligible a veteran must submit the following documentation prior to the start of his/her semester block:

    • an Arizona state driver's license or state ID or any other documentation accepted for HB2008 purposes
    • a copy of voter registration card or proof of voter registration enrollment
    • DD214 Member 4 copy showing honorable discharge

    Documents will need to be scanned and emailed to Please note that this automatic in-state residency is not available for veteran dependents using benefits.

  17. Why haven't I received my money from the VA yet?

    The Rio Veterans Services Office has set up the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) online certifying system (VA-Once) to send an email confirmation once your enrollment has been submitted to the DVA for processing.

    This confirmation will be sent to any personal email address you have provided as well as to your official student email address (you can access that email through RioLearn and

    If you have received this confirmation, and have waited the DVA's estimated processing time (as listed under our Processing Deadlines link), please contact the VA Regional Office at 1-888-442-4551 for further review.

    If you have not received this confirmation, please contact the Rio Veterans Services Office so we can review your file to ensure we have received all the required paperwork.

  18. I attempted to verify my enrollment on WAVES and it does not show my enrollment. What is going on?

    Please contact VA Regional Office at 1-888-442-4551 or view your benefit status on the ebenefits website. To access eBenefits click on the icon on the Rio VA home page.

  19. Where can I find out how many months of entitlement I have remaining?

    Please contact the VA Regional Office at 1-888-442-4551 or view your benefit status on the ebenefits website. To access eBenefits click on the icon on the Rio VA home page.

  20. How do I change my 14-week course into an 8-week long course?

    Click to receive step-by-step guidance in choosing the 8-week option.