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Educational Benefits


Military-affiliated students may be eligible for federal and/or state educational benefits. VA Education Benefits are processed by the School Certifying Official, Julia Ibañez, who can be reached at (707) 664-3173 or via email: The CalVet Fee Waiver, a state benefit for dependents, is processed by the Financial Aid Office.

Neither Sonoma State University nor the School Certifying Official can determine whether you are eligible for educational benefits or how much you are eligible to receive.

Please review the steps below regarding how to initiate the benefits process.

How to Apply for VA Benefits

The certification process is time-consuming. You should begin this process as soon as you submit your Enrollment Reservation Deposit to accept your admission offer.

In order to activate your certification file, students are required to submit one of the following documents to the School VA Certifying Official:

  1. Certification of Eligibility from the US Department of Veterans Affairs
  2. VR&E Only: Students must email the VA School Certifying Official the name and contact information of their assigned Case Manager. 

To be certified, all students using VA Benefits must submit their certification request each semester through their MySSU Student Center portal.Please see step-by-step instructions: 

Applying for the CalVet Fee Waiver

The College Fee Waiver is a program of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet). This benefit waives the tuition fee at SSU and is for dependents of disabled Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria set by CalVet.  For more information click on the link:  Families can apply for this benefit through their local county Veteran Services Office (VSO).

Students utilizing the CalVet Fee Waiver need to submit their Fee Waiver Authorization forms directly to the Financial Aid Office via fax at (707) 664-4242 or via email by scanning then emailing your letter to: When submitting your form, please indicate the student’s full name and SSU ID number and black out (redact) their Social Security Number (SSN).

Continuing students need to obtain a Fee Waiver Authorization for each school year. To prevent disenrollment from classes, the Fee Waiver Authorization needs to be submitted to the Financial Aid Office before the date registration charges are due to be paid for the fall and/or spring semester.

*Note: the Fee Waiver Authorization benefit is for the Tuition Fee only, not any other campus fees. It does not cover any other expenses such as books, parking, or housing.

This waiver cannot be applied to extended education programs (SEIE) or courses, including Winter or Summer intersession courses. However, the Fee Waiver Authorization can be used for the Early Start Program. A copy of the approval letter needs to be sent to the School of Extended & International Education (SEIE) prior to the start of the semester.

Applying for Financial Aid

All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your VAEB (Veterans Affairs education benefits) does not affect your eligibility to apply for financial aid.  You can go to the Financial Aid website for more information:

Most undergraduate students will qualify for a varied amount of grants and loans. Federal grants are not available to: graduate, credential, or students in the School of Extended and International Education (SEIE), but you may still obtain loans or other funding sources.

*Note: Before seeking private student loans, students can contact Julia Ibañez, the school certifying official (SCO), for further guidance at: or by phone: (707) 664-3173.  A drop-in financial aid representative is also available to speak to in Seawolf Services located on the 1st floor of Salazar Hall.

CDR (Cohort Default Rate)

What is a CDR?  It is the institution's student loan cohort default rate chart and shows the percentage of its students who borrow and how it compares to the national average.  If the CDR rises above the national average, the institution must disclose this information and provide the student with loan repayment data.  This information is available at:

Using Tuition Assistance (TA)

Post secondary institutions are required to have a signed Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DOD MOU) in order to receive military institution assistance.  Tuition assistance eligibility is contingent upon the individual's service tuition assistance policies. *Note: The program is open to officers, warrant officers and enlisted active-duty service personnel. In addition, members of the National Guard and Reserve Components may be eligible for TA based on their service eligibility. To be eligible for TA, an enlisted or commissioned service member must have enough time remaining in service to complete the course for which he or she has applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with – not in addition to – any existing service obligation.

*It is the prospective and/or current student's responsibility to first check with their respective education counselor for the specifics involving TA by visiting their local installation education office, or by going online to a virtual education center.  Your service's education center must approve your military TA benefits prior to enrollment.

*More information on service specific TA policies can be found by clicking on the link:

*Note: Sonoma State University policy on refunds for unearned TA funds is based on a graduated scale; in the event a military-affiliated student is unable to complete a course, students can click on the following link for more information:

Outside Grants and Scholarships

If you are using 100% VA Educational Benefits or the CalVet Fee Waiver, be aware of grants or scholarships that say they must be applied directly to tuition and fees. If you use a grant that must be applied to tuition and fees in conjunction with your VAEB, the university is required to deduct the appropriate amount from your tuition invoice to the VA. So, you did extra work to get the same amount of money. Grants or scholarships that say “General Education Expenses” can be used in addition to your VAEB without penalty.  Verify with your SCO whether or not you are able to use multiple benefit sources.

*Note: Many grants and scholarships require you to have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Students interested in applying to scholarships at SSU need to visit the SSU Scholarship Office.