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Military Benefits

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The VCU Education Abroad Office and VCU Military Student Services (MSS) office work in partnership to support students using military benefits to study abroad. Studying abroad is such a rewarding opportunity, and we look forward to working with military benefit students on making their abroad goals a reality. 

As regulations are ever changing and benefits are unique to students’ individual circumstances, the information on this page is interpreted as accurate by VCU's Education Abroad & VCU Military Student Services, but is contingent on the case-by-case approval of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Please read all the information below thoroughly. Have questions? Email


If you want to explore study abroad opportunities where you can use military benefits such as the GI Bill and Chapter 35/DEA (not including VMSDEP), look through the WEAMS list for other universities around the world that might be approved for military benefits. Please note that VCU will only be able to offer very limited support for helping you navigate the certifying official process at universities not listed above. VCU also cannot guarantee that universities on the WEAMS list have a designated certifying official available to facilitate this process. 

Other program options could be through US institutions that offer overseas programming that are also willing to process your military benefits. Contact our office to learn more. 

Eligibility Overview Based on Specific Benefits

Generally speaking, VCU faculty-led programs that offer VCU credit and are billed by VCU are eligible for you to use your military benefits, including VMSDEP.  However, please see the below based on your specific benefits.

GI Bill - I
f the school is approved in the VA's WEAMS directory, then it would be important to confirm they have an official to file the benefit. If the courses will all be accepted back to VCU for transfer credit and can count towards VCU graduation, this will allow the official to file for the benefit there. If the school is able to file, generally speaking the VA can pay tuition and fees (not including room/board/transportation/program fees) and pay a monthly cost of living supplement.

For faculty-led programs, the GI Bill covers the tuition and fees only. It will not cover the faculty-led program fee; however, you are expected to still receive your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for the time in which you are abroad.

VMSDEP - The only Study Abroad Programs that accept VMSDEP benefits are VCU faculty-led programs that offer VCU credit and are billed by VCU. VMSDEP benefits only cover tuition and fees. You can review our faculty-led offerings on our website. Please be aware that some faculty-led programs offer VCU credit while others offer transfer credit. If you are unsure if your program offers VCU or transfer credit, please email Students who receive VMSDEP benefits are still welcome to study abroad on other types of programs, but will be unable to use VMSDEP benefits to financially support the experience. 

Chapter 35 - It may be possible to receive your Chapter 35 benefit (the monthly cost of living supplement) if it can be verified that the credits you take abroad would be accepted at VCU AND all credits can count towards graduation.  The amount the VA would pay would be based upon the number of credits you are registered for against how many weeks the classes meet.  

Study Abroad Programs NOT Approved for Military Benefits
  • External Program Providers (such as, API, CEA, CIS Abroad, ISA, ISEP, SAI, USAC)
  • VCU summer, winter, spring break Faculty-Led Programs with transfer credit
  • VCU Exchange programs 
  • Universities not on the WEAMS list
  • Universities where a certifying official cannot be designated

Next Steps & Forms
  1. Read Military Benefits info on this VCU Education Abroad webpage thoroughly
  2. Schedule an Education Abroad advising appointment to help you identify a study abroad program 
  3. If you are choosing a full-semester or summer  program with a host college/university, confirm the college/university is WEAMS approved. Please note, not all universities listed on WEAMS will have an active Certifying Official for Programs. Therefore, if the college/university appears on the WEAMS list you will still need to confirm with the college/university that the listed Certifying Official for Programs is active.
  4. Complete & Submit the “Using VA Benefits for Study Abroad” form to VCU’s Military Student Services Office. 
  5. All credits taken/earned overseas must transfer back to VCU and contribute to your graduation requirements. In collaboration with your academic advisor, Military Student Services advisor and Education Abroad Advisor, you must ensure the coursework you intend to enroll in are pre-approved for transfer back to VCU and are reflected on the Pre-Approved Course Equivalency Database. Submit the syllabi for courses not yet on the database here so they can be evaluated and approved for equivalency.
  6. MSS issues a Parent Letter to the host college/university & sends it to the host Certifying Official for Programs


What do I do if I can’t find a certifier at a host university?
Consider selecting a new university for study abroad, unless you don’t want to use your Military Benefits. Just because a university is on the WEAMS list does not mean that they still have a certifier on campus to process your application and benefits. 

What if a university is on the WEAMS list but not on VCU’s recommended list, can I try to make that an option?
Absolutely - you can reach out to the university and try to connect with the VA certifier. Know that this will likely be a long process with no guarantee and limited support from VCU.

How far in advance should I start this process?
As soon as you know where you’d like to study abroad, start this process, but definitely the semester before you’d like to be abroad! You will have extra steps beyond students studying abroad who are not using VA Benefits. Don’t procrastinate. 

Can I study abroad and not use my Military Benefits?
Yes that is an option if you understand that you will not receive military tuition/living stipend benefits. Be sure to explore scholarship options for military benefit recipients. 

Can I take credits abroad that aren’t going towards my degree and still receive VA Benefits?
No, you can only receive these benefits if the credits you are taking abroad are going directly towards your degree at VCU.

How can VCU Education Abroad & VCU Military Student Services support me?
VCU Education Abroad will work with you through your entire study abroad process from the first steps in planning through your time abroad and return to VCU. We are here to answer questions, help get you started with research/networking, and to complete administrative tasks on your behalf. VCU Military Student Services will support you by helping you complete the form. 

How do I know which VCU Faculty-Led Programs are eligible for me to use these VA Benefits for?
You can only use VA Benefits for a faculty-led program where you will obtain VCU credits. VCU MSS will still need the detailed billing statement separating tuition from program fees and housing.

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