VA to approve GI Bill benefits programs in California

Effective Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will serve as the State Approving Agency (SAA) for California in fiscal year 2020.

The department will determine which programs of education are eligible for GI Bill benefits in California.

“VA takes the roles and responsibilities of SAA very seriously,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We want to ensure GI Bill beneficiaries are using their well-earned education benefits in programs that meet the quality standards they deserve.”

VA is authorized by law to enter into agreements with state agencies — referred to as State Approving Agencies — to approve the qualifications of educational institutions and approve qualifying programs for the purposes of GI Bill education benefits. VA also determines whether SAAs are complying with legal standards and requirements and may assume the role of SAA in that state if an agreement is not reached with the state.

The department notified California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE) school officials, GI Bill beneficiaries and many other stakeholders on Sept. 6, that it will not be entering into an agreement with California for FY2020. This decision was based on VA’s assessment of CSAAVE’s performance over the last three years.

Although CSAAVE sent a letter to California schools Sept. 10 stating its intent to retain its authority to approve programs for GI Bill benefits, CSAAVE will no longer serve as the SAA. VA will be assuming those duties as of Oct. 1. VA will provide additional notifications to key stakeholders to ensure a seamless transition for GI Bill beneficiaries and student Veterans.

It is not uncommon for VA to act as the SAA for states during any given year and VA has performed those functions in six states since FY2017.

For up to date information, visit benefits.va.gov/gibill/.

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