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Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program

Survivors and dependents programs provide education assistance to family members of veterans who became permanently disabled or died from a service-related cause.

Ch. 35 Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program

The Survivors’ and Dependents Educational Assistance Program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.

For questions about eligibility, call the GI Bill helpline at (888) 442-4551.

For steps on how to establish education benefits at VCU, see our Chapter 35 checklist.

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program

The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP) provides up to eight academic semesters of education benefits to spouses and children of military service members and veterans who:

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is responsible for managing the program and collaborates with the State Council of higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Virginia's public colleges and universities to assist spouses and children of qualified military service members and veterans in attaining their educational goals.

Applicants must be the children - ages 16-29 - or the spouse of a qualified military service member, and Virginia must be the service member's home of record for at least five years before the application is made.

Application process

You can file the VMSDEP application online through the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, which also has complete information about the program and its requirements. You can also find a summary of information in the Veterans Education, Training and Employment flyer.

VMSDEP award information

To be eligible for assistance under VMSDEP, an applicant must meet the Virginia Department of Veteran Services' eligiblity requirements. If qualifications are met for this state program of benefits, an approval letter will be mailed to your home and a copy will be sent to VCU Student Financial Services for processing.

As a state veterans benefit, the VMSDEP will be included as a financial resource in your financial resource in your financial aid offer package and may reduce state grants, university grants, federal loans and work study, and private loans. Each financial aid offer type is different, so the benefit may affect each person's offer differently.

Please note: VCU does not apply waivers retroactively. Eligible waivers are applied to current and/or future terms as determined by DVS.

Tuition benefits (Tier 1 and Tier 2)*

Eligible students, as confirmed by DVS, are guaranteed a waiver of all tuition and mandatory fees for eight semesters at a Virginia public college or university and Eastern Virginia Medical School. (Please note: tuition and manadatory fees are waived. Mandatory fees include the library, technology, activity, health and university fees). Housing, dining, books and supplies are considered educational expenses and are not waived under this program.

Stipend benefits (Tier 2 only)

Eligible students may receive a stipend to offset educational expenses such as housing, dining, books and supplies. SCHEV works with DVS and the public colleges and universities in disbursing funds. The amount of the stipend is determined annually by SCHEV and is dependent on the student's enrollment status; the number of participating students; and the available funding. Please view the VMSDEP Tier 2 Stipend Fact Sheet [PDF] for more information.

Below are the approved semester stipend amounts for 2021-22 based upon credit hours of enrollment:

Enrollment Level

Credit Hours as of census date
(end of add/drop)

Term Amount

The maximum amount of the VMSDEP stipend, when combined with other gift aid (scholarships, grants, waivers, etc.), cannot exceed the student's estimated cost of attendance.

If a student withdraws from all courses, the stipend is adjusted by a percentage equivalent to the tuition refund information by academic session at VCU.

*To learn more about the VMSDEP program, and for Tier 1 and Tier 2 definitions and eligibility requirements, please refer to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

VMSDEP Office:

Phone: (804) 786-0571
Fax: (804) 786-0809
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

James Monroe Building
101 North 14th Street, 17th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

You may also be eligible for the Federal benefit, Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) program. Please visit the VA Survivors and Dependents website for more information and eligiblity requirements.

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