Hawaiʻi State Approving Agency


State Approving Agencies (SAAs) grew out of the GI Bill® of Rights. Title 38, U.S. Code, Chapter 36, Administration of Education Benefits, which authorizes the establishment of SAAs. 38 CFR, 21.4151(b) summarizes SAA responsibilities under the law. They are:

  • to inspect and supervise schools and training establishments within their state;
  • to determine programs of education and training that may be approved for veterans;
  • to determine whether a school or training establishment at all times complies with established standards; and
  • to render services and obtain information necessary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to approve or disapprove courses of education offered by any agency of the Federal Government within their states.

The primary function of the Hawaiʻi State Approving Agency is to review, evaluate, and approve quality educational and training programs for veterans benefits.


  • Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) – These are generally traditional colleges and universities that offer standard degrees, such as Associate’s, Bachelor’s Master’s or Doctorate degrees. They may also offer certificates, which are considered “non-college degrees”. Although most IHLs are accredited, this can also include non-accredited institutions, which will impact the specific regulations that the institution must adhere to.
  • Non-College Degrees (NCD) – These are usually certifications that demonstrate that a student has achieved the necessary knowledge to attain a specific vocation. These can occur at both accredited and non-accredited institutions, which will impact the specific regulations that the institution must adhere to.
  • Apprenticeship (APP) /On-the-Job Training (OJT)– These are programs where beneficiaries can receive VA benefits while they are learning a trade. For more information on the difference between On-the-Job Training and Apprentieship, please review https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/docs/factsheets/OJT_Factsheet.pdf.
  • Flight (FLT) – refers to flight schools which train students for various levels of pilot licenses. For information regarding approval of your flight school program, please email curtis.washburn@hawaii.gov for more information.
  • All of the above courses or training must lead to an educational, professional, or vocational objective. Courses that are considered avocational or recreational in character are specifically prohibited from approval by law.

The Hawaiʻi SAA reviews the appropriateness of each program relative to federal and state standards and laws. The role of the SAA is to assist new institutions to be able to meet the regulatory requirements and to work with continuing programs when they have revisions or additional programs to include. Continuous supervision is required for approved programs.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.gibill.va.gov/

Department of Veterans Affairs list of approved educational programs per state.

Curtis Washburn, PhD Director,
Hawaii State Approving Agency
3949 Diamond Head Road
Building 300, Room 14
Honolulu, HI 96816-4495
Tel: 808-369-3559

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