38 CFR § 21.7020 - Definitions.
For the purposes of regulations from § 21.7000 through § 21.7499 and the payment of basic educational assistance and supplemental educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 30, the following definitions apply.
(a) Definitions of participants -
(1) Servicemember. The term servicemember means anyone who:
(ii) Is on active duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service or National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
(2) Veteran. The term veteran means anyone who -
(b) Other definitions -
(1) Active duty.
(i) The term active duty means -
(B) Full-time duty (other than for training purposes) as a commissioned officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service,
(C) Full-time duty as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and
(D) Authorized travel to or from such duty or service.
(ii) The term active duty does not include any period during which an individual:
(A) Was assigned full time by the Armed Forces to a civilian institution for a course of education which was substantially the same as established courses offered to civilians,
(B) Served as a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, or
(C) Served under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 511(d) pursuant to an enlistment in the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, or as a Reserve for service in the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, or Coast Guard Reserve.
(iii) When referring to individuals who, before November 30, 1989, had never served on active duty (as that term is defined by § 3.6b of this title), the term “active duty” when used in this subpart includes full-time National Guard duty first performed after November 29, 1989, by a member of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States in the servicemember's status as a member of the National Guard of a State for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard.
(iv) When referring to individuals who, before June 30, 1985, had never served on active duty (as that term is defined by § 3.6(b) of this chapter) and who made the election described in § 21.7042(a)(7) or (b)(10), the term active duty when used in this subpart includes full-time National Guard duty under title 32, U.S. Code first performed after June 30, 1985, by a member of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard.
(i) In the class where the approved course is being taught in which he or she is enrolled, or
(ii) At a training establishment, or
(iii) Any other place of instruction, training or study designated by the educational institution or training establishment where the veteran or servicemember is enrolled and is pursuing a program of education.
(4) Basic educational assistance. The term basic educational assistance means a monetary benefit payable to all individuals who meet basic requirements for eligibility under chapter 30, title 38 U.S.C., for pursuit of a program of education.
(5) Break in service.
(i) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, the term break in service means a period of more than 90 days between the date when an individual is released from active duty or otherwise receives a complete separation from active duty service and the date he or she reenters on active duty.
(ii) A period during which an individual is assigned full time by the Armed Forces to a civilian institution for a course of education substantially the same as established courses offered to civilians is not a break in service.
(6) Continuous active duty.
(ii) A period during which an individual on active duty is assigned full time by the Armed Forces to a civilian institution for a course of education substantially the same as established courses offered to civilians will not interrupt the continuity of the individual's active duty.
(iii) If an individual, during an obligated period of active-duty service, is separated from active duty to pursue a course of education at a service academy or a post-secondary school preparatory to enrollment at a service academy, no interruption in service will be found and the individual's service will be considered continuous active-duty service, provided he or she -
(A) Commences pursuit of a course of education at a service academy or post-secondary school,
(B) Fails to complete the course of education, and
(C) Immediately reenters on a period of active duty.
(iv) An individual who is discharged or released from active duty for a reason stated in paragraph (b)(6)(iv) of this section after serving not more than 12 months of an obligated period of active duty, and who subsequently reenlists or reenters on a period of active duty, will not be considered to have an interruption in service. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(6)(vi) of this section, the individual's service during the two periods will be considered continuous active-duty service for the aggregate length of the two service periods. However, the individual's discharge or release from the earlier obligated period of service must have been:
(A) For a service-connected disability;
(B) For hardship;
(C) For a medical condition which preexisted such active-duty service and is not service connected;
(D) For a physical or mental condition not characterized as a disability and not resulting from the individual's own willful misconduct which interfered with the individual's performance of duty as determined by the Secretary concerned; or
(E) Involuntary, for the convenience of the Government as a result of a reduction in force as determined by the Secretary concerned.
(v) VA will not consider an individual to have an interruption of service when he or she:
(A) Serves a period of active duty without interruption (without a complete separation from active duty), as an enlisted member or warrant officer;
(B) While serving on such active duty is assigned to officer training school; and
(vi) If the second period of active-duty service referred to in paragraph (b)(6)(iv) or (b)(6)(v) of this section is of such nature or character that, when aggregated with the earlier period of service referred to in that paragraph, it would cause the individual to be divested of entitlement to educational assistance otherwise established by the earlier period of active duty, the two periods of service will not be aggregated and will not be considered a single period of continuous active duty.
(vii) Time lost will not be considered to interrupt the continuity of service. For the purpose of this section, “time lost” includes excess leave, noncreditable time and not-on-duty time.
(7) Cost of course. The term cost of course means the total cost for tuition and fees for a course which an educational institution charges to nonveterans whose circumstances are similar to veterans enrolled in the same course. Cost of course does not include the cost of supplies which the student is required to purchase at his or her own expense.
(8) Deficiency course. The term deficiency course means any secondary level course or subject not previously completed satisfactorily which is specifically required for pursuit of a postsecondary program of education.
(9) Dependent. The term dependent means:
(13) Educational objective. An educational objective is one that leads to the awarding of a diploma, degree or certificate which reflects educational attainment.
(16) Holiday vacation. The term holiday vacation means a customary, reasonable vacation period connected with a Federal or State legal holiday which is identified as a holiday vacation in the educational institution's approved literature. Generally, VA will interpret a reasonable period as not more than one calendar week at Christmas and one calendar week at New Year's and shorter periods of time in connection with other legal holidays.
(19) Mitigating circumstances.
(i) The term mitigating circumstances means circumstances beyond the veteran's or servicemember's control which prevent him or her from continuously pursuing a program of education. The following circumstances are representative of those which VA considers to be mitigating. This list is not all-inclusive.
(C) An unavoidable change in the veteran's conditions of employment,
(D) An unavoidable geographical transfer resulting from the veteran's employment,
(F) Discontinuance of the course by the educational institution,
(G) Unanticipated active duty for training,
(ii) In the first instance of a withdrawal after May 31, 1989, from a course or courses for which the veteran received educational assistance under title 38, U.S. Code, VA will consider that mitigating circumstances exist with respect to courses totaling not more than six semester hours or the equivalent.
(22) Professional or vocational objective. A professional or vocational objective is one that leads to an occupation. It may include educational objectives essential to prepare for the chosen occupation. When a program consists of a series of courses not leading to an educational objective, these courses must be directed toward attainment of a designated professional or vocational objective.
(23) Program of education. A program of education -
(i) Is any unit course or subject or combination of courses or subjects which is pursued by a veteran or servicemember at an educational institution, and which is required by the Secretary of the Small Business Administration as a condition to obtaining financial assistance under the provisions of 15 U.S.C. 636; or
(ii) Is a combination of subjects or unit courses pursued at an educational institution. The combination generally is accepted as necessary to meet requirements for a predetermined educational, professional or vocational objective. It may consist of subjects or courses which fulfill requirements for more than one objective if all objectives pursued are generally recognized as being related to a single career field;
(iii) Includes an approved full-time program of apprenticeship or of other on-job training;
(iv) Effective November 30, 1999, includes a preparatory course for a test that is required or used for admission to -
(A) An institution of higher education; or
(B) A graduate school; and
(v) Includes a licensing or certification test, the passing of which demonstrates an individual's possession of the knowledge or skill required to enter into, maintain, or advance in employment in a predetermined and identified vocation or profession, provided that VA or a State approving agency has approved the test and the licensing or credentialing organization or entity that offers the test as provided in 38 U.S.C. 3689.
(i) The term pursuit means to work, while enrolled, towards the objective of a program of education. This work must be in accordance with approved institutional policy and regulations, and applicable criteria of title 38 U.S.C.; must be necessary to reach the program's objective; and must be accomplished through -
(A) Resident courses (including teacher training courses and similar courses which VA considers to be resident training),
(B) Independent study courses,
(C) Correspondence courses,
(D) An apprenticeship or other on-job training program,
(E) A graduate program of research in absentia,
(F) Medical-dental internships and residencies, nursing courses and other medical-dental specialty courses,
(G) A flight training course beginning on or after September 30, 1990, or
(H) A licensing or certification test taken on or after March 1, 2001.
(ii) VA will consider a veteran who qualifies for payment during an interval between terms or school closing, or who qualifies for payment during a holiday vacation to be in pursuit of a program of education during the interval, school closing, or holiday vacation.
(26) Refresher course. The term “refresher course” means -
(i) Either a course at the elementary or secondary level to review or update material previously covered in a course that has been satisfactorily completed, or
(ii) A course which permits an individual to update knowledge and skills or be instructed in the technological advances which have occurred in the individual's field of employment during and since the period of the individual's active military service.
(27) Remedial course. The term remedial course means a course designed to overcome a deficiency at the elementary or secondary level in a particular area of study, or a handicap, such as in speech.
(28) Secretary. The term Secretary means the Secretary of Defense with respect to members of the Armed Forces under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of a military department, and the Secretary of Transportation with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy.
(29) School, educational institution, institution. The terms school, educational institution, and institution mean -
(i) Any vocational school, correspondence school, business school, junior college, teachers' college, college, normal school, professional school, university or scientific or technical institution;
(ii) Any public or private elementary school or secondary school which offers courses for adults, provided that the courses lead to an objective other than an elementary school diploma, a high school diploma or their equivalents; and
(30) School year. The term school year means generally a period of 2 semesters or 3 quarters which is not less than 30 nor more than 39 weeks in total length.
(31) Selected Reserve. The term Selected Reserve means the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of any of the reserve components (including the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States) of the Armed Forces, as required to be maintained under section 268(b), 10 U.S.C.
(34) Supplemental educational assistance. The term supplemental educational assistance means a benefit payable to a veteran or servicemember as a supplement to his or her basic educational assistance for pursuit of a program of education under 38 U.S.C. ch. 30.
(35) Established charge. The term established charge means the lesser of -
(i) The charge for the correspondence course or courses determined on the basis of the lowest extended time payment plan offered by the educational institution and approved by the appropriate State approving agency, or
(36) Date of affirmance. The term date of affirmance means the date (after the expiration of ten days after a veteran or servicemember signs an enrollment agreement for a correspondence course), on which the veteran or servicemember signs and submits to VA a written agreement affirming the enrollment agreement.
(37) Training establishment. The term training establishment means any establishment providing apprentice or other training on-the-job, including those under the supervision of a college, university, any State department of education, any State apprenticeship agency, any State board of vocational education, any joint apprenticeship committee, the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established in accordance with 29 U.S.C. chapter 4C, or any agency of the Federal government authorized to supervise such training.
(38) Disabling effects of chronic alcoholism.
(i) The term disabling effects of chronic alcoholism means alcohol-induced physical or mental disorders or both, such as habitual intoxication, withdrawal, delirium, amnesia, dementia, and other like manifestations of chronic alcoholism which, in the particular case -
(A) Have been medically diagnosed as manifestations of alcohol dependency or chronic alcohol abuse, and
(B) Are determined to have prevented commencement or completion of the affected individual's chosen program of education.
(ii) A diagnosis of alcoholism, chronic alcoholism, alcohol-dependency, chronic alcohol abuse, etc., in and of itself, does not satisfy the definition of this term.
(iii) Injury sustained by a veteran as a proximate and immediate result of activity undertaken by the veteran while physically or mentally unqualified to do so due to alcoholic intoxication is not considered a disabling effect of chronic alcoholism.
(39) Cooperative course. The term cooperative course means a full-time program of education which consists of institutional courses and alternate phases of training in a business or industrial establishment with the training in the business of industrial establishment being strictly supplemental to the institutional portion.
(40) Open period. The term “open period” means a period of time beginning on December 1, 1988, and ending on June 30, 1989.
(41) Persian Gulf War. The term “Persian Gulf War” means the period beginning on August 2, 1990, and ending on the date thereafter prescribed by Presidential proclamation or by law.
(42) Continuously enrolled. The term continuously enrolled means being in an enrolled status at an educational institution for each day during the school year, and for consecutive school years. Continuity of enrollment is not broken by holiday vacations; vacation periods; periods during the school year between terms, quarters, or semesters; or by nonenrollment during periods of enrollment outside the school year (e.g., summer sessions).
(43) Alternative teacher certification program. The term alternative teacher certification program, for the purposes of determining whether an entity offering such a program is a school, educational institution or institution as defined in paragraph (b)(29)(iii) of this section, means a program leading to a teacher's certificate that allows individuals with a bachelor's degree or graduate degree to obtain teacher certification without enrolling in an institution of higher learning.
(44) Date of election. The term date of election means:
(i) For an election that must be made in the form and manner determined by the Secretary of Defense, the date determined by the Secretary of Defense; and
(ii) For an election that must be submitted to VA, the date VA receives the written election.
(45) Institution of higher education. The term institution of higher education means either:
(i) An educational institution, located in a State, that -
(A) Admits as regular students only persons who have a high school diploma, or its recognized equivalent, or persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the educational institution is located;
(B) Offers postsecondary level academic instruction that leads to an associate or baccalaureate degree; and
(C) Is empowered by the appropriate State education authority under State law to grant an associate or baccalaureate degree, or where there is no State law to authorize the granting of a degree, is accredited for associate or baccalaureate degree programs by a recognized accrediting agency; or
(ii) An educational institution, not located in a State, that -
(A) Offers a course leading to an undergraduate standard college degree or the equivalent; and
(46) Graduate school. The term graduate school means either:
(i) An educational institution, located in a State, that -
(A) Admits as regular students only persons who have a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in work experience;
(B) Offers postsecondary level academic instruction that leads to a master's degree, doctorate, or professional degree; and
(C) Is empowered by the appropriate State education authority under State law to grant a master's degree, doctorate, or professional degree, or, where there is no State law to authorize the granting of a degree, is accredited for master's degree, doctorate, or professional degree programs by a recognized accrediting agency; or
(ii) An educational institution, not located in a State, that -
(A) Offers a course leading to a master's degree, doctorate, or professional degree; and
(48) Employment in a high technology industry. Employment in a high technology industry has the same meaning as provided in § 21.4200(bb).
(51) Accelerated payment. An accelerated payment is a lump sum payment of a maximum of 60 percent of the charged tuition and fees for an individual's enrollment for a term, quarter, or semester in an approved program of education leading to employment in a high technology industry. In the case of a program of education not offered on a term, quarter, or semester basis, the accelerated payment is a lump sum payment of a maximum of 60 percent of the charged tuition and fees for the entire such program.
(52) Certification test. The term certification test means a test that an individual must pass in order to receive a certificate that provides an affirmation of an individual's qualifications in a specified occupation.
(53) Licensing test. The term licensing test means a test offered by a State, local, or Federal agency, the passing of which is a means, or part of a means, to obtain a license. That license must be required by law in order for the individual to practice an occupation in the political jurisdiction of the agency offering the test.
(54) Organization or entity offering a licensing or certification test.
(i) The term organization or entity offering a licensing or certification test means:
(A) An organization or entity that causes a licensing test to be given and that will issue a license to an individual who passes the test;
(B) An organization or entity that causes a certification test to be given and that will issue a certificate to an individual who passes the test; or
(C) An organization or entity that administers a certification test for the organization or entity that will issue a certificate to an individual who passes the test, provided that the administering organization or entity can provide all required information and certifications under § 21.4268 to the State approving agency and to VA.
(ii) This term does not include:
(A) An organization or entity that develops and/or proctors a licensing or certification test, but does not issue the license or certificate; or
(B) An organization or entity that administers a test but does not issue the license or certificate, if that administering organization or entity cannot provide all required information and certifications under § 21.4268 to the State approving agency and to VA.
(55) Tuition assistance top-up. The term tuition assistance top-up means a payment of basic educational assistance to meet all or a portion of the charges of an educational institution for the education or training of a servicemember that are not met by the Secretary of the military department concerned under 10 U.S.C. 2007(a) or (c).
(58) Transferor. The term transferor means an individual, who is -
(ii) Approved by the service department to transfer a portion of his or her entitlement to his or her dependent or dependents.
(59) Transferee. The term transferee means an individual to whom entitlement has been transferred.