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Institutions Seeking Initial Approval

Before an institution can train veterans under the GI Bill program, the SAA must approve both the institution and program(s) in which veterans will be enrolled. The initial approval process is a comprehensive effort which involves a thorough review to evaluate the quality and integrity of a school. Approving an institution occurs in four stages indicated below—Application, Visit, Evaluation, and Finding.

Application

Institutions requesting approval to train veterans must submit a written application to the SAA. Please note: the VA requires the institution to have been in continuous operation within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for at least two years prior to the application date.

Download an Initial School Approval application from the SAA Forms page. The application requests detailed information on all areas listed in Table 1. The SAA will respond to the application within 14 days and visit the school within 30 days.

Insitutions seeking approval for on-the-job training programs must also submit a VA Form 22-8865 along with the SAA Application.

Visit

The initial inspection visit may occur in one of the following cases:

  1. Before the application is submitted to allow the SAA to assist the institution in filling out the application;
  2. In two visits—first to assist with the application, and then followed by the evaluative visit; or
  3. After the application arrives to the SAA.

The SAA may need to speak with the institution’s Director or President, Academic Director or Dean, Registrar, Director of Financial Aid, faculty in the program, students and veterans attending the school, designated Certifying Official, etc. The school may also determine with whom the SAA will speak.

Depending on the type of program, some examples of questions asked during a site visit may include, but are not limited to:

  • How are new programs approved at your school?
  • If the program is offered off-campus can the credit be used towards the same degree on-campus?
  • Are any programs being delivered by distance education?

Additional activities during the inspection may include, but are not limited to:

  • Inspection of facilities and any training equipment;
  • Review of state and local building and safety permits;
  • Review of the school’s advertising
  • Review of additional materials, such as class schedules, syllabi, tests, transfer agreements, etc.

Evaluation

The SAA evaluates the program based on the information collected in the application and during the inspection visit.

Finding

The SAA will make a finding on whether or not the application is in compliance with the appropriate approval criteria. After a decision is made, the SAA will notify the VA, appropriate school officials, and Certifying Official by way of an approval letter.

 

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