Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program
Survivors and dependents programs provide education assistance to family members of veterans who became permanently disabled or died from a service-related cause.
Ch. 35 Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program
The Survivors’ and Dependents Educational Assistance Program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.
For questions about eligibility, call the GI Bill® helpline at (888) 442-4551.
For steps on how to establish education benefits at VCU, see our Chapter 35 checklist.
Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP) is a Commonwealth of Virginia program that provides up to eight academic semesters of education benefits to spouses and children of military service members and veterans who meet domiciliary requirements as defined in Code of Virginia § 23.1-608 and:
- Were killed in action
- Are missing in action
- Were taken prisoner, and
- Are considered 90% disabled as a result of military service by the Department of Veterans Affairs
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is responsible for managing the program and collaborates with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Virginia's public colleges and universities to assist spouses and children of qualified military service members and veterans in attaining their educational goals.
Applicants must be the children - ages 16 to 29 - or the spouse of a qualified military service member, and Virginia must be the service member's home of record for at least five years before the application is made.
You can file the VMSDEP application online through the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, which also has complete information about the program and its requirements. You can also find a summary of information in the Veterans Education, Training, and Employment flyer.
Once approved for benefits, DVS will instruct students to complete their VMSDEP request via the myVMSDEP portal.
Open and Close myVMSDEP Portal Dates
|Term||Open||Close (Due by)|
|Fall||July 1||October 31|
|Spring (Winter credit hours are combined with Spring)||November 1||March 31|
|Summer||April 1||June 30|
Approval for late submission of VMSDEP request for awarding of benefits will be at the discretion of the VCU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Authorization of the approval will be determined by the Virginia Department of Veteran Services.
Note: Though DVS does not have restrictions on when an approval start date for VMSDEP benefits may begin, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will only approve awarding VMSDEP Benefits for the Current Academic Year.
VMSDEP award information
As a state veterans’ benefit, the VMSDEP will be included as a financial resource in your financial aid package and may reduce state grants, university grants or scholarships, federal loans, federal work-study, and private loans. Each financial aid offer type is different, so the benefit may affect each person's offer differently.
Tuition benefits (Tier 1 and Tier 2)*
Eligible students, as confirmed by DVS, are guaranteed a waiver of all tuition and mandatory fees for eight semesters at a Virginia public college or university and Eastern Virginia Medical School. (Please note: tuition and mandatory fees are waived. Mandatory fees include the program, library, technology, student activity, health services, and university fees. For more information on specific program fees, please visit the Student Financial Services website here.
Housing, dining, books, and supplies are considered educational expenses, however, are not considered mandatory fees and are not waived under this program.
Stipend benefits (Tier 2 only)
Eligible students may receive a stipend to offset educational expenses such as housing, dining, books, and supplies. SCHEV works with DVS and the public colleges and universities in disbursing funds. The amount of the stipend is determined annually by SCHEV and is dependent on the student's enrollment status; the number of participating students; and available funding.
Please view the VMSDEP Tier 2 Stipend Fact Sheet [PDF] for more information.
Enrollment in multiple institutions: A student may receive the term stipend through one institution only – the home institution selected by the student in the portal; funding is based on the combined enrollment. Note that the student remains eligible for the waiver of tuition and fees at all institutions in which the student is enrolled.
Withdrawals and Drops: If a student withdraws from college, the stipend is adjusted by a percentage equivalent to the tuition refund policy in effect at the institution. If a student is allowed to retroactively drop one or more courses after the census date, the student’s stipend amount is recalculated based on the current number of enrolled credit hours.
*To learn more about the VMSDEP program, and for Tier 1 and Tier 2 definitions and eligibility requirements, please refer to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.
If you withdraw from enrollment and did not use VMSDEP benefits to cover any part of charges incurred during enrollment, the university will report that you did not use the benefits for the respective semester. The semester will not count towards your remaining benefits balance. If you feel there is a discrepancy with your remaining benefits balance, you should submit a completed Recalculation Request Form to the Department of Veterans Services.
No. You will not need to VMSDEP if you withdraw from your classes.
Eligibility for the VMSDEP benefit is based upon the date that an application was submitted. It is at the discretion of the university whether any tuition and fees are applied to your account balance prior to the VMSDEP benefit authorization date. Please note that the university is not obligated to refund any monies that have already been paid.
Yes, eligible students are permitted to use VMSDEP and DEA benefits concurrently. NOTE: Eligibility periods for the programs vary; therefore, you should consider the circumstances to determine whether to use the benefits simultaneously or separately.
It depends. If the student abroad program is owned by VCU, your VMSDEP benefits may be used. If the study abroad program is a contract or third-party program offered through, but independent of VCU, your VMSDEP benefits may not be used.
The myVMSDEP portal is used to apply and manage recipients’ VMSDEP benefits.
Yes, you may cancel an awarded VMSDEP tuition waiver to use for a future semester. (For example, if you were awarded VMSDEP for the Spring semester and decided to cancel your tuition waiver, you may have it awarded for the upcoming Summer semester. However, the cancellation of the VMSDEP benefit (tuition waiver) must occur during the current academic year and re-awarding of the waiver will be applied for a future semester/term and you may not receive a new stipend award.
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