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VA-ONCE is an enhanced means for submitting select VA Forms electronically. It is a completely Internet based application developed by a team of schools and VA representatives.
Below is a link that to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website that will direct you to a number of tips and training before starting your first certification. If you have any questions about the material feel free to contact us.
Tips on VA-ONCE Before Doing the First Certification
1.  VA-ONCE will pre-load the database with names of students.  Purge this list before you do anything.  You will find names on this list who never attended your school and names of students who have not attended your school for several years.  If you delete these names first, the database will be faster and more accurate.
2.  Make up your Standard Program Abbreviations before you begin entering programs.  Your abbreviation can only be 10 spaces long and should reflect the program name and whether the program is a degree, certificate, or diploma program.
3.  When you enter Standard Programs, make sure you enter IHL and NCD under the proper facility code.
4.  Before you enter Standard Programs, verify the most recent OLAF against the most recent State Approving Agency approval.  Report discrepancies to the SAA.
5.  When entering Standard Programs, enter the program name first followed by the degree, certificate, or diploma abbreviation (ie. BA, BS, AA, C, D, etc)  If your school has a BA in Sociology and a BS in Sociology, you must make two entries, one for each degree.
6.  If your school has a large number of programs you may want to consider entering only the programs in which veterans are enrolled.  It is not necessary that you enter all programs on your OLAF to use VA-ONCE.  However, be advised that before you can certify a veteran in a program, you must have entered it into VA-ONCE.
7.  When entering Standard Terms, be sure to include parts of terms or parts of semesters.
8.  When entering Standard Terms, enter them retroactive for one year so you can certify students retroactively.
9.  When adopting students, accuracy is important, especially when entering their program.  If you enter the wrong program, you cannot change it in VA-ONCE without certifying that you have a VA From 22-1995 on hand.  This creates a Change of Program when, in fact, the students did not change programs.
10.  Decide on User Defined Fields before adopting students.  It is time consuming to go back and enter them later.
11.  When selecting programs in the Bio screen, you can cycle the list by continually pressing the first letter of the program.
12.  When selecting the state in the Bio screen, you can cycle the list by continually pressing the first letter of the state.
13.  When adopting a student on the adoption screen, type the students SSN without dashes and highlight the SSN.  Use Ctrl C to copy the highlighted SSN.  When in the Bio screen entries for student ID and file number can be made quickly by pressing Ctrl V when the box is highlighted.
14.  If you have more than 100 students in your database, click on “Show All” to see all the student names.  Use the print feature to print this list.  If you only need to find one student, use the “Search” feature at the top of the student list.  You can find the student using their last name or SSN.
15.  To enter Standard School Remarks, click Admin Button, then Maintenance-Standard School Remarks.  Click on Add.  Click into the Remark Text field and type your Remark.  The Remark is limited to at total of 100 characters and spaces.  Click save.
16.  To enter a Standard School Remark on an Enrollment Certification, click on “Modify Remarks List.”  Click on Add at top of the dialog box.  Click on VBA Standard Remarks drop down arrow.  At the bottom of the list, click on “Other.”  Click on School Standard Remarks drop down box and select the remark for the certification.  Click on “Save.”

For additional information, please contact:

Christine Hawk | Veterans Education Manager
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Postsecondary and Adult Education
333 Market Street, 12th Fl | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.2414 | Fax: 717.772.3622
RA-VetEd@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us