VA ACADEMIC LOAD

Students receiving VA benefits should note that the VA calculations for Rate-of-Pursuit (ROP) or Training-Time (TT), depending on chapter of VA benefits, are based on each specific enrollment term and can be different from the measurements used by DBU’s Registrar’s Office and Financial Aid office for other government reporting of academic status (Full-Time, Half-Time, etc.).  Furthermore, in November of 2019, the U.S. Department of Education revised their definition of a “Standard Term/Semester Length” from 15-17 weeks to 14-21 weeks which is what the DBU Financial Aid office uses; however, the VA SCO Handbook policy of a “standard semester” is 15-19 weeks, and any shorter period is a considered a “non-standard term” (DBU’s VA Education Liaisons (ELRs) confirmed in April of 2020 that VA policy remains 15-19 weeks for standard semesters until further notice).

For example, a student may be considered “Full-Time” (FT) for other Financial Aid based on the total number of credit hours enrolled in various non-standard terms offered before/after/during the standard semester; however, that student will have unique VA calculations to determine if each specific enrollment term has enough credit hours to reach 100% ROP / FT TT, which can adversely affect VA benefits/stipends (e.g., VA Chapter 33 Post-9/11 benefits may include housing stipends that are proportionally reduced for less than 100% ROP and are not payable at all for 50% or less ROP).

There are several variables including overlapping/concurrent terms, UG courses taken while in a GR program, GR courses taken during an accelerated degree program while still an UG student, etc.  Any questions should be directed to the VA SCOs in Military & Veteran Services.

VA Undergraduate (UG) Academic Load:

Upon certification, VA automatically calculates UG students’ ROP / TT based on the length of each specific enrollment term. 

For Fall/Spring standard semesters (15-19 weeks), 12 UG credit hours = 100% ROP / FT TT. 

For shorter non-standard terms, UG ROP/TT varies: 

Example 1: an UG student enrolled in a Long Summer term lasting 8-9 weeks may reach 100% ROP / FT TT with 6 credit hours, whereas a student enrolled in a shorter non-standard term lasting 4 weeks may reach 100% ROP / FT TT with only 3 credit hours. 

Example 2: an UG student enrolled in 6 credit hours during the standard semester + 3 credit hours during an 8-week term overlapping with the first half of the semester + 3 credit hours during an 8-week term overlapping with the second half of the semester would be enrolled in a combined total of 12 credit hours (Full-Time for other Financial Aid); however, this student may only be 80% ROP or ¾ TT with only 9 credit hours overlapping during any point of the standard semester. 

The VA SCOs can help estimate a student’s ROP / TT; however, the VA Regional Processing Office will make their own authoritative calculation once the student is certified.

VA Graduate (GR) Academic Load:

VA defers to the institution’s measurements for GR level academic load which the VA SCOs are responsible for determining when certifying GR level students. The VA SCOs use similar criteria based on the Registrar’s Office for government reporting of enrollment status to the National Student Clearinghouse.

For Fall/Spring standard semesters (15-19 weeks), 9 GR credit hours = 100% ROP / FT TT.  *(Note special circumstances for combined 8-week terms below)

For all other shorter non-standard terms (including Summer), 3 GR credit hours = 100% ROP / FT TT. 

*Note that it is possible for a GR level student to reach 100% ROP / FT TT with only 6 credit hours over the duration of a standard semester if the student is enrolled in 3 credit hours during an 8-week term meeting during the first half of the semester + 3 credit hours during an 8-week term meeting during the second half of the semester (subject to course availability).

VA Doctoral (DR) Academic Load:

VA defers to the institution’s measurements for DR level academic load which the VA SCOs are responsible for determining when certifying DR level students.  The VA SCOs use similar criteria based on the Registrar’s Office for government reporting of enrollment status to the National Student Clearinghouse. 

For Fall/Spring standard semesters (15-19 weeks), 6 DR credit hours = 100% ROP / FT TT. *(Note exception for “dissertation” or “treatise” courses below.)

For all other shorter non-standard terms (including Summer), 3 DR credit hours = 100% ROP/ FT TT. 

*Note that during any term, 3 DR credit hours in a “dissertation” or “treatise” course = 100% ROP / FT TT.