The GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility
The process for getting your GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is relatively easy. There’s one thing you definitely need to remember. Submit your “Application for VA Education Benefits” well before you fully enroll in school.
Why Do You Need To Submit GI Bill COE Early?
The VA clearly states that the process takes up to 30 days. You should verify your GI Bill status prior to enrolling in a military friendly college or other academic institution. If not, you may find yourself in a tight spot with the school’s business office.
How to Get My GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility
Make sure you have the following documentation before you start the application process:
- Social Security number (required)
- Education and Military history (required)
- Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend (required)
- Bank account direct deposit information (for housing and books stipend payments)
Need Help Filling Out Your Application?
An accredited representative, like a Veterans Service Officer (VSO), can help you fill out your claim. Find an accredited representative.
There are three ways to obtain a copy of your GI Bill Letter or Certificate of Eligibility.
#1 Online: How to Get Your GI Bill COE Online
If you have an eBenefits Level II account, you can:
- Log onto eBenefits (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage)
- On the “Welcome” page, select the “Manage Your Benefits” option at the bottom
- Under the “Manage Benefits” option, select the “Status Tracking” option
- In the “Education” block, you should see a link for the benefit you are eligible for
- Select the “Enrollment Status” Link (Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, etc)
- Print the page entitled “Education Enrollment Status”
#2 By Mail: How to Get Your GI Bill COE By Mail
Call 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (888-442-4551), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, to request to have an application sent to you. Fill it out and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office. The office should be in the same location as your school.
See a list of regional claims processing offices
#3 In-Person: How to Get Your GI Bill COE In-Person
Go to a VA regional benefit office to get assistance from a VA employee.
Find a VA regional benefit office near you
Keep in mind – you never have to do any of this alone. In fact, I strongly suggest that you reach out for assistance with any VA claims or education processes. The smallest error on your part can cause the BIGGEST headaches later.
Other Resources Available To You
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for education benefits. Get help filing your claim
Work with your school’s certifying official. This person is usually in the Registrar or Financial Aid office at the school.
LESSONS LEARNED SERIES:
Personal stories from our Education Benefits author, Terry Howell.
- Getting the Most Out of Your GI Bill
- Dealing With GI Bill Glitches
- GI Bill Eligibility Certification Process
- The Reality of College Credit for Military Service
About the author
Terry Howell is a retired Coast Guard veteran, where he served for 20 years.
He is currently the Executive Director for Veterans' Legacies, a non-profit that works to preserve veterans personal stories to help educate our youth.
Terry is also the author of The Military Advantage, an annually updated guide to military and veteran benefits.