Skip to Main Content

Veterans Educational Benefits

You are in the main content

MGIB Chapter 35

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

Survivors and Dependents Benefits (Chapter 35) provide educational benefits to spouses and children of veterans who either died while in service, died as a result of a service-connected disability, or became totally and permanently disabled as a result of their military service.

For more information on Chapter 35 benefits, please visit the Veterans Affairs website or call VA at 1-888-442-4551.

Current Chapter 35 Rates

Informational Bookmark

Attention - Receiving VA Benefits does not automatically qualify a dependent/spouse for in-state tuition/residency (if from out-of-state). There are certain requirements that must be met to qualify. Please direct any questions to Admissions at 540-568-5681 if you are a prospective/in-coming student or contact Linda Combs in the Business Office at 540-568-3745 or if you are a current student (for reclassification).

Chapter 35 recipients - Please pay all student account charges by the University Business Office deadlines each semester. Chapter 35 benefits pay a monthly stipend that goes directly to the student; therefore, JMU requires Chapter 35 recipients to make arrangements (monthly payment plan, check, loans, grants, financial aid, etc) to cover account charges by the traditional payment deadlines. If you are eligible for the Virginia benefit MSDEP, then that can be factored into covering your account charges (for tuition).

Notice - You may also be eligible for the Virginia state tuition waiver benefit - Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (MSDEP). Visit our website and the Virginia DVS website for more information


Eligibility under Chapter 35 DEA

You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:

  • A Veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the armed forces.
  • A Veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A Servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A Servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A Servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective Dec. 23, 2006.

Factors to Consider

If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the armed forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.

If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the Veteran. If VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of three years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective Oct. 10, 2008, and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.

For surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died on active duty, benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

Note - you may be eligible for the Fry Scholarship if you are the son/daughter/spouse of a servicemember who died in the line of duty after 9/10/01. Please reference this link or the GI Bill Fry Scholarship site for more information.

First Time User: How to Apply

To apply, complete the following requirements:

  • To apply, obtain and complete VA Form 22-5490, Dependents Application for VA Education Benefits through the VA website
  • Once admitted to JMU and registered for classes, complete the JMU Form, Request for Veterans Educational Benefits 
    • This form is required every semester you wish to request benefits.
    • After the first semester using benefits, the form will be emailed during registration for the upcoming semester. An advisor signature is required for any class required for your major.  Nothing will be reported to VA with the form. 
    • Enrollment in courses must meet major, GenEd, elective, or degree requirements, or an approved certificate or teacher licensure program to qualify. All majors and minors must be declared on the transcript

At your initial meeting with a JMU VA Certifying Official, please bring the following:

  • Certificate of Eligibility (or copy of VA Form 22-5490 if certificate has not arrived yet)
  • JMU Request form
  • Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) transcript (if you've taken classes at another college)

Reference this Informational Bookmark for more information

Returning User: Current JMU Student

If you wish to request benefits for an upcoming semester or session, you will need to complete:

  • the JMU form 
    • Submit it to one of the VA Certifying Officials in the Office of the Registrar in the Student Success Center. 
    • The form will be emailed to you during registration and requires an advisor signature for any course needed for your major.
    • Submit once your schedule is finalized for the upcoming semester.

Returning User: Transfer Student from Another Institution

If you have received Chapter 35 benefits at another college or university, you will need to provide:

Reference this Informational Bookmark for more information

What happens after submitting all required documents for the upcoming semester?

JMU's VA Certifying Official will process a student's request for benefits approximately one month prior to the start of the semester/term (once all required documents are received)  and within 6-8 weeks, VA will generate and mail an active award benefit letter to the student.  Monthly payments are mailed to the spouse or dependent's address or direct deposited to the provided bank account in the original application. Monthly payments are paid in arrears.