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Survivors' & Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA - Chapter 35)
Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.
- A veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
- A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
- A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.
Period Of Eligibility
If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.
If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. If the VA rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008 and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.
For surviving spouses (spouses of service members who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
Applying for your VA Benefits
There, you will find the "Road Map for Success":
- Step 1: Determine your best Benefit
- Step 2: Collect Your Paperwork and Information
- Step 3: Choosing a School
- Step 4: Compare the Programs
- Step 5: Apply
NOTE: Whether you choose to apply online or by sending a paper application through the mail, we recommend following the Road Map above. In addition to the steps outlined above, you will also need to submit some paperwork to Excelsior College.
Paperwork required by Excelsior College
- If you did not already indicate that you have this benefit during the admissions process, please complete the Letter of Intent linked below and provide it to Excelsior College's financial aid office.
- Letter of Intention and Instructions - Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits (PDF)
Financial aid counselor for veterans
Application, degree planning, or enrollment assistance
Toll free: 888-647-2388, ext. 22
Veteran Services and Outreach at Excelsior:
Veterans Services and Outreach
7 Columbia Circle
Albany, NY 12203-5159