Veterans & Military Students

Veterans Educational Assistance

Welcome to the Cleveland State Community College Office of Veterans Affairs! We appreciate your military service and look forward to assisting you as you join us here at Cleveland State. We are a certified Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) campus; we prioritize outreach to veterans while successfully delivering the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.

The Cleveland State Veterans Affairs Office assists prospective and enrolled service members, veterans, their dependents/survivors, and other persons eligible to receive education benefits under various Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. This office is a resource center that provides individualized assistance in accessing benefits, advising, registering for classes, and answering any questions you may have about college.

All degree and certificate programs at Cleveland State are approved for the enrollment of veterans and other persons eligible to receive VA education benefits.

1. Apply to attend Cleveland State.   All new and returning students will need to complete this step.

2. All veterans, current military, and dependents/survivors utilizing VA education benefits must complete a  “Request for Certification” to begin using benefits at CSCC.  Instructions to complete this online form will be given when you meet with the School Certifying Official in the VA office at CSCC.

3. Determine which VA education benefit you will use, if any, and apply on the VA website. If you have already used G.I. Bill® benefits at another institution, you will need to complete a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training form.

VA Education Benefit Comparison Tool

Apply for VA Education Benefits

VA Form 22-1995: Request for Change of Program or Place of Training

VA Form 22-5495: Dependents’ Request for Change of Program or Place of Training

4. Members of the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard may be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement through the STRONG Act. Please contact the VA office or your command for the most up-to-date information.

Reservists and active duty members should contact their unit for information about utilizing tuition assistance, if available. The Army maintains a website that may be helpful to soldiers in learning more: GoArmyEd

5. Request a copy of your Joint Service Transcript (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard) or Community College of the Air Force transcript to be sent to Cleveland State for evaluation of prior credit.

Joint Service Transcripts

Community College of the Air Force Transcript Requests

6. Our Financial Aid office can help you complete a Free Application for Student Aid to see if you are eligible for additional aid, such as Pell Grants. Tennessee also offers additional grant money to state resident veterans who meet certain criteria and served overseas tours in the Middle East. Visit the Helping Heroes grant page here: Tennessee Helping Heroes Grant

7. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the evaluation of college-level knowledge and skills that an individual has gained outside of the classroom for college credit. Cleveland State evaluates all military transcripts to ensure the highest amount of possible transfer credit is awarded. CSCC offers additional opportunities to earn PLA, such as external testing (CLEP) and portfolio assessment. For more information about PLA related to military service, contact the Admissions & Records Office.

8. Service members, veterans, and dependents/survivors of veterans who are eligible recipients of Veterans Affairs educational benefits, tuition assistance, or state educational benefits may defer the cost of tuition and fees until the last day of classes by completing a deferment form. The form must be submitted each semester.  The deferment is not a payment but an extension that allows the student additional time to receive funds from the governing agency. Instructions to complete this online form will be given when you meet with the School Certifying Official.

If you have any questions about the process of attending Cleveland State we would be happy to assist you! We can be reached at or by phone at (423) 473-2265.

Any covered individual will be able to attend or participate in the course of education during the period beginning on the date on which the individual provides to the educational institution a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 30, 31, 33, or 35 (a “certificate of eligibility” can also include a “Statement of Benefits” obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) website – eBenefits, or a VAF 28-1905 form for chapter 31
authorization purposes) and ending on the earlier of the following dates:

1. The date on which payment from VA is made to the institution.
2. 90 days after the date the institution certified tuition and fees following the receipt of the certificate of eligibility.

Cleveland State Community College will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities, or the requirement that a covered individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual because of the individual’s inability to meet his or her financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed disbursement funding from VA under chapter 30, 31, 33, or 35.

A veteran or other individual eligible to receive educational benefits administered by the United States department of veterans affairs, through any provision of the United States Code, shall not be required to pay out-of-state tuition or any out-of-state fee when the veteran or other individual is:

(1) Enrolled in any public institution of higher education in this state;

(2) Utilizing such benefits at the enrolling institution; and

(3) Living in the state of Tennessee, regardless of the individual’s formal state of residency.

T.C.A. § 49-7-1304

9.  Beginning with terms starting on or after December 17, 2021, if you are using your Chapter 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefit at an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) facility, you are required to verify your enrollment at the end of each month to receive your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) and/or kicker payments. We want to help you meet this new requirement so you can continue your education without any interruption in benefits. By verifying that you are still enrolled in the same courses or training every month, you help avoid overpayments caused by changes to your training schedule and safeguard your GI Bill® entitlement by preventing entitlement charges for training you did not attend.


How to Verify Your Enrollment

We encourage students to opt into text messaging, which is a simple, quick option for verifying monthly enrollment and ensuring you receive your MHA/kicker payments uninterrupted. All impacted students with a US mobile phone number on file should receive an opt-in text message after being enrolled in your courses. You must respond to that text within 14 days. After opting in, you can simply reply to a VA text message each month to verify your enrollment. If you opt out of text message verification or do not respond to the opt-in text, you will be automatically enrolled in email verification with the email address on file with VA. For more information, refer to the enrollment verification webpage where many helpful resources are highlighted, including Frequently Asked Questions.


GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Our campus has earned VETS Campus certification by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, certifying the college’s commitment to programs and services to help veterans succeed as they pursue their education.

The VETS Campus program was established by the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act, enacted by the state legislature in 2014 to assist veterans of military service in continuing their educations. The Act details a rigorous set of seven programs, requirements and qualifications that colleges and universities must meet to earn VETS Campus certification.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel may be eligible to earn academic credit for their military training and experience, depending on the applicability of the credit to their chosen program, under provisions of the VETS Act.

The Act requires colleges to prioritize outreach to the veterans, allocate resources for their successful transition from military service to college, and successfully deliver services that create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) administers the program, awards certifications, and reviews the institutions for renewal of their certifications.

Specific requirements of the VETS Act include mentoring and support programs for student veterans; creating and maintaining a process for assessing prior learning that grants academic credit to veterans for transferable training and experience attained through their military service; conducting annual surveys of student veterans’ views, needs, issues and suggestions; providing special orientation programs for student veterans; special outreach to veterans, and more.


Contact Info

vets campus certification