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In Iowa, the Department of Education is the State Approving Agency (SAA) contracted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to approve GI Bill programs for veterans and other eligible persons. Program approval is a function of the State of Iowa, not the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The SAA is responsible for ensuring the schools and training establishments offering the GI Bill in Iowa meet the approval standards in accordance with the applicable state and federal regulation. The SAA is responsible for the evaluation of licenses and certifications submitted for approval under the GI Bill.
The primary functions of the Iowa SAA are as follows:
- Evaluate applications for approval received from educational institutions to ensure that their facilities and programs offered meet mandated approval criteria for the GI Bill.
- Provide technical assistance and training to school certifying officials.
- Conduct periodic compliance surveys of approved schools and training establishments to verify that they continue to meet the approval standards and are properly implementing the GI Bill.
- Conduct and participate in outreach activities to increase awareness of the GI Bill.
- Conduct and participate in liaison activities with other veteran service agencies and organizations to best coordinate services available to veterans and their dependents.
- Provide educational and career assistance for veterans and other eligible persons in accordance with the standards and provisions of Title 38, U.S.C., Chapters 30, 32, 33, 35 and 36, and Chapter 1606 of Title 10, U.S.C.
Our goal is to ensure that every veteran, reservist, and eligible person has a full and fair opportunity to reach his or her full potential in whatever educational direction they choose. Our role is to ensure that quality instruction and ethical administration is provided for every veteran/eligible person and reservist who enters an approved educational or training program in the state of Iowa.
Clients and Stakeholders
The clients and stakeholders we serve in Iowa include veterans, National Guard and Reservists, dependents of disabled veterans or of those who died on active duty, school administrators, school certifying officials, military education officers, company and industrial personnel, labor coordinators, and any other persons who work with expanding the career opportunities of veterans in our state.
We review all educational programs in the state and only approve those that meet the high standards required by the VA and state law.
Education programs that may be approved include those offered at the following:
- Colleges and Universities
- Trade schools (cosmetology, massage therapy, truck driving, taxidermy, etc.)
- Apprenticeship training (referred to as Training Establishments)
- On-the-Job-Training provided at the workplace (referred to as Training Establishments)
- Flight training - commercial pilot (private pilot training is not available under the GI Bill)
Information on using the GI Bill while training in an approved Apprenticeship or On-the-Job-Training (OJT) program
Those eligible for the GI Bill may be able to use the benefit while training in an approved registered or unregistered apprentice or OJT. Employers should contact the Iowa State Approving Agency for details.
Once a school or training establishment is approved, the approval information is forwarded to the VA. The VA then enters the information into the Web Enabled Approval Management System (WEAMS). To review the programs approved for the GI Bill in Iowa, go to the link below, select program type, and then select Iowa on the map. This will provide list of all the schools or training establishments currently approved for the GI Bill in the selected category. Select the school you are interested in from the list to view additional information about the programs offered.
Iowa Directory of Certifying Officials - Every approved school and training establishment has at least one person who is designated as the school certifying official. Certifying officials are representatives authorized to sign and submit forms to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on behalf of veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard members, and their dependents. Certifying officials verify enrollment, document changes in status, and report circumstances affecting benefits.
VA Certifying Officials Resources
GI Bill Beneficiary Information
In order to receive the GI Bill the recipient there are some steps in the process that must be followed. In simplified form, they are listed below:
- There are multiple chapters of the GI Bill. To find out what you may be eligible for, visit https://www.va.gov/education/eligibility/
- Apply for the GI Bill. Visit https://www.va.gov/education/how-to-apply/
The VA determines eligibility. If eligible, they will provide you with a certificate of eligibility. The school or training establishment may want a copy.
- Verify that the school or training establishment is approved. Each program at the school or training establishment has to be approved to receive benefits. If facility or program is not approved, the facility can contact the SAA to discuss the approval requirements and the process. https://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchInstitutionCriteria.do
- Contact the school certifying official listed in WEAMS.
- Once you have selected a program, the school certifying official will certify your enrollment to the VA which will initiate your benefit.
- Some programs require monthly reporting to continue to receive the GI Bill. The school certifying official will tell you if monthly reporting is required.
Other Educational Assistance Information
Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs website has several links to sites that provide additional information regarding educational assistance programs that may be available to veterans or their dependents as well as information regarding employment opportunities.
The Iowa National Guard Education office provides information and assistance to members of the Iowa National Guard.
Veterans Administration Sites
Veteran Service Organizations
These organizations provide information and assistance to veterans
Home Base Iowa provides information about benefits available to Iowa veterans.
eBenefits provides information about veterans benefits, eligibility, and claim status.
My HealtheVet provides VA healthcare information including pharmacy and appointments (login required).
Department of Labor - Vets provides employment information and resources.
Request Military Service Records provides DD214/separation documents, personnel records, and/or medical records.
Educational Assistance for Military Children
Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children (MIC3)
This Interstate Compact aims at addressing perceived inequities facing school children of military parents when they are required to relocate across state lines. The Compact allows the laws of the "sending" state to apply to transferring students from military families in the school of the "receiving" state for such policies as graduation requirements, advanced placement, and age of student enrollment. Additional information on this Compact can be found on the MIC3 website
Military One Source
Military One Source provides information on many topics to help military members and their families.
Sam Hutchison, Military One Source
Family Services and ID Card Center
7501 NW 70th Street
Johnston, IA 50131
Resources for Military connected families and children
The Iowa National Guard Child and Youth Program empowers military connected youth by ensuring a positive and lasting impact through the access of resources and opportunities for all to learn, grow and thrive.
Iowa Army National Guard
Child & Youth Program Coordinator
Contractor for Cognitive Professional Services
Informational Website for Educators
GI Bill Webinar - Joint Iowa-Indiana May 11-12, 2021
School Certifying Officials (SCO) Webinar Recorded 2-2-21.
Iowa Department of Education
Division of Community Colleges
Veterans and Military Education
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Fax Number: 515-242-5988
Monte Burroughs, Consultant