Student Veterans Abroad

Student veterans can use VA Benefits to participate in Education Abroad programs, but it takes detailed planning and careful consideration. Students will need to work closely with the Education Abroad Office and the Veteran Certification Office in order to have a successful experience abroad. If you are interested in studying abroad using VA Benefits, it is best to start planning early on in your academic career.

“The GI Bill made it possible for me to spend an entire year studying in Japan, and also funded my IE3 Internship in Cambodia.  Making the connection between 'book learning' of the classroom, and actually witnessing it being played out in the real world was a transformative experience, to say the least.  This experience really rounded out my university education.”

Austin King studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan and completed an international internship in Cambodia.
To view a short video about Austin's experience abroad, click here

Things to consider

  • Travel DocumentationWill there be a visa issue if I’ve served in certain countries?
  • Cultural Immersion: How will this experience differ from my time abroad in the military?
  • FundingVA benefits generally cover tuition and related program fees. However, only credits that are needed for your degree will be covered by the VA benefits.
  • Housing: Housing costs abroad will not be charged to the VA.  Students must use the Basic Allowance Housing (BAH) awarded for enrollment (based on PSU’s zipcode) to pay for housing costs while abroad.  Since you continue your enrollment at PSU while you are studying abroad, you will receive the same BAH as if you were living in Portland for your entire study abroad duration.  Remember that your BAH is also based on how many credits you are earning at PSU. Note: You are responsible for ensuring the correct date is set up for your housing allowance disbursements.
  • Travel ExpensesVA Benefits don’t cover your flight or other miscellaneous expenses (passport, visa, immunizations, etc.).
  • Using VA Benefits while AbroadStudents need to submit their certification E-form to the Veteran Certification Office at PSU via banweb if they want to use their VA benefits while studying abroad.  The submission of this form is required for every PSU quarter that they’re abroad.
  • Academic Credit: There will be a time lag between when your INTL 399 placeholder courses will drop off your transcript and your real courses taken while abroad will be placed on your official PSU transcript.  In the end, if the transcripted credit is less than the placeholder courses or if the credit is not degree applicable then the VA will be notified and the student may owe the difference.

Scholarships 

The GI Bill works independently of scholarships. Student veterans can apply for and receive scholarships to pay for any additional study abroad fees, in addition to their GI Bill benefits.  If you are awarded a scholarship that  specifically covers tuition and fees, the VA will be billed less the scholarship amount as the VA prefers to be last payer.  The VA will not pay collectively more than the tuition and fees billed and will not provide a refund to students.

Checklist 

  1. Clarify with your major academic advisor which courses you still need in order to fulfill your degree requirements. (review your DARS Report)

  2. Communicate with PSU Education Abroad. Select your study abroad or internship program, making sure it contributes to your academic degree requirements.  Confirm with your major academic advisor that the courses on your program will indeed satisfy needed degree requirements.

  3. Meet with an Education Abroad advisor about the program budget-- get a breakdown of costs in each area (tuition, housing, fees, airfare, extras, etc.)

  4. Speak with Alex Hayes in Student Accounts. Find out about what the VA will cover, necessary paperwork, timeline, etc.

  5. Verify with the VA that entitlements cover the entire period of the term. You can call the Federal VA at 1-888-GI-BILL1 in order to clarify the length of your entitlement.

  6. Get your courses pre-approved for credit. This way there will be no surprises. In order to do this, you should work with your major advisor so that the PSU Veteran Certification Office is notified of which degree requirements the study abroad courses will be satisfying. Your advisor should provide a copy to the PSU Veteran Certification Office so they can have documentation verifying the degree applicability.

Additional Resources