Veteran Status for Federal Aid

Criteria for Veteran Status for Federal Aid Purposes

The Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs have varying criteria for individuals to claim veteran status. Please note, the criteria listed here are specifically addressing the requirements of the Department of Education to direct students how to answer the question regarding veteran status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who meet these criteria are considered independent for the purposes of federal student aid.

What defines a veteran?

A veteran is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) who served on active duty and was discharged under conditions that were other than dishonorable.

There is no minimum number of days a student must have served on active duty to be considered a veteran. However, periods of active duty for training, pursuant to an enlistment in the National Guard or Reserves, do not qualify a student as a veteran. Thus former or current members of the National Guard or Reserves are not considered to be veterans unless they had prior or subsequent service with an active component of the Armed Forces. (Reservists called to active duty by Executive Order qualify as veterans.) Since the DD Form 214 is issued to those leaving the active military as well as to members of the National Guard and Reserves completing their initial active duty for training, possession of this document does not necessarily mean the student is a veteran.

Persons who attended military academies are now considered veterans for financial aid purposes.

Identifying as a veteran on the FAFSA

Applicants who meet these criteria should answer "yes" to the veteran question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).