What Determines If A Fee Is Considered a Mandatory Fee?
Q: I’ve been speaking with my school’s certifying official about parking fees (my school used to charge them to the student account, which would then theoretically be covered under the GI Bill). She says that even if they were charged to the student account, the VA would not pay for it, as it’s not a mandatory fee. However, I know several veterans attending other schools who also do not have mandatory parking fees – but they’re still being covered by the VA. Are fees being “mandatory” up to the certifying official?
A: Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible fees paid for by the VA are those fees the school charges each and every student, or each and every student in a particular degree program, as some student pay additional fees due to the program they are in such as nursing, medical and engineering students, to go to school. Typical covered fees include freshmen, library, student activity, etc. of which I would think parking would be a covered fee, if everyone having a car pays it.
I can’t say for sure, but I imagine a school documents their mandatory fees when they establish a relationship with the VA, so it could be dependent on what is on your school’s list as far as what they have documented as mandatory fees.
The school VA certifying official doesn’t establish the list, however, in their contact with the VA, they may be the one to send in the approved list to the VA. If there is anyone from a school that has experience with this, please contact me on this blog, so I can pass along how mandatory fees paid by the VA are established.