Veterans' Services

Phone: (619) 482-6324

The Veterans Services Office provides information and services to support veteran students who qualify for education benefits. Students are provided assistance with filing for benefits, completing required forms and information, and communicating with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

New students are required to:

1. Complete the VONAPP and online Southwestern College Application for Admission.
2. Visit the Veterans Service Office to submit your Certificate of Eligibility and create a file.
3. Complete the SSSP requirements:

  • Online orientation - parts 1 and 2
  • Assessment
  • Make an appointment with the Veterans Counselor to develop a Student Education Plan (SEP) and submit it to the Veterans Services Office​

4. Register for classes. Students are responsible for paying their enrollment fees (excluding Chapter 33).
5. Complete the online Enrollment Declaration Form at by clicking on "Term Declarations" to initiate the process to certify benefits. This Term Declaration must be completed for each term a student wishes to receive benefits.

The DVA determines who qualifies for VA education benefits and will only pay for courses that apply directly to the student's declared educational objective. It is the student's responsibility to ensure he/she enrolls only in courses required to complete their program. Students are financially responsible for any courses taken outside the required coursework. The DVA will not pay for courses for which the students has previously received credit or were assessed into a higher level.


Official transcripts of all prior college work and military schools, including SMART and JST transcripts covering all periods of military service, must be on file at the Admissions Office. Benefit certification will be delayed or withheld if transcripts are not received and evaluated by the end of the student's first term. Transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing institution to the Southwestern College Admission & Records Office, 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA  91910.

Credit for Prior Military Experience

Students may receive up to 30 units of credit for Southwestern College coursework, typically for an Associate's degree and typically for elective credit, using prior military experience that is deemed equivalent in consultation with area-specific faculty and considering recommendations found in the ACE guide. No more than nine units of the 30 units may be applied to satisfy elective credit, unless approved by the Dean of Counseling in consultation with faculty. After receiving an "Enrollment Declaration Form", the Veterans Services Office will conduct an evaluation of a student's military transcripts for college credit. Students planning to transfer to a four-year institution are strongly encouraged to consult with the individual college or university regarding its military credit policy, to determine transferability of credit.

Enrollment Priority

Veterans are eligible for first level priority registration after completing orientation, assessment and placement and receiving a Student Education Plan (SEP).  Please see "Enrollment Priorities" for more information.

CalVet Fee Waiver

Under the California Education Code, dependents of veterans whose death or disability was service-connected may be eligible for exemption from enrollment fees. Students can download or pick up a Cal Vet Fee Waiver packet at the Veterans Services office or on our website. Students must complete the DVS40 form, submit it to the County Veterans Services Office for processing and, when approved, bring a copy of the eligibility letter to the Veterans Services Office. The award is good for one academic year (which covers the summer, fall and spring semesters) and to ensure ongoing benefits, students are required to reapply each year.  A student must be a California resident to apply for the CalVet fee Waiver.  For more information, contact the Veterans Services Office.

Withdrawal Policy for Members of the Military

A student who is a member of an active or reserve US military service and who receives orders compelling a withdrawal from courses shall be permitted to withdraw upon verification of such orders. A withdrawal symbol may be assigned which may be a "W" or "MW". Military withdrawal should not be counted in progress probation or dismissal calculations or in calculating the permitted number of withdrawals.

Changes in Enrollment

Payment of benefits is based on the student's continued enrollment and participation in all enrolled classes for which he/she is certified. All adds, drops, and withdrawals must be reported to the Veterans Services Office promptly, which may be done via email or in person. Changes in enrollment may result in an overpayment or underpayment of benefit payments. Important: students are liable for any overpayment of benefits.

Academic Progress and Suspension of Benefits

Southwestern College is responsible for enforcing standards of academic progress. The Veterans Services Office is responsible for notifying the DVA promptly when a student receiving VA education benefits is placed on academic probation.

Reinstatement of Benefits: In addition to not receiving VA educational benefits for one semester, students on probation must complete an Academic Success Seminar, have a written evaluation completed by an academic counselor, sign a Reinstatement Agreement and turn in a copy into the Veterans Services. The evaluation must certify that the student has a reasonable chance of academic success in the future. Students who change their academic programs must face more stringent requirements, including submission to the DVA of a request for reinstatement of benefits. Once reinstated, students are required to maintain a 2.0 semester GPA every semester until they achieve a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Failure to do so will result in immediate suspension of VA benefits for another semester. Go to for more information.  

For more extensive information on veterans benefits, certification and academic requirements, please visit our webpage at or consult the Student Veterans Handbook (available online and at the Veterans Services Office).