Education Benefits

Various education programs and benefits are available to veterans, their dependents and survivors.

Services

College Tuition Fee Waiver

The College Tuition Fee Waiver is a California Department of Veterans Affairs benefit for Veterans' Dependents. It is a State Benefit, not a VA benefit. It waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California community college, campus of the University of California, or campus of the California State University system. This program does not cover campus based fees like books, housing and parking. The student must meet the in-state residency requirements as determined by the school.

Plan A

  • The unmarried child of a veteran who is totally disabled due to service-connected disabilities or whose death was officially rated as service-connected is eligible. The child must be over 14 years old and under 27 years old to be eligible. If the child is a veteran, then the age limit is extended to age 30;
  • The spouse or Registered Domestic Partner (RDP) of a wartime veteran who has been rated as service-connected totally disabled is eligible. There are no age limit restrictions;
  • The unmarried surviving spouse or RDP of a wartime veteran whose death has been rated as service-connected is eligible. There are no age limit restrictions;
  • Any dependent of any veteran who has been declared missing in action, captured in the line of duty by hostile forces, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power is eligible.

The veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a period of war as declared by the U.S. Congress, or during any time in which the veteran was awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal. Concurrent receipt of benefits under Plan A and VA Chapter 35 benefits is prohibited. To receive benefits under Plan A, a dependent must sign an "election" statement acknowledging this fact. There are no income restrictions under this plan. To be eligible, the event which caused basic entitlement to benefits (i.e., the date the veteran died of service-connected causes or the date the VA rated the veteran as totally disabled as a result of service-connected disabilities) must have occurred prior to the child's 21st birthday.
 

Plan B
The child of a veteran who has a service-connected disability, or had a service-connected disability at the time of death, or died of service-related causes is eligible. The child's annual income, which includes the child's adjusted gross income, plus the value of support provided by a parent, may not exceed the annual income limit. The current academic year entitlement is based upon the previous calendar year's annual income. Under Plan B, wartime service is not required and there are no specific age requirements. Children are the only dependents eligible under this plan. There is no prohibition against receiving concurrent VA Chapter 35 benefits.
 

Plan C
Any dependent of any member of the California National Guard, who in the line of duty while on active service to the state, was killed, died of a disability resulting from an event that occurred while in active service to the state, or is permanently disabled as a result of an event that occurred while in the service to the state is eligible. Surviving spouses or RDPs who have not remarried are also eligible.
"Active service to the state," for the purpose of this benefit, means a member of the California National Guard activated pursuant to Section 146 of the Military and Veterans Code. A copy of those orders pursuant to Section 146, not Section 143, must be furnished to establish eligibility.
 

Plan D
Medal of Honor recipients and children of Medal of Honor recipients under the age of 27 may qualify. Benefits under Plan D are limited to undergraduate studies only, and applicants are subject to both income and age restrictions. There is no prohibition against receiving concurrent VA Chapter 35 benefits.

 

Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

Survivors' & Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) is an education benefit for eligible spouses and children of certain Veterans. Eligible persons can receive up to 45 months of full-time or equivalent benefits for:

• College, Business, Technical or Vocational Courses, High School Diploma or GED, Independent Study or Distance Learning courses
• Correspondence Courses (Spouses Only)
• Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training
• National Exams (e.g. SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT)
• Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training (in some cases)
• The cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job
 

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program

The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is authorized by Congress under Title 38, United States Code, Chapter 31. It is sometimes referred to as the Chapter 31 program. The VR&E program assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap and Servicemembers who are in the process of transitioning from military to civilian employment prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. For Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.

Services that may be provided by the VR&E Program include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation to determine abilities, skills, and interests for employment
  • Vocational counseling and rehabilitation planning for employment services
  • Employment services such as job-training, job-seeking skills, resume development, and other work readiness assistance
  • Assistance finding and keeping a job, including the use of special employer incentives and job accommodations
  • On the Job Training (OJT), apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
  • Post-secondary training at a college, vocational, technical or business school
  • Supportive rehabilitation services including case management, counseling, and medical referrals
  • Independent living services for Veterans unable to work due to the severity of their disabilities