About the Project
The Veterans Compliance Reporting Re-Engineering Project addresses the need to convert today’s manual and labor-intensive veterans compliance reporting process into a streamlined solution that enables data to be submitted by educational institutions directly into the VA-ONCE and VACERT systems operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Because of its unique experience in successfully automating financial aid reporting for the nation’s colleges and universities, several school registrars approached the National Student Clearinghouse in 2014 to help similarly transform the VA compliance reporting process.
Since then, the Clearinghouse has collaborated with other nonprofit organizations — Student Veterans of America (SVA) and American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) — to define and validate the opportunity represented by the project.
Why a Solution Is Needed
More than one million military veterans and their families have taken advantage of VA education benefits to attend college, with the numbers growing substantially each year. In order to receive VA education benefits, the enrollment of eligible students must be certified by their institutions each term. Due to the complexity of the certification process, institutions employ full-time School Certifying Officials (SCO) who collect and maintain information on all their student veterans, including identifying information and certification data (term dates, course hours and credits, class changes, tuition and fees, and completion data).
Several times each term, SCOs must manually enter each student veteran’s information into the VA’s online system. Given the large population of student veterans at some institutions, the number of manual entries regularly submitted by SCOs can number in the hundreds or even thousands. The processing inefficiencies caused by this highly manual approach frequently result in human error that can cause payment delays, along with overpayments and underpayments. As importantly, it means that SCOs have less time to spend on more important activities, like assisting student veterans with other personal and academic needs.
The Proposed Solution
The Clearinghouse has longstanding relationships with more than 3,600 colleges and universities, which enroll 98 percent of all students in public and private U.S. institutions. Since 1993, the Clearinghouse has provided its participating institutions with a fully automated system for reporting enrollment for their financial aid students, in compliance with Department of Education requirements.
Through the proposed solution, schools would report the additional required veterans compliance data elements to the Clearinghouse using the same data reporting process they’ve used for years. On behalf of the schools, the Clearinghouse will electronically and securely report the student veterans data to the VA. As it does for all the data it receives, the Clearinghouse will perform error checks and alert schools when errors are found so they can correct the data before it’s submitted to the VA.
The initial focus of the project is on completion data reporting, which is expected to be the simplest for most schools to implement. That’s because, in support of other services it provides, the Clearinghouse already collects most of the required data elements for reporting student veteran completion from schools. The longer-term vision for the project calls for examining the benefits certification and recertification components.
Affiliated Veteran Support Organizations on Your Campus
The Student Veterans of America (SVA) is a 501(c)(3) coalition of student-veteran groups on college campuses across the globe whose mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.
Partnering to Make a Difference in Veterans’ Educational Experience
The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is a nonprofit international professional association of more than 11,000 higher education admissions and registration professionals who represent approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries.
The National Student Clearinghouse has been a trusted partner to the nation’s colleges since 1993, when it was founded as a nonprofit by the higher education community. Today the Clearinghouse is the leading provider of educational reporting, data exchange, verification, and research services.
Download the presentation that Rick Torres, CEO and President of the National Student Clearinghouse, gave on the Veterans Compliance Reporting Re-Engineering Project at the 2017 All Texas Veterans Higher Education Forum.
Download the Veterans Compliance Reporting Re-Engineering Project presentation given at the WACRAO 2017 Veterans Workshop.