North Carolina State Approving Agency

North Carolina State
Approving Agency
Dr. Joseph Wescott II, Executive Director, NC SAA
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
NC SAA Staff
 Joseph Wescott II, Executive Director
 Program Specialists
○ Elizabeth Kelly
○ Jay Fitzgerald
○ Meghan-Joy Woodall
○ John Pritchett
 Kathy Nicholson, Program Assistant
 NCSU Interns: Jon Charest & Annie Lu
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
NC SAA Staff
Program Specialists’ Assignments*
 All: Public and Private Universities, Community Colleges
Elizabeth Kelly: On-Military-Base, Truck, Beauty, Barber
Jay Fitzgerald: Religious Exempt Institutions & Nursing
Meghan-Joy Woodall: Trade, Business, Hospitals, Massage
Joseph Wescott: Flight, High Schools, L&C, new applications
* Note: Some assignment overlap occurs based on workload
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The Players
 The “Triad”
○ VA
○ Institution/SCO
 Other players
○ DoE
○ DoL
○ Accrediting agencies
○ State L&C agencies
Mutual trust,
Mutual dependence!
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Our VA Partners
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki
Undersecretary for Benefits
Allison A. Hickey
 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
 Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA)
 Veterans Affairs Central Office (VACO)
 VA Regional Processing Office (RPO) – Atlanta
 Education Liaison Representative (ELR)
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
 Veterans Affairs Central Office (VACO)
 Atlanta
 Buffalo
 St. Louis
 Muskogee
 Services provided
 Guidance
 Instruction
 Coordinates claims processing
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
It Takes A Team!
 SAA & VACO collaborate to help you
VA Central Office
Regional Processing Office
Education Liaison Rep
Interpret laws and regulations
Maintain integrity of programs
Train the SCOs
Encourage greater use of VA benefits
Help your school better serve veterans!
State Approving Agency
School Certifying Official
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
FDR signs GI Bill of Rights
Congress recognizes responsibility
of States to determine education
of its citizens
State Approving Agencies created;
overseen by Governor, but funded
by the VA
A cooperative and successful
combined federal-state program!
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Mission & Responsibility
 To ensure quality instruction, appropriate administration, and
fair and equitable practices for every veteran (and eligible
person) who enters a NC SAA-approved educational program.
 We do this by:
o Validating and approving educational courses and programs to
be pursued by veterans and eligible persons
o Overseeing North Carolina’s educational institutions, and
ensuring compliance with federal and state guidelines
o Ensuring the interests and prerogatives of the State are
preserved in both processes
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
A New Era of Student Veterans
• The DVA estimates that the number of post 9/11
veterans will double over the next 20 years from
2.1 million to 4.1 million.
More than 200,000 service members are
expected to transition from active duty service
each year for the next five years.
In the 2011-12 academic year veteran students
averaged a 2.98 GPA and had a 90.5% success
rate in earning college credits.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
A New Era of Student Veterans
• Student Veterans of America’s Million Records
o Track the academic outcomes of more than 1 million
student veterans.
o Correlate on-campus services to high graduation rates.
o Implement on-campus best practices at 950+ SVA chapters
across the US with the goal of increasing veteran degree
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
VA & NASAA Initiatives
• National VA Online Complaint System
o The centralized online reporting system
o Report negative experiences with educational institutions
o Identify and address unfair, deceptive, and misleading
o Ensure high quality academic and student support services
• VA Online Comparison Tool
o Easier to calculate Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn
more about VA’s approved colleges, universities and other
education and training programs across the country.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Our Partnership with You
 Evaluate educational programs for approval
 Provide written evaluations and approvals to VA and the schools
Inspections and Compliance Survey Visits
 Visit and inspect each active educational institution
 Confirm compliance for approved courses and programs
Technical Assistance
 Respond to institutional and veteran requests for information
and assistance
 Provide written reports to DVA, as requested
 Maintain records and files for the State of North Carolina
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The Approval
This is THE document that actually conveys State / DVA approval
for educational programs to be considered for payment under the
GI Bill.
Your Approval contains…
 General information about your school
 Programs and hours that are approved (or EXCLUDED…)
 Calendars, tuition and fees
 Unique programs or policies (Remedial / Branches, others…)
 Requirements specific to your institution
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The Approval
 Remember:
o Every approval is different! It is specific to your school or
institution, and is based upon your catalog and applicable
state and federal law.
o You should read/review your approval annually.
o Many of your questions are answered here. Keep it handy!
The Approval
The Approval
The Approval
The Approval
 The Addendum…
o A unique NC SAA Form that contains…
 The General Information section from the Approval, AND
 A specific change to the Approval
o Corrects or changes some portion of an Approval
o Examples:
 Changes to the academic calendar date (after published)
 Change of policy in Requirements section
 Delete a program or change the hours approved for a
The Approval
 The Addendum…
Addenda are mailed or emailed to you, with instructions
Supersedes the original information in the Approval
Print a copy of the Addendum and add it to the Approval
Comply with the Addendum changes
Important Special Interest Items
 Prior Credit
 High School Transcripts
 The DVA Form 22-8794
 Continuing Education
Important Special Interest Items
Prior Credit
 Must be evaluated and recorded (by law…) prior to enrollment
OR within 2-terms.
 This means you must have official transcripts of all previous
training on file.
 Must have proof of prior credit evaluation in the student file.
Important Special Interest Items
High School Transcripts: Are they required?
 Depends on your school and on your Approval…
 If HS transcripts document “part” of admission process, YES!
○ Schools that teach degree / IHL programs generally
require HS transcripts for new (freshmen) admissions
○ Private and Proprietary schools are “generally” required
to meet State standards
 NCD / Diploma / Certificate programs generally require
“proof of high school completion” OR “ability to benefit”…
Important Special Interest Items
VA Form 22-8794 “Designation of Certifying Officials”
 When there are changes, submit a new form to DVA
and a copy of same to NC SAA.
 Be sure to include full contact information for each
certifying official
o Name, phone and fax number and email address for each
certifying official in the appropriate box.
o The Approving Official must sign box 7.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Important Special Interest Items
Continuing Education Courses
 Generally these courses are not approved.
 All courses must lead to a vocational objective, i.e. a
 Few exceptions: state licensed, state mandates, etc.
 Contract courses:
o Both the contractor and host institution must be approved.
o Questions of academic quality control, awarding of credit,
certification and records management.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Compliance Survey Process
 NC SAA schedules visits with the institution
 NC SAA Program Specialist conducts on-site visit reviewing:
○ Process Management (prior credit, reporting attendance, etc.)
○ Records Management (required documentation is present)
 Visit reports maintained at NC SAA with copy sent to DVA
 Inspection discrepancies (if any) require resolution with
documentation of corrective action to NC SAA (approval issues)
or referral to VA (payment issues).
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Record Keeping Requirements
Copy of student’s Application for Admission
Copy of high school transcript for Entering Freshman
and Transfer Students
Copies of transcripts for all post secondary education
with chosen Curriculum “Transfer Credit” clearly
Copy of student’s current Curriculum with: (1) All todate credits and transfer credits clearly identified
and, (2) If applicable, a prior credit reassessment if student changes programs with
new Curriculum record annotated accordingly.
Copy of Remedial/Deficiency test scores (if applicable)
Copies of Student Schedules with “non-Curriculum”
course selections, i.e. not VA benefit eligible,
clearly identified.
Copies of completed Drop/Withdrawal forms
Copies of Plan of Study course substitution approvals
(if applicable)
Copy of current academic transcript
Copy of student ‘Attendance Records’ for clock-hour
programs (if applicable)
Copy of Application for VA Education Benefits (VA
Form 1990) if available
Copies of all Enrollment Certifications (VA Form 221999) to include Remedial/Deficiency CH (if
applicable) identified separate from Curriculum
Copies of all Changes in Student Status (VA Form
1999b); Amend, Adjust, Terminate
Copies of Request for Change of Place of Training
(VA Form 1995/5495)
Copies of DD-214’s, Certificate of Eligibility and
NOBE”s as available
Responsibilities include:
 262 separate institutions of learning, plus 41 branch locations
Our Service to You:
 Conducted 103 Compliance Survey visits
 Processed 25 requests for new approval, resulting in 21 new
 Reviewed and completed 101 applications for program re-approval
(new catalogs)
 Evaluated and approved over 1,200 individual programs
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Changing Laws, Changing Roles
The Post 9/11 GI Bill
Public Law 111-377
President’s Executive Order 13607
Public Law 112-249
The latest…
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Post 9/11 GI Bill
 Became effective on August 1, 2009
 A complex program!
Many levels of eligibility
Confusing concurrent eligibility
New benefits similar to original WW II GI Bill
Difficult to understand and administer
 SAAs took on new “consultant/trainer” role
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Public Law 111-377
 Became effective October 1, 2011
 Many positives
○ More programs now covered by Post 9/11 GI Bill
○ More potential beneficiaries
• A “Game-Changer” for SAAs
o Changed State/Federal approval authorities
o SAAs acquired new role of assisting VA with Compliance
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Public Law 111-377
 Changed States’ authority to approve programs
○ Accredited, non-profit degree programs “deemed” approved
without continuing State review
○ States no longer process approvals for public and non-profit
private institutions
○ Approval AND disapproval authority given to U.S. Secretary
of Veterans Affairs
○ SAAs retained jurisdiction over for-profit schools, and NonCollege Degree (NCD) programs at all schools
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Public Law 111-377
 Changed States’ role in Compliance Survey process
○ Former “Supervisory Visits” were more focused on SCO
training and process improvement
○ Compliance Survey primarily an audit of federal
entitlement program; focus shifted from academic
programs to more emphasis on finances
○ Schools with deemed approved programs provided
approval/change notifications to ELR with courtesy copy
of catalog/forms to NC SAA
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Public Law 112-249
Improving Transparency of Education
Opportunities for Veterans
Public Law 112-249, signed on January 10, 2013, mandates,
among other things...
 A centralized mechanism for tracking/publishing feedback
from students and SAA regarding quality of instruction,
recruiting practices, and post-graduation employment
placement of institutions of higher education.
 SAA’s will share with accrediting agencies or associations
information regarding the SAA’s evaluation of an IHL.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The latest…
Big Change Last Year
 Effective October 1, 2013, VA will no longer accept
modification form--all requirements for approval will
go to NC SAA.
 All NC institutions must submit an approval package
to the NC SAA.
 All approval related concerns and questions must
come to the NC SAA.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
H. 357 – GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2014
• Enable GI Bill recipients to receive in-state tuition at
any public college or university in the country.
Reauthorizes the VA’s work study program.
2 month extension of VRAP
House passed Feb 3, 2014
Pending in Senate
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The latest…
The Future…
 Our continued partnership with VA and VSO’s
 Compliance Survey Redesign Working Group
 Joint Policy Advisory Committee (JPAC)
 Joint Commission on Independent Study
 Remedial Training
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
S. 1982 – Comprehensive Veterans Health and
Benefits and Military Retirement Pay
Restoration Act of 2014
• Require public institutions to charge the in-state
tuition rate for Post-9/11 GI Bill and MGIB
Reauthorizes the VA’s work study program.
Decrease the amount of reporting fees paid by the
VA to educational and training institutions.
Recently sent back to committee
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
The latest…
Remedial Training
• Computer based remedial content may be certified it
meets the following conditions:
It is delivered in a classroom on campus (set time and place).
Attendance is taken.
An instructor is present at all times to facilitate and answer questions.
Coursework is organized in such a fashion that students are working
on the same material during the class period.
• Remember remedial courses may not be certified if
they are offered as independent study, distance
learning, or hybrid course delivery.
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Our Principles
 SAAs, as state agencies, believe states should approve
schools and programs
 Accreditation, while a good tool, is not the ONLY tool for
approving programs
 ALL schools need both consistent oversight and
constructive technical assistance
 TOGETHER we serve those who served us!
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
National Association of State Approving Agencies
“We are not mere clerks or bureaucrats. We are not
just state employees drawing a federally funded check.
We are educators. We are the engineers of excellence
and the gatekeepers of quality. We will not fail in our
commitment to safeguard the public trust, to protect
the GI Bill and to defend the future of those who have
so nobly defended us.”
North Carolina
State Approving Agency
Thank you, and any questions?
North Carolina
State Approving Agency

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