If you plan to study at a foreign school, find out how you can use VA benefits to cover your tuition and fees.
Can I use my VA education benefits to study at a foreign school?
You may be able to use your education benefits if you meet all of these requirements.
All of these must be true:
- You’re eligible for—or already get—VA educational assistance as a Veteran, service member, Reservist, or qualified dependent, and
- We’ve approved your program, and
- Your program is at an institution of higher learning where you’ll earn a standard associate degree or higher, or a degree of equal value at that foreign school.
Exception: Family members who qualify for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance can get VA benefits while in approved postsecondary (after high school) non-college degree programs at training locations in the Philippines.
What benefits can I get?
You may be able to get these benefits:
- Money for school
- Money for your housing costs during enrollment
Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to check what benefits you can get at the school you want to attend. The tool converts tuition and fees from local currencies into U.S. dollars.
Can I attend any foreign school?
- We’ll accept degrees from schools in foreign countries that are similar to degrees granted by accredited U.S. colleges and universities. “Accredited” means that a group of experts has confirmed the school meets certain recognized quality standards.
- For private schools overseas, the degree must be of equal value to those granted by public colleges and universities in the same country, and the school must have the same entrance requirements.
- Independent study courses must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association.
Exception: Programs at schools located in the United States that offer courses in a foreign country through the Department of Defense don’t qualify as foreign training. Also, year abroad and similar programs offered by schools in the United States don’t qualify as foreign training.
How do I get these benefits?
Before you enroll, make sure we’ve approved your program for education benefits.
Contact the school or contact us online through Ask VA to find out if we’ve approved your program for VA education benefits.
Or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request information about foreign program approval. You’ll need to give us the name of the foreign school, the complete address, and the name of the program you want to enroll in. We’ll let you know if your program has already been approved.
If you or your qualified dependent want to enroll in a program that we haven’t approved, you’ll need to ask the school to request approval. We can’t take any action until an official from your school (not you) requests approval. If we don’t approve your program, you’ll have to pay all costs at the school, including tuition and fees.
Apply for benefits.
Turn in your application to us at least 120 days before you leave for your new school. We’ll decide what benefits you get based on your school’s location.
If you get approved for benefits, turn in your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the school’s certifying official to show that you qualify for VA benefits. Your school’s certifying official will submit your enrollment information with a VA Enrollment Certification (VA Form 22-1999).
Note: You won’t get payments until we’ve received and processed your enrollment information.
Make arrangements for school and travel.
- Be sure you have enough money to cover all your needs until VA payments begin.
- Make arrangements with the school for acceptance, enrollment, payment of tuition and fees, and housing.
- Make arrangements for travel including your passport, visa, and vaccinations, as required.
- Ask about your school’s or host country’s requirements for health insurance. This is very important. In some cases, you may not be able to start classes until you’ve made health insurance arrangements.
Give written permission for school officials to release necessary information to us.
If you don’t do this, it could affect when you get benefits.
If you plan to attend the foreign school for more than one year, tell the school within 120 days of when you want to re-enroll for another year. Ask the certifying official to submit an enrollment certification for you. Normally, foreign schools certify their students for one academic year. So you’ll need to make sure the school knows your plans for continued enrollment to avoid any delay in getting your benefits.
Where will you process my claim?
If you’re training in the Republic of the Philippines, American Samoa, Guam, Midway, Puerto Rico, Wake Island, any of the islands in the Federated States of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau, our Muskogee Regional Processing Office will process your claim.
If you’re training in the U.S. Virgin Islands or any other foreign country or area, our Buffalo Regional Processing Office will process your claim.
What if I need more help?
To get more information or help with your application:
- Contact us online through Ask VA
- If you’re in the United States, call 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. Or go to a VA regional office near you.
Find a VA regional office
- If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711
- If you’re outside the United States, call +1-918-781-5678, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. This is not a toll-free number.
You can also:
- Get help from local representatives of Veterans organizations and the American Red Cross
- Go to a foreign service post
- Contact the Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs (for Canadian schools only)