At the Sanford School of Public Policy and throughout Duke University we pride ourselves on providing world class service to our active-duty and veteran students. 

A Guide to Veterans Benefits and Resources

This helpful guide is from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

How to apply for the GI Bill® and Related Benefits

  1.  Begin the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) process.
  2. Submit the COE and your program acceptance to 
  3. Duke submits documentation to the VA, which then needs to be certified by the VA.

Note: We will not know your benefits until our request has been received and certified by the VA - generally by the 2nd or 3rd week of the fall term each academic year. Starting in the summer? We will not know your benefit amount until the beginning of the fall term. 

Submit the Student Data Form (SDF) each term you want your schedule to be certified.  The SDF can be submitted only after registration is complete. Questions? 

Additional resources

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, find out if you can get VR&E benefits and services—like help exploring employment options and getting more education or training if required.

Educational and career counseling-Find out how to get free educational and career counseling if you are leaving active service soon, have been discharged within the past year, or are a Veteran or dependent who is eligible for VA education benefits.

Explore resources for military and Veteran family members-Find out how the Veterans Employment Center can help spouses and other family members access valuable career resources.

Questions? Please Ask


Brandon Smith

Director of Financial Aid

Brandon handles all responsibilities for federal checklist completion and FAFSA verification. He determines and awards federal loan funding as well as federal work-study funds. With a comprehensive oversight of financial aid operations and programs, Brandon diligently manages grants while ensuring overall compliance with school and federal funds. For any inquiries regarding student financial planning or questions regarding the cost of attendance, individuals are encouraged to reach out to Brandon for assistance. His expertise makes him a valuable resource in navigating the complexities of the financial aid process and securing necessary funding for students' educational pursuits.

Brandon graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology minoring in history from the University of North Florida (UNF). He continued his studies at UNF, earning a Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree, in which Brandon studied how society can improve access to education and avoid the stratification of higher education. From his time at a small public college in Northeast Florida to New York University, and Columbia University — Brandon has accumulated an array of experience. He's met leaders who are resourceful in first carefully listening to an issue and then responding to challenges in a solution-driven way.

His grandfather, a career Army Medical Doctor, once told Brandon, “service to humanity is the price we pay for living.” Brandon continues to live by those words on a daily. Focusing his abilities to help guide students through the complex world of higher education while doing the utmost to learn from and mentor colleagues. His chief goal is to ensure that students have complete and accurate information so that they can make the best decisions toward following their dreams.

Student Story

Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake is a member of the first Master of National Security Policy cohort at Duke Sanford. She says the hybrid program has given her the freedom to pursue her education while continuing to work as a liaison to the U.S. Senate.