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Certifying Official Newsletter No. 109


September 16, 2016

On May 13, 2016 we sent out Certifying Official Newsletter No. 105.  We really need each school, college, and university with previously “deemed approved” programs to comply with that newsletter as soon as possible.  It is imperative that we receive three certified of your catalog along with the required documentation as soon as possible.  Two copies of your catalog must be submitted with the statement “Certified to be True and Correct in Content and Policy” with a signature and date.  We also need a complete listing of your programs in the format on the enclosures to Newsletter # 105.  If your school has bachelor, master, certificate and or diploma programs we need a complete listing of each.  In addition, make sure you include a completed copy of the Catalog Checksheet.
Please note, we can only approve programs that are listed in your catalog unless you submit documentation that changes the program degree or name.
VA is in the process of integrating VA-ONCE with WEAMS and those programs which are not currently approved on your WEAMS document will not be approved for veteran’s educations benefits.  We have provided a copy of Newsletter 105 below.  If you need assistance or copies of the required documents please contact our office as soon as possible.

Certifying Official Newsletter # 105         May 13, 2016




This change applies only to Colleges and Universities with previously “deemed approved” programs. 
Background: On August 1, 2011, education programs accredited public and non-profit Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) were “deemed approved”.  Section 3672(b) of Title 38 of the United States Code was amended to make that change.  However, that change was contingent upon sections 3675(b)(1) and 3675(b)(2), 3680A, 3684, and 3696 of Title 38 (attached).  Therefore, the “deemed approved” programs were specifically conditioned upon the requirements of the previous sections of Title 38 being met.
Effective immediately, all educational institutions with approved programs must apply to the SAA of jurisdiction (not VA) for formal approval of programs or changes to existing approved programs, including those programs that are “deemed approved.”
Basically, for any program to be approved, it must meet the requirements of the sections of Title 38 listed above AND be approved by the State Approving Agency (SAA).  Educational programs will no longer be “deemed approved” without the State Approving Agency’s (SAA) approval.
Upcoming changes to the VA approval process make it critical that all “approved” programs be listed on WEAMS (Web Enabled Approval Management System).  In the near future, enrollment certifications with programs listed will be compared to WEAMS.  If the programs is approved and listed on WEAMS, the enrollment certification will be approved.  If the educational program listed on the enrollment certification does not appear in WEAMS, the certification will be denied.  Therefore it is imperative that all programs at the institution be approved by the State Approving Agency (SAA) before being forwarded to VA for inclusion on WEAMS.
Procedure: In order for this to happen, educational institutions must send a list of all their programs (undergraduate, graduate, certificate, diploma) to the State Approving Agency (SAA) for review and approval.  This list must be all inclusive and supported by a school catalogs or other school documents.  An “Approval Request for Programs Offered at Colleges and Universities” is attached.  The approval request includes a document for you to list your programs you are offering and wish to maintain approval.  Please complete this approval request and return to the State Approving Agency with current publications.  If you anticipate you will have a new catalog shortly, please wait and send the updated catalog.  We and the VA prefer hard (paper) copies of the catalog.  However, we will accept PDF versions of your catalog on a CD. 
All publications must be signed including any CDs.  If you are submitting CDs please include a letter referencing the submitted publication on the CD and sign the letter with the following statement: “These publications are certified true and correct in content and policy”.   If you are in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia SAA jurisdiction, we will need three copies.  If you are in the Harrisburg SAA jurisdiction we will need two copies.  A map showing the counties and a directory of advisors is attached.  Questions concerning this action should be submitted to your assigned Veterans Education Advisor at the State Approving Agency.  Please mail all items in the Pittsburgh area to our Pittsburgh office and the Harrisburg and Philadelphia items to our Harrisburg office. 
Need assistance, call 717-787-2414 for the Harrisburg Office or 412-565-5364 for the Pittsburgh office. 

Reporting Outcome Measures

Reference, VACO Memorandum, Subject:  Principles of Excellence Memorandum – Information Reporting (4-Year Institution of Higher Learning), dated August 10, 2016 and VACO Memorandum, Subject: Date Extended for Principles of Excellence Memorandum, dated August 30, 2016.
Basically, the two memorandums request each 4-year institution of higher learning to report graduation of veteran or family member students who used the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) in their last enrollment period at the institution and graduated from the institution at the end of that enrollment period.
If you have been reporting graduation in accordance with the guidance in the School Certifying Official Handbook and the Quick Reference User Guide for VA-ONCE, you have no additional reporting requirements, except the VA would like you to report, retroactive to August 1, 2009, the names of students who used the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) in their last enrollment period at the institution and graduated from the institution at the end of that enrollment period.
If students are still in your VA-ONCE data base retroactive to August 1, 2009, you may simply go to the last enrollment certification when they used Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefits and terminate that enrollment certification using “Graduation” or “End of Term/Course” as the reason.  See page 80 of Revision 5.0, School Certifying Official Handbook.
If you no longer have students in your VA-ONCE database and you can identify them from school records as veterans or family members who used Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefits in the last enrollment period when they graduated, you can make up a list of those students and send that list by e-mail to     Be sure to identify your school name and facility code in the correspondence to VACO.
VACO is requesting the outcome measures (graduations) be entered in VA-ONCE or sent to their office by September 30, 2016.
Questions concerning this initiative should be addressed to
If you have not received a copy of the referenced memorandum above, contact your Educational Liaison Representative (ELR).