Military / Veteran Students

Southwestern Law School thanks you for your service, sacrifice, and dedication to our country. We are committed to your success and proudly serve those who served.  We are here to support you as you embark on your new mission to earn your J.D.

Military Veteran Student Benefits

  1. VA Benefits

    Welcome Veterans!

    Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) educational benefits are designed to provide eligible J.D. students with an opportunity for educational and career growth. It is certainly one of the most valuable benefits afforded to veterans and qualified dependents and should be wisely utilized. Veterans have earned the right to use their educational benefits for the purpose it was intended for.

    Southwestern Law School is pleased and honored to assist you in utilizing the benefits to your best advantage. We welcome you to Southwestern and hope you will significantly benefit through your studies.

    How to Apply for VA Benefits

    To determine eligibility for benefits, students must apply online on the VA website at www.gibill.va.gov. You must be enrolled for classes at Southwestern Law School before the Financial Aid Office can certify your enrollment on VAOnce.

    After you have completed and submitted the form online, the Department of Veterans Affairs will send you a Certificate of Eligibility letter. Please send a copy of the Certificate of Eligibility to the Financial Aid Office at finaid@swlaw.edu.

    • Voc-Rehab Recipients please note: You must provide us a copy of your Authorization and Certification of Entrance or Reentrance form. Contact your local VA case manager or VA representative to obtain said form. Please email it to the Financial Aid office at finaid@swlaw.edu.

    ***NOTE***Anytime you change your units, whether it is an increase or decrease in status, it is your responsibility to let the Financial Aid office know. Failure to do so will result in overpayment or underpayment of your benefits.

    Additional Resources from the VA Website:


    GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

     

  2. VA Chapters

    Chapter 30/34 - Montgomery GI Bill® (MGIB)

    Establishes a program of education benefits for essentially two groups of categories of individuals based on their active duty service Individuals entering military service on or after July 1, 1985, who have had their basic military pay reduced by $100.00 per month for their first 12 months of their service and received a discharge specified as "HONORABLE" are eligible. Individuals eligible for the old GI Bill® (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989, who meet the certain eligibility requirements, and persons separated from active service with a service-connected disability or hardship discharge may be eligible. Participants must have received a high school diploma or its equivalency before or during the qualifying period. The Montgomery GI Bill® program provides up to 36 months of benefits. Benefits are payable for 10 years following release from active duty. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 30 benefits.

    Chapter 31 – Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation (VR&E)

    A veteran of WWII or thereafter who has a service connected disability which entitles him/her to DVA disability compensation and who is in need of vocational rehabilitation because the disability creates an unemployable handicap may be eligible for Chapter 31 benefits. Professional counselors from the DVA will help you plan an individual program. This includes the services and financial assistance needed to carry out the program. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 31 benefits.

    Chapter 32 - Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

    VEAP is available if you first entered active duty between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985 and you elected to make contributions from your military pay to participate in this education benefit program. Your contributions are matched on a $2 for $1 basis by the Government. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 32 benefits.

    Chapter 33 – Post 9/11 GI Bill®

    The Post 9/11 GI Bill® provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 33 benefits.

    Chapter 33 – Post 9/11 GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon Program

    The Veterans Administration limits eligibility to Post 9/11 GI Bill® recipients, who are eligible for 100% of the benefits. For the 2021-22 national maximum of $26,042.81; if tuition and fee charges exceed the cap of $26,042.81, within a VA calendar year, Yellow Ribbon Program funds may be applied. Awards are given on a first-come first serve basis; however, applications cannot be considered until all documentation is received.  Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of the Yellow Ribbon program.

    Chapter 35 - Survivors & Dependents Assistance program (DEA)

    Sons, daughters, and spouses of a veteran who dies on active duty, was released from active duty due to a service connected disability, permanently and totally disabled, MIA, POW, or detained by a foreign government while on or in the line of duty, may be eligible for benefits. Generally, the eligibility period for sons and daughters is between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age. A spouse may use educational benefits during a 10-year period after eligibility is found. A surviving spouse may use those benefits during a 10-year period after the veterans death or 10 years after the DVA determines the veterans death was caused by a service-connected disability, provided the surviving spouse does not marry. Public Law 109-461 adds a new group of persons who may be eligible for DEA benefits. Effective December 23, 2006, spouses and children of service members hospitalized, or receiving outpatient care for a VA determined service-connected permanent and total disability, may be eligible for DEA benefits. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 35 benefits.

    Chapter 1606 - Montgomery GI Bill® for the Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

    Individuals who have agreed to serve six years in the selected reserve, on or after July 1, 1985, re-enlisted or extended an enlistment for a period of at least six years may be eligible. Note: Active duty personnel are reimbursed for tuition and fees only, but are accessed entitlements charges at the rate of attendance.

    Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 1606 benefits.

    Chapter 1607 - Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

    A member of the reserve component who serves on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 under title 10, U.S.C., for a contingency operation and who serves at least 90 consecutive days or more is eligible for chapter 1607. National Guard members are also eligible if their active duty is 90 consecutive days or more and their service is authorized under section 502(f),title 32, U.S.C., authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a national emergency, and supported by federal funds. Visit the GI Bill® website for a more detailed description of Chapter 1607 benefits.


    GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

     

  3. Yellow Ribbon Program

    Southwestern Law School is an approved institution for veterans' benefits and for active duty, vets, spouses and dependents who have eligible educational benefits by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    SouthweImage - Yellow Ribbonstern Law School accepts the G.I. Bill® and is proud to participate in the Veteran Affairs' Yellow Ribbon program and agrees to contribute $10,000 per year to eligible veterans pursuing their J.D. degree. Southwestern will offer this scholarship to a maximum of 10 veterans per academic year on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Go to the Department of Veteran Affairs for details about the Yellow Ribbon program and eligibility requirements.


    GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

     

  4. Principles of Excellence and 8 Keys to Veterans' Success

    Southwestern is committed to fostering a campus culture of support and community to promote the well-being and success of our veteran and military students.

    In our mission to help you achieve your educational goals, we have pledged and signed on to the Principles of Excellence and the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success.

    The Principles of Excellence and the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success highlight specific strategies for helping veterans transition into higher education and complete their degree.

  5. Individualized Counseling and Planning

    We understand that as a military veteran student, you are faced with unique concerns and challenges. 

    That’s why, from DAY ONE, we provide you with a designated counselor to advise you with personalized guidance and help you prepare for each step of your legal academic career. 

    For more support services and accommodations, please see the Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs Office

  6. Scholarships

    Southwestern offers the following institutional scholarships to our veteran students: 

    • Charlie '36 and Leona Goldring Scholarship Fund: This fund was established in memory of Charles Goldring ’36 and his wife and provides support to students with financial need who have served in the Armed Forces or are currently serving.
    • Lloyd Arthur Bergman and Meier Schneider Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund. This fund was established by Mr. Gregory Bergman '75 and his wife, Leah Bergman '75, in memory of their fathers. The fund provides financial assistance to continuing students who have served in the military and/or have a background in the hard sciences.
    • Jeffrey C. Finnegan Memorial Scholarship Fund: This fund was established in memory of Jeffrey C. Finnegan '79 to provide financial assistance to continuing students who have served or who continue to serve in the military.

     


    Here are other outside scholarship opportunities for Veteran students: 

  7. FAQs

    How do I get certified i.e., have my enrollment reported to the Veteran's Administration (VA)?
    After confirming enrollment through the Office of Admissions, new students should contact the School Certifying Official (SCO) by emailing the Financial Aid Office.

    When do I contact the School Certifying Official (SCO)?
    After you have confirmed your enrollment with the Office of Admission, you should then contact the SCO. This is based on the Campus where you physically attend. 

    Do continuing students need to complete any paperwork after their first semester or year of attendance to continue receiving VA benefits?
    Continuing students should keep a copy of their COE or 1905 (as applies) for their records so they are aware of the details of their benefits i.e Expiration date. The SCO also keeps a copy of this document on file, so if this information is needed the SCO can be contacted to assist.  Generally, as long as this information is current, covering the semester at hand, no additional documentation is needed. If this is expired, the beneficiary will need to contact the VA for assistance, as your units will NOT be certified by the SCO unless an updated form is received. It is the student's responsibility to ensure they know their eligibility status prior to each semester. Students will be certified each semester they are enrolled; unless they contact the SCO prior to the particular semester they would NOT like to be certified. Notification to the SCO must be sent via email.

    How do I get my Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)?
    The BAH is prompted when the SCO (School Certifying Official) certifies your units to the VA. This process is completed prior to the beginning of the semester. Please contact the VA if you have questions regarding this or visit the Basic Allowance for Housing Rates page.  If any changes are made to your registration after the last day to add/drop during any given semester, the SCO must be notified IMMEDIATELY via your Southwestern email. Changes to registration could affect your BAH and may result in repayment to the VA for any overage in payment.

    What if I would NOT like to be certified for a given semester?
    Please contact your campus SCO via email and notify them right away. 

    What should I do if I reduce the number of units for which I am enrolled or have course changes during the semester?
    Students must notify the SCO immediately of any changes to enrollment status. Please refer to the current Academic Calendar for important dates. 

    Students must also contact Student Accounts regarding any possible changes in their student account balance.

    What should I do if I withdraw from the university?
    Students must immediately notify their SCO of any changes to enrollment status during any given semester. Students must also contact Student Accounts regarding any possible changes in their student account balance. 

    What documentation is required in order to have my units certified (enrollment reported) to the VA?

    • Chapter 31 students need form 1905.
    • All other chapters need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) provided by the VA after benefits are applied for or transferred. Please note that COE must be addressed to the person receiving benefits to be accepted. Since this process can take time, a 'Statement of Benefits' can also be accepted temporarily until COE is received by the SCO. This Statement of Benefits can be found at va.gov on the Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits page.

    When should I apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program? 
    Students should apply for the Yellow Ribbon program as soon as you confirm your attendance at Southwestern Law School. This opportunity is on a first-come, first-served basis and has limited space. 

    Will I be notified of my acceptance status for receiving the Yellow Ribbon benefit from Southwestern?
    Yes, the SCO on the campus which you attend will notify you within 10 business days.

    How much does Southwestern match for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
    After the yearly stipend by the VA is exhausted, Southwestern matches 50/50 with the VA to cover the remainder of tuition and fees in regular term. The Yellow Ribbon program is not offered in summer. Please refer to the VA benefits site for yearly payment rates. 

    Once I have completed my paperwork, are there any other steps I need to complete to ensure my financial obligations have been met for the semester?
    Always check with the Student Accounts and Financial Aid offices to ensure your requirements have been completed and your account is current prior to the beginning of each semester.

    If I want to enroll in the summer session, what should I do?
    Summer is open enrollment so you may register. The Yellow Ribbon program is not offered in the summer. However, if you have any front end benefits remaining from the Yearly Stipend allotted to you by the VA, you may have some coverage. Please note this is not guaranteed. Please contact the VA to determine the current balance on your benefit. 

    As a Chapter 31 student, what charges are paid by the VA?
    The VA will pay for tuition, required fees and supplies, books, and parking. The student is responsible for on-campus room and board that is charged to the student account. Please refer to your form 1905 for approved costs.

    Do I need to pay my semester charges by the payment deadline if I am receiving benefits that cover the cost of my enrollment?
    If you are receiving benefits that cover the total cost of enrollment (tuition & required fees only) but the Institution will not receive the funds prior to the semester payment deadline, you will not be required to borrow money to cover costs while waiting for your benefits or be charged a late fee or penalty. If you are receiving financial aid that covers the total charges on your student account, then you have met your financial requirements for the semester. If you are not receiving enough aid to cover total charges once your benefit amount is received, then you must pay the remaining balance in full. 

    Do I need to complete a FAFSA to obtain Financial Aid?
    Yes, in order to receive Federal student loans, you must complete a FAFSA. Please file the FAFSA beginning in October of the current year to ensure you receive your award package prior to the fall invoice which is sent the following July.

Image - Military Friendly 2020 Bronze AwardWe proudly announce that Southwestern Law School has once again made the Military Friendly® School List! Southwestern was designated a Bronze Award Military Friendly Graduate School for 2020-2021 by VIQTORY. 

Southwestern was one of the selected 632 schools out of more than 1,000 institutions surveyed in the United States to earn the coveted "Military Friendly" designation. It is also one of only three graduate schools in California to receive the Bronze Award distinction. Military Friendly schools with Bronze distinction are schools that scored within 30% of the 10th best school in their category. The award recognizes these institutions for their exceptional military/veteran programs. 

Southwestern Awarded Top 10 Military Friendly Graduate School Status

Image - Military Friendly Top 10 Graduate School LogoWe proudly announce that Southwestern Law School has been designated a Top 10 Military Friendly® Graduate School for 2019-2020 by VIQTORY. VIQTORY is the leader in connecting the military community to civilian employment and educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.  

Southwestern was one of the selected 766 institutions out of more than 8,800 schools researched in the United States to earn the coveted “Military Friendly” designation and is also the ONLY school in California to be named a Top 10 Gold Award institution within the Graduate School category.  Earning the Top 10 Military Friendly® Graduate School designation demonstrates Southwestern is committed and truly serious about helping our military and veteran students succeed in law school. 

See Southwestern in the full 2019-2020 Military Friendly® Schools list in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine. 

Southwestern Designated a Military Friendly School in 2017

SouthweImage - Military Friendly Logo for 2017stern was included in the 2017 Military Friendly® Schools list compiled by Victory Media, the originator of Military Friendly® employment, entrepreneurship and education resources for veterans and their families.