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US Veterans Affairs

Thank you for your interest in utilising your US Veterans Affairs benefits for study at JCU.  Please be aware that the US Veterans Affairs program underwent a major overhaul in 2021 which implemented certain changes for foreign school participation, and which is having a significant impact on the processing timeframes for program approvals.  The current VA program approval timeframe exceeds 6 months.

Please seek confirmation from before proceeding with acceptance to study.

The first step is to ensure your intended program of study is “VA approved”.  Each program is approved on a case-by-case basis as a veteran applies. Programs also must be re-approved from time-to-time so may drop off the approved list if there is no current veteran study in that program. We cannot seek blanket approvals for all programs.

The current VA approved programs for JCU are:

  • Bachelor of Science, Aquaculture Science & Technology major
  • Master of Science, Environmental Earth Science major
  • Bachelor of Geology
  • Bachelor of Science, Marine Biology major
  • Master of Science (Professional)
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science
  • Bachelor of Science, Zoology & Ecology major

Note, The JCU Bachelor of Marine Science, and the Master of Marine Biology, are currently NOT approved. These are different programs to those listed above.  Please don't rely on the VA published list as this is not currently up to date.

It is important to note that not all programs are eligible for VA approval. There are two regulations in particular that restrict the program eligibility at foreign schools:

1/ The Code of Federal Regulations (S21.4260) stipulates that 'the course leads to a standard college degree or its equivalent'. 

This equates to any undergraduate program which is not a degree, and therefore makes JCU programs such as the Diploma of Higher Education ineligible. Most Bachelor and graduate programs will qualify for approval, with the exception of those that fall into the category 2 below.

2/  The Code of Federal Regulations (S21.4253 & S21.4267) also stipulates that to approve a distance learning course at a school outside of the United States, the program must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. A nationally recognized accrediting agency will appear on the list published by the U.S. Secretary of Education. 

At JCU, 'distance learning' equates to both external programs AND external subjects undertaken within an internal program. Some JCU internal programs incorporate external (online) subjects into the delivery method which unfortunately makes the entire program ineligible.  This includes programs such as the Bachelor of Nursing Science and Master of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, for example.

To determine whether the program you wish to undertake is eligible, please contact

You must also apply to the VA. Please refer to the VA website information for foreign school enrolments.

When applying, the preferred option is to apply online through the Veteran Online Application website, commonly referred to as VONAPP or you can download a paper application form from the VA website.

Once you have applied to the VA, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA.  You should send a copy of this document to This document will confirm which benefit chapter applies, the length of time for which you can receive benefits, and the percentage of benefits available.

If you have not already, lodge an application to study at JCU in your chosen program.  If successful you will receive a Letter of Offer from the JCU admissions office detailing the program fees, duration etc.

To proceed further you will need to accept the offer formally. To do this, you need to complete all the required paperwork, send any original Transcripts or other documentation specified, and pay an upfront “Advance Payment”.  You cannot use your benefits to cover the deposit, this will be required upfront regardless and the amount will be stipulated on your Letter of Offer.  It is possible to apply for a reduced Advance Payment however the amount payable upfront will not be less than AU$1000 tuition plus OSHC & SSAF (subject to approval).

As of  2021, the VA introduced new legislation which had a major impact on veterans, as well as the participating schools.  A summary of the "Isakson & Roe Act" sections can be found at

For example, Section 1010 states:

"Students must verify their enrollment at school on a monthly basis in order to continue receiving their Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly housing allowance (MHA). Schools will also be required to certify the student’s enrollment after the add-drop date.  If a student fails to verify their enrollment status for two consecutive months, VA will withhold MHA payments until the student has verified their enrollment.

As we are processing the changes made by the VA and will further update this section to provide more guidance when possible.

If you have specific questions on any of the chapters or eligibility requirements, please contact the VA directly:

Ask a Question and Get Answers

Ask VA is available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call Us

888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551). Call between 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday-Friday.

Call Us From Overseas

Students and School Certifying Officials calling from outside the United States can contact us by phone at 001-918-781-5678 during business hours, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.  CST,  Monday - Friday.  This is not a toll-free number, but the caller will be routed to the next available customer service representative.  This is for overseas customers only, all others should call the toll-free number or contact us at the Questions and Answers section of this website.

If you would like to contact the JCU Financial Aid office:

James Cook University
Townsville, Queensland, 4811


Phone: 61 7 47815507

We also appreciate suggestions and improvements for our site to make it more informative and useful to interested students.