The following frequently asked questions primarily relate to issues, policies, procedures, and resources available at Cosumnes River College.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has an exhaustive frequently asked question website at Department of Veterans Affairs Post-9/11 GI Bill Support Center. You can also submit a question there and receive an answer.

First Semester Concerns

Do I need to attend orientation before beginning school?

All first-time college students will complete a general college orientation as part of the admission/registration process.

In addition, all veterans will receive veteran specific information as part of their intake with Veterans Services. We believe that veterans who complete an orientation develop a comfort level with our college programs and procedures – an excellent "first step" and a great foundation for college success. The orientation will inform you regarding college policies and procedures for registration and available support services. You should also use the CRC Veterans Services website to access essential information and resources.

Think of the orientation as navigation training; it will prepare you for traversing this new terrain, point out obstacles, and suggest the best routes to your goals.

I have severe math anxiety and struggled in the past with writing. Help!

The college offers a variety of classes which meet the graduation requirements in math and English and have developed a series of developmental coursework intended to get you to that level. Your assessment in math and English will ensure that you start at a level where you will succeed. There is free, drop-in and group tutoring in the Tutorial Services Center (LRC 216). The Veterans Center is located right in the heart of the Tutoring program. You are surrounded by the Reading and Writing and Math Centers as well. You couldn't be in a better location.

I think that I may have a learning disability. What should I do?

If you think you have a learning disability, then discuss it with your counselor and see if a referral to Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) is appropriate.

It is possible that you may not have already developed sufficient college-level study strategy skills, and the Human Career Development and INDIS 313 courses might help. A significant number of people have learning disabilities which may be due to physical issues such as head trauma and TBI, psychological, or genetic causes.

Visit DSPS for more information. Be warned that the VA may not consider such a class "payable" because it is not "required" and your DD214 credits meet the same General Education area. You should still take one if you need the skills the course provides, but be prepared for that possibility and take sufficient "required" units to make up for it. Talk to the counselor regarding advocating for this class and see if it could work as a required elective.

What are Human Career Development and Freshman Seminar classes? Will the VA pay for them?

Cosumnes River College offers counseling and guidance classes through both the Human Career Development (HCD) and Interdisciplinary Studies (INDIS) subject areas. These courses are designed to help new college students achieve success in college. The courses include topics in study skills, exploration of careers, stress reduction, critical decision-making, life and general planning. Be warned that the VA may not consider such a class "payable" because it is not "required" and your DD214 credits meet the same General Education area. You should still take one if you need the skills the course provides, but be prepared for that possibility and take sufficient "required" units to make up for it. Talk to the counselor regarding advocating for this class and see if it could work as a required elective.

This is my first semester in college; what classes should I take first?

The first semester is a bit different from the others. You will likely register before you can see the Veterans counselor so you should stay with safe courses such as those recommended by your assessments and General Education courses recommended by the counselor at orientation. Sometime in your first semester, you will meet with a counselor to develop your VA Education Program Planner and this plan will determine what you will be paid for. This is a good time to take skill building or elective courses which may not be required for your major but very valuable to your success. For example, if you lack solid computer or typing skills, this is the time to take those courses since you won't be able to take them later unless they are required for your major. You might also consider some of the Human Career Development or Freshman Seminar courses. Be warned that the VA may not consider such a class "payable" because it is not "required" and your DD214 credits meet the same General Education area. You should still take one if you need the skills the course provides, but be prepared for that possibility and take sufficient "required" units to make up for it.

Is childcare available while I attend day or evening classes?

The college offers childcare services for infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children to 10 years old. Funding by the California Department of Education Child Development Division requires the center to offer priority to those who meet the needs and eligibility requirements of the department. Families are ranked based on their family size and income with lowest income families given highest priority. Pick up an application at the Child Development Center.

(916) 691-7380
Program Hours
Monday to Friday
7:15 am to 5:00 pm

How do I find out about housing close to campus?

A housing list is located in the Student Life and Leadership Center with information posted for students looking for roommates and/or apartments, rooms, or houses to rent. To place information on the board, stop by that office in the Technology Building, room T 108.

Why do I have to declare a major?

The VA requires you to declare an objective or goal. At Cosumnes River College that could be an A.A. or A.S. degree or certificate program from our catalog or a transfer BA or BS degree program through the CSU or UC systems.

You cannot select an Associate degree level major or certificate which we do not offer, but there is often a strategy which your counselor can lay out and may enable you to take many of the required courses within the context of a major which we do offer. An example might be Nursing; CRC does not have a Nursing degree at this time. We do, however, have an A.S. degree in Biology, Pre-Nursing Option which covers the prerequisite course pattern for admissions eligibility to many nursing programs. Talk with your counselor about other possible strategies for other majors.

BA or BS degree transfer programs must be majors from a CSU or UC institution. Please see the Transfer Center staff or a veterans counselor for four-year articulation agreements on the major. You can also visit www.assist.org to view preparation information for various transfer majors. Your VA Educational Program Planner will be based upon these agreements.

How can I find a major or course of study that is best for me?

Most of us struggle with this question and it is common to change majors a few times as your experiences open you up to new ideas. The CRC Career Services is a good place to begin. 

In general, do not make the mistake of thinking that a major leads to a specific career. It should be thought of as the vehicle through which you become educated; it could lead to any number of careers. For instance, a business administration degree could open the door to hundreds of different careers in areas such as banking, retail, manufacturing, marketing, sports or music management, general management, supply management, logistics, MIS, accounting, human resources, etc.

If you begin by assessing what aspects of life interest you (interests), deciding what is important to you (values) and what you tend to be best at (your skills), you may discover that you are motivated by certain activities which in turn may suggest careers and majors which might be rewarding. You will most often do best when following your passions. Your enthusiasm will show to others who will likely open doors you don't know exist (called mentoring); this is how most of us find our career.

Why do I have to see a veterans counselor?

The Veteran's counselors are particularly sensitive to the problems encountered by the veteran student population. They understand the VA requirements and work closely with you in an encouraging and supportive way to help you develop a VA Educational Program Planner which conforms to VA regulations so that your benefits are received as you expect. These counselors have a wealth of information, resources and experience to draw from to help you with any barrier you may encounter while pursuing your education here at CRC. To make an appointment, call 916-691-7316 or go to the Counseling Department on the second floor of the Library building. Be sure to state that you want to meet with a counselor who works with veterans.

When you go to your initial appointment, be sure to take copies of any transcripts from other schools and copies of your math and English assessment results. The counselor cannot develop your plan without these and likely will not have them at hand.

Do all vets or dependents need to see a counselor for a VA Educational Program Planner?

Only those veterans who are going to use their VA benefits at CRC or their dependents who are going to use the veteran's benefits will need to have the Educational Program Planner. This must be done before you are certified for your second semester at CRC. Veterans who do not intend to use their education benefits at CRC, or dependents on the CalVet fee waiver do not need to have the planner...although a plan is always a good thing to have.

VA Educational Benefits

Should I use my GI Bill now or save it for later education?

The answer to this question will vary for each of us depending on our academic preparation, goals, current and expected financial resources and possible eligibility for financial aid. Each chapter of the GI Bill has a set limit for how much time you may receive benefits and the amount of time in which you have to use or lose them. There are several issues to consider before deciding.

If you are focused primarily on a career-related degree that you can get here at CRC within approximately two years, then you probably will want to use your benefits. The money can offset work so that you can finish in a shorter time than if you had to work more. You may even have some benefits left for later education.

If you are targeting a career-related major that has considerable prerequisite work (Nursing option in Biology, Diagnostic Sonography, Pharmacy Technician, and Veterinary Technician come to mind at CRC) then you are likely to spend more time doing prerequisite work before you can begin the major. Since prerequisites can be rather sequential in nature, you might be better off applying for financial aid, working part time, attending school part time without using benefits, and saving your GI Bill for later when you go full time into the major. Many of these majors are full time in nature. Don't forget, you will still get priority registration as a veteran even if you are not using your benefits. This ensures that you will be able to enroll in the prerequisites when ready.

Another possible scenario is preparation for transfer or even, ultimately, graduate school. If your assessed skills are low, you can burn up a lot of your benefits in remediation. Again, financial aid, part-time work and school might be best for you until your skills are college level. Chapter 33 students, especially, should look at the benefits of holding off if they can afford to. Tuition is paid for on this chapter and four-year and graduate school tuition is a lot more expensive than tuition at CRC. Therefore, you get greater value using Chapter 33 benefits at more expensive institutions.

All in all, there are many things to consider and you should talk to the veterans counselor and/or the Veterans Services Office staff for their advice.

How do I find out if I have any benefits left?

Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551.

What do I need to do to get my VA educational benefits started at CRC?

You have two applications to file, one with Cosumnes River College for admission to CRC and another with the VA to get your VA educational benefits approved.

While you are waiting for your VA approval, follow the CRC Steps to Success . Select and enroll in your first classes. Classes fill quickly so do not wait for VA approval before you register and pay for classes. If you are Chapter 33 (only) and the VA will be paying tuition and fees, let the CRC VA certifying officials know that you have enrolled so that they can put a "do not drop for nonpayment" or "DND" hold on your record. This will keep you in your classes until the VA pays for them (Chapter 33 only). The CRC certifying official needs to have proof that you have applied to the VA to place this hold. This could be a copy of your application showing CRC as the school or confirmation that the VA received the application for Chapter 33 benefits.

Once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility from the VA, you need to contact the CRC Veterans Services Office to complete your file.

Can I sign up for the GI Bill without my DD-214, member copy 4?

While we will certify you for benefits without a DD-214, we ask that you obtain one as soon as possible.. There is always a possibility that not having a DD-214 can delay the processing of your benefits by the VA.

The DD-214 is also used to award you four semester units of credit toward the "Living Skills" general education area for an AA or AS degree. You will need one year of active duty and an honorable discharge and have twelve units earned at CRC to get these units.

Why do I have to fill out all this paperwork?

The paperwork we give you as a new student at Cosumnes River College establishes your VA file at CRC and your VA file in Muskogee, OK. There is a reason for each piece of paperwork. Once the files are established, you will need to complete one piece of paperwork each semester (Enrollment Status Form) to keep benefits going, unless you change your major.

Can I start my GI Bill while on terminal leave?

No - You must be discharged from service to receive education benefits. However, you can apply to the college and to the VA, stating that you will enroll for the semester following your separation.

How can I get veterans priority registration?

All veterans and active duty service members qualify for the earliest possible registration period (Priority 0). Bring (or FAX) your DD-214 or military ID to the Veterans Services Office and the staff will grant priority registration. Do this early each semester before the registration has begun to receive the greatest benefit of this early registration period. You do not need to be using VA education benefits to receive priority registration. 

How do I change my major with the VA?

If you feel that you need or want to change your major, work with your counselor to see what is required and what impact the change will have on your length of time to completion or your preparedness for the course work. You will need to create a new VA Educational Program Planner.

How do I get credit for my work and education in the service?

The short answer is that you may be able to get credit for many of your military training courses.

The topic of credit is complicated, because each situation is different as credits can be used in many different ways or be inapplicable in many cases. Most often, the credits apply toward elective units rather than specific course requirements. Your counselor can discuss your options with you. To evaluate your training, you will need to request official copies of all military transcripts and submit it to the CRC Records and Admissions office.

How do I transfer my benefits to CRC from another college?

If you have used benefits at another institution you will need to file the proper VA form with the Veterans Administration; Form 22-1995 if you are a veteran or Form 22-5495 if you are a dependent. See the Forms link on our Veterans Services home page. You would list Cosumnes River College as the new institution.

Can I attend one of the other Los Rios campuses as well as CRC?

Yes, if CRC is your "parent" or "primary" school, you can attend multiple campuses (called concurrent enrollment). However, you must submit a VA Consortium Request form to the CRC certifying official. Obtain this form from your counselor with their assurance that the courses taken at the other colleges meet your program requirements. Do not wait until the last date to start this paperwork! Once this paperwork has been approved and processed, the VA certifying official will issue a parentletter to the other schools you are attending.

Which chapters need to do monthly verifications of their units to the VA and how is it done?

Only Chapter 30, 1606, 1607, and VRAP students are responsible for verifying their own enrollments at the end of each month. You must do this to get your benefit check for school attendance during the past month. To verify your attendance each month, contact the VA Regional Processing Office by phone at (877) 823-2378 or on-line at the WAVE Website. If there were any changes to your courses during the month, talk to the college' certifying official first.

What do I need to do to continue my benefits each semester?

When you have finished registration for the upcoming semester, turn in the VA Enrollment Status Form to the CRC Veterans Services Office and the staff will certify your classes to the VA for the upcoming semester. Do this early (as soon as you register for your classes). CRC cannot certify wait- listed courses, only those which you are actually enrolled in and which are listed on your VA Educational Program Planner. If you are entering or nearing your second semester of receiving VA benefits at CRC, be sure that you have a VA Educational Program Planner completed by a veterans counselor and submitted to the CRC Veterans Services Office.

How do short-term courses (less than a semester in length) affect my GI bill payment?

Courses of less than full semester duration definitely complicate the payment formula. The VA only counts the unit value of a short-term course in your load while the course is in session, so you might drop below your desired load (half-time, three quarter or full-time) for the portion of the semester in which you are not actually attending the short-term course. This could result in loss of money or overpayments. Work with your counselor and the certifying official to be certain of your load. It is better to carry a little extra than to cut it too close.

My dad/mom/husband/wife was in the military. What benefits do I get?

If the veteran is 100% permanently and totally disabled or deceased due to a service connected injury, the spouse or child may be eligible for Chapter 35 (Dependent) benefits. The spouse cannot have re-married and there is an age cut-off for the children. If the veteran is not 100% disabled or deceased then the dependent may still qualify for a fee waiver through the College Fee Waiver Program for Veterans' Dependents by California Veterans Affairs.

What is a NOBE?

For reservists utilizing Chapter 1606 a NOBE is a Notice of Basic Eligibility. You obtain your NOBE from your unit and you hand it in with your VA package of paperwork to our Veterans Services Office.

How can I get GE credits based upon my DD214?

The DD214 is also used to award you 4 semester units of credit toward the "Living Skills" general education area for an AA or AS degree. You will need one year of active duty and an honorable discharge to get these units.

What is the College Fee Waiver Program for Veterans' Dependents by California Veterans Affairs?

The dependent child, spouse or unmarried surviving spouses of a service connected-disabled or deceased veteran may be entitled to fee waiver benefits at all California community colleges, CSU system and UC system universities. To obtain eligibility requirements and assistance in applying for this valuable benefit, please contact your local County Veteran Service Office or the college Veterans Services Office. You can also download an application from the County Veteran Service Office or California Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Dependents Educational Assistance or you can call (916) 874-6811.

If you are receiving Chapter 35 benefits, you are not eligible to receive the College Fee Waiver for Veterans' Dependents under Plan A. See the instructions for details about Plan B and minimum eligibility requirements.

This benefit is applicable to one academic year only and must be renewed EVERY academic year. The academic year commences in the summer and ends with the end of the next spring semester.

After a student has applied for the Fee Waiver with their local County Veteran Service office and approved, they will receive an approval letter in the mail. The student should take this to the CRC Financial Aid Office for processing. Admissions & Records does NOT process the Fee Waiver for Veterans' Dependents.

NOTE: Very often, the dependents of a disabled veteran may already qualify for the CRC BOG fee waiver so it may be more practical to go directly through the CRC Financial Aid process than to go to CalVet. Go to the Financial Aid Website and click the applications link.

What courses will the VA pay or not pay for?

Required versus recommended classes - The VA does NOT pay for recommended classes (ones you might well benefit from but aren't required). Only required classes which are listed on your VA Educational Planner. Required courses can include prerequisite and remedial classes for which the student has been placed through assessment testing. NOTE: There are two important exceptions to this policy. The first and final semesters of your entitlement are treated differently than the rest. During the first semester, you will likely have enrolled in courses prior to developing the VA Educational Planner so there is some flexibility with the first semester courses. During the final semester, you are allowed to "round out" your load if there aren't enough required courses you still need to reach your full load. So, you should use these first and last semesters to take the courses which may be recommended rather than required. Talk to your counselor regarding their recommendations.

Challenge or credit-by-examination - The VA will NOT pay for any class that is challenged or completed through credit-by-exam. You must attend a class to receive payment for it. Such course credit is given by examination based on work experience, foreign language proficiency, or any other process outside the conventional academic setting.

Online classes or distance education- The VA WILL pay for TV courses, online courses, and independent study classes if they are required courses. Payment for these classes will cover only the period the class is in session.

Repeated classes & incomplete grades - You may repeat a course and receive VA payment for it if you received an "F", "NP" or "W" grade on the original attempt. The VA does not pay for repeats of "D" or better grades unless the class is required for the major and must be passed with a certain grade level to progress to another required class (it is a prerequisite). In this case, the VA will pay for the repeat. The VA does not pay for incomplete grades, unless the Incomplete is changed to an "F" grade which is then repeatable.

What is a "round out" in my final semester?

During a student's final semester only, if at least one course meets a requirement listed on the student's VA Educational Planner, all additional courses taken that term may be certified regardless of whether or not the courses are required.

Veterans Resource Center

How can the Veterans Resource Center help me?

As part of the Veterans Services team at CRC, the Veterans Resource Center is the program on campus which addresses the needs and concerns of veteran students and their families during the transition back to college. Your return to school will be less stressful and your chances for successful completion of your educational goals will increase greatly if you take advantage of our services. We are here to help answer your questions, get you connected to support services on and off campus, guide you through the registration process, and more.  Our staff is friendly, knowledgeable and ready to assist you as best we can. Most of us are veterans ourselves or come from military families and we all want to encourage your efforts to set and reach your goals. The Center provides a comfortable place to stand down with your peers during your time at CRC so please stop by for a cup of coffee or to use our computers or call us at (916) 691-7455. NOTE: We are not certifying officials; they are located in Admissions and Records.

Where is the Veterans Resource Center located?

The Veterans Resource Center is located in the College Center building next to the Admissions & Records and Business Services Offices. The phone number is (916) 691-7455.

How can I meet and network with other CRC vets?

You can start by dropping by the Center and meeting with student staff who are also veterans. Many veterans are looking for a comfortable study environment or a place to just relax and they are naturally drawn to the Center. You'll soon know many fellow students by name. Also, the Student Life and Leadership Center in the Technology Building, T 108 provides information about campus clubs and activities. You could become active in the Veterans Club or others if you'd like.

What types of workshops are offered through the Veterans Resource Center?

We do not offer workshops at this time however we will refer you to the many workshops that are offered on our campus throughout the year.  Workshops change each semester but can include topics like the following which are relevant to veterans and other groups.

  • Planning for transfer
  • Choosing a major
  • Learning strategies
  • Dealing with stress
  • Career decisions
  • Healthy living
  • Substance abuse
  • PTSD &TBI
  • Anger management and interpersonal communication