38 CFR § 21.4201 - Restrictions on enrollment; percentage of students receiving financial support.
(a) General. Except as otherwise provided in this section the Department of Veterans Affairs shall not approve an enrollment in any course for an eligible veteran, not already enrolled, for any period during which more than 85 percent of the students enrolled in the course are having all or part of their tuition, fees or other charges paid for them by the educational institution or by VA under title 38, U.S.C., or under title 10, U.S.C. This restriction may be waived in whole or in part.
(b) Affected schools. The requirements of paragraph (a) of this section apply to all courses not otherwise exempt or waived offered by all educational institutions, regardless of whether the institution is degree-granting, proprietary profit, proprietary nonprofit, eleemosynary, public and/or tax-supported.
(c) Affected courses.
(1) The following courses or programs are exempt from the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section:
(i) Any farm cooperative course; and
(ii) Any course offered by a flying club established, organized and operated pursuant to regulations of a military department of the Armed Forces as nonappropriated sundry fund activities which are governmental instrumentalities.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section apply to the enrollment of a serviceperson in a course leading to a high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or a refresher, remedial or deficiency course, but they do not apply to the enrollment of a veteran in such a course.
(3) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to an approved course which:
(i) Is offered under contract with the Department of Defense,
(ii) Is on or immediately adjacent to a military base, or a facility of the National Guard (including the Air National Guard) or the Selected Reserve,
(iii) Has been approved by the State approving agency of the State:
(A) Where the base is located or
(B) Where the parent school is located if the course is offered overseas, and
(iv) Is available only to:
(A) Military personnel and their dependents, or
(B) Military personnel, their dependents and civilian employees of a base located in a State, or
(C) Persons authorized by the base commander to attend the course provided the base is located outside the United States.
(D) In the case of a course offered on or immediately adjacent to a facility of the National Guard or the Selected Reserve, members of the National Guard, members of the Selected Reserve and their dependents.
(4) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section generally do not apply to a course when the total number of veterans, eligible persons, and reservists receiving assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35 and 36, and 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606, who are enrolled in the educational institution offering the course, equals 35 percent or less of the total student enrollment at the educational institution (computed separately for the main campus and any branch or extension of the institution). However, the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section will apply to such a course when -
(i) The course is a course of Special Assistance for the Educationally Disadvantaged and a serviceperson enrolls in it, or
(ii) The Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs facility of jurisdiction has reason to believe that the enrollment of veterans and eligible persons in the course may exceed 85 percent of the total student enrollment in the course.
(d) Applications for exemptions. No applications are required for any exemptions except that found in paragraph (c)(4) of this section. To obtain an exemption as stated in paragraph (c)(4) of this section schools must submit reports as required in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.
(e) Computing the 85-15 percent ratio -
(1) Determining when separate computations are required. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section and in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, an 85-15 percent ratio must be computed for each course of study or curriculum leading to a separately approved educational or vocational objective. Computations will not be made for unit subjects, unless only one unit subject is approved by the State approving agency to be offered at a separate branch or extension of a school. Courses or curricula which are offered at separately approved branches or extensions, as well as courses or curricula leading to a secondary school diploma or equivalency certificate offered at any branch or extension, must have an 85-15 percent ratio computed separately from the same course offered at the parent institution. The count of students attending the branch may not be added to those attending the parent institution even for the same courses or curricula. However, the count of those attending courses or curricula offered at an additional facility, as opposed to a branch or extension, must be added to those attending the same course at the parent institution. Pursuit of a course or curriculum that varies in any way from a similar course, although it may have the same designation as the other similar course or curriculum, will require a separate 85-15 percent computation. A course or curriculum will be considered to vary from another if there are different attendance requirements, required unit subjects are different, required completion length is different, etc.
(i) Separate courses for computation purposes in institutions of higher learning will be determined by general curriculum only until the point at which it is reasonable to assume a major field would be declared and after that point by specific curriculum.
(A) General 2-year curricula at 2-year institutions of higher learning, general curricula such as AA (Associate of Arts) or AS (Associate of Science) degrees with no major specified, will require separate computations for each curriculum. Terminal 2-year courses (i.e., AAS (Associate of Applied Science), dental technology or auto mechanics certificate) and other associate degree courses where a field is specified must be computed separately for each objective.
(B) Students attending 4-year institutions of higher learning and graduate schools may be counted in general curricula such as BA (Bachelor of Art) and BS (Bachelor of Science) only until the normal point at which the school requires the student to declare a major subject. Then the 85-15 percent computation must be made for each specific curriculum, i.e., BS (Bachelor of Science) in electrical engineering, MA (Master of Arts) in English, etc.
(ii) NCD (noncollege degree) courses must be computed separately by approved vocational objective. If several curricula lead to the same coded vocational objective, each must meet the 85-15 percent requirement separately, unless it can be shown that two or more courses are identical in all respects (scheduling, hours devoted to each unit subject, etc.). Branch or extension courses will be computed separately from courses at the parent facility. Courses offered on a full- and part-time basis which are identical in length and content will be combined for computing the ratio.
(2) Assigning students to each part of the ratio. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, the following students will be considered to be nonsupported provided VA is not furnishing them with educational assistance under title 38, U.S.C., or under title 10, U.S.C.:
(i) Students who are not veterans or reservists, and are not in receipt of institutional aid.
(ii) All graduate students in receipt of institutional aid.
(iii) Students in receipt of any Federal aid (other than Department of Veterans Affairs benefits).
(iv) Undergraduates and non-college degree students receiving any assistance provided by an institution, if the institutional policy for determining the recipients of such aid is equal with respect to veterans and non veterans alike.
(i) To determine if the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section has been met for all courses except flight courses the full-time equivalent, nonsupported students as defined by paragraph (e)(2) of this section will be compared to the full-time equivalent students enrolled in the course. If the full-time equivalent, nonsupported students do not equal at least 15 percent of the total full-time enrollment, the 85-15 percent requirement has not been met for the course. If a non-Department of Veterans Affairs student in a correspondence course has not completed a lesson nor made a payment toward the cost of the course during the 6-month period immediately prior to the computation, the student will not be counted in computing the 85-15 percent ratio.
(ii) The 85-15 percent ratio for flight courses shall be computed by comparing the number of hours of training received by or tuition charged to nonsupported students in the preceding 30 days to the total number of hours of training received by or tuition charged to all students in the same period. All approved courses offered under 14 CFR parts 141 and 142 at a flight school will be considered to be one course for the purpose of making this computation. Similarly, all other approved courses offered at a flight school will be considered to be one course for the purpose of making this computation. In this computation hours of training or tuition charges for students enrolled -
(A) In the recreational pilot certification course and the private pilot certification course will be excluded;
(B) In a ground instructor certification course will be included;
(C) In courses approved under 14 CFR part 141, other than a ground instructor certification course, will be actual hours of logged instructional flight time or the charges for those hours; and
(D) In courses not approved under 14 CFR part 141, such as courses offered by flight simulator or courses for navigator or flight engineer, shall include ground training time or charges; actual logged instructional flight time or charges; and instructional time in a flight simulator or charges for that training.
(1) Schools must submit to VA all calculations needed to support the exemption found in paragraph (c)(4) of this section. If the school is organized on a term, quarter, or semester basis, it shall make that submission no later than 30 days after the beginning of the first term for which the school wants the exemption to apply. If the school is not organized on a term, quarter or semester basis, it shall make that submission no later than 30 days after the beginning of the first calendar quarter for which the school wishes the exemption to apply. A school having received an exemption found in paragraph (c)(4) of this section shall not be required to certify that 85 percent or less of the total student enrollment in any course is receiving Department of Veterans Affairs assistance:
(i) Unless the Director of the VA facility of jurisdiction has reason to believe that the enrollment of eligible veterans and eligible persons in a specific course may exceed 85 percent of the total enrollment in a specific course, or
(ii) Until such time as the total number of veterans, eligible persons and reservists receiving assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35 and 36, and 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606, who are enrolled in the educational institution offering the course, equals more than 35 percent of the total student enrollment at the educational institution (computed separately for the main campus and any branch or extension of the institution). At that time the procedures contained in paragraph (f)(2) of this section shall apply.
(2) The school must submit all calculations made under paragraph (e)(3) of this section to the Department of Veterans Affairs according to these time limits.
(i) If the school is organized on a term, quarter or semester basis, the calculations must be submitted no later than 30 days after the beginning of each regular school term (excluding summer sessions), or before the beginning date of the next term, whichever occurs first.
(ii) If a school is not organized on a term, quarter or semester basis, reports must be received by the Department of Veterans Affairs no later than 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter.
(g) Effect of the 85-15 percent ratio on processing new enrollments.
(1) The Department of Veterans Affairs will process new enrollments of eligible veterans (and servicepersons where this provision applies to them), in a course on the basis of the school's submission of the most recent computation showing that:
(i) The 85-15 percent ratio is satisfactory, or
(ii) The course is exempt under paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
(2) Except for those enrollments with a beginning date before or the same as the date the school completed the most recent computation, no benefits will be paid under 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606 or under 38 U.S.C. chapter 30, 32, 33, or 36, when that computation establishes that the course:
(i) Neither has a satisfactory 85-15 percent ratio, nor
(ii) Is exempt under paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
(3) If a school fails to submit a timely computation, no benefits will be paid for:
(i) The enrollment of a serviceperson in a course leading to a secondary school diploma or an equivalency certificate if the enrollment has beginning dates beyond the expiration of the allowable computation period, or
(ii) The enrollment of a veteran in any course to which the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section apply if the enrollment has beginning dates beyond the expiration of the allowable computation period.
(4) Enrollments with later beginning dates may be processed only after the school certifies that:
(i) The proper ratio has been reestablished for the course, or
(ii) The course is exempt from the requirement under paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
(5) When a school shows a reestablished 85-15 percent ratio, each new veteran enrollment or enrollment of a serviceperson in a course leading to a secondary school diploma or an equivalency certificate which is submitted after reestablishment must be individually computed into the ratio to ensure that the 85 percent limitation is not again immediately exceeded. The Department of Veterans Affairs will require individual computations until:
(i) The end of the term for which the ratio was reestablished, or
(ii) The end of the calendar quarter during which the ratio was reestablished if the school is not operated on a term, quarter or semester basis.
(6) Once a student is properly enrolled in a course which either meets the 85-15 percent requirement or which is exempt pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, such a student may not have benefits for that course terminated because the 85-15 percent requirement subsequently is not met or because the course loses its exemption, as long as the student's enrollment remains continuous. A student enrolled in an institution organized on a term basis need not attend summer sessions in order to maintain continuous enrollment. An enrollment may also be considered continuous if a “break” in enrollment is wholly due to circumstances beyond the student's control such as serious illness.
(h) Waivers. Schools which desire a waiver of the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section for a course where the number of full-time equivalent students receiving VA education benefits equals or exceeds 85 percent of the total full-time equivalent enrollment in the course may apply for a waiver to the Director, Education Service, through the Director of the VA facility of jurisdiction. When applying, a school must submit sufficient information to allow the Director, Education Service, to judge the merits of the request against the criteria shown in this paragraph. This information and any other pertinent information available to VA shall be considered in relation to these criteria:
(1) Availability of comparable alternative educational facilities effectively open to veterans in the vicinity of the school requesting a waiver.
(2) Status of the school requesting a waiver as a developing institution primarily serving a disadvantaged population. The school should enclose a copy of its notice from the Department of Education that the school is eligible to be considered for a grant under the Strengthening Institutions Program or the Special Needs Program, if applicable. Otherwise the school should submit data sufficient to allow the Director, Education Service, to judge whether the school is similar to institutions which the Department of Education considers to be eligible to apply for a grant under these programs. The pertinent criteria and data categories are published in Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter VI, part 624, subpart A; part 625, subpart A; and part 626, subpart A. The requirements of those criteria that a school be a “public or nonprofit” institution need not be met.
(3) Previous compliance history of the school, including such factors as false or deceptive advertising complaints, enrollment certification timeliness and accuracy, and amount of school liability indebtedness to VA.
(4) General effectiveness of the school's program in providing educational and employment opportunities to the particular veteran population it serves. Factors to be considered should include the percentage of veteran-students completing the entire course, ratio of educational and general expenditures to full-time equivalency enrollment, etc.