Colleges and universities that participate in the Yellow Ribbon program will cover some or all of the costs above that which Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay. Check this list to find out if the school you hope to attend is one of the Yellow Ribbon schools.
What is a Yellow Ribbon School?
Yellow Ribbon Schools are colleges and universities that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Yellow Ribbon Schools make additional funds available for veteran students. These additional funds help cover charges above what is covered by the GI Bill. The costs would have to be covered by the veteran themselves. The Yellow Ribbon funds can help veterans avoid out-of-pocket costs for tuition.
The school can cover up to 50% of the tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap. The VA then agrees to match the same amount that the school contributed. In some cases, this covers 100% of any additional cost. However, this is not always the case.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay for all tuition and fees for a public school, and the lower of the actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per academic year for a private school.
However, what happens if you go to a school that costs more than what the GI Bill will provide? That is where the Yellow Ribbon Program can help.
Those who are attending a private school or a public school as a non-resident would benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Program. Your school will need to elect to participate in the program. If they do, the Yellow Ribbon Program will make additional funds available for your educational program without additional charges to your GI Bill entitlement.
Institutions of Higher Learning will enter in a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA and will choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be given. The VA will then match that amount and will issue the payments directly to your school.
All Public Universities Now Offer In-State Tuition for Veterans
It is important to note that all public universities offer in-state tuition for veterans for up to 3 years after discharge. As a result, the primary benefit of the program is reserved for those looking to attend a participating private school where the cost exceeds the Post 911 GI Bill.
Are You Eligible For Yellow Ribbon?
You will need to be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, this includes:
Having served 36 months (may be aggregate) on active duty
If you have received the Purple Heart with an honorable discharge and any amount of service
You were discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability and also served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001
You are a child using transferred benefits
If you are a child using transferred benefits and your service member transfer is at the 100% level
Only Veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate, as determined by service requirements, or their designated transferees are eligible to receive funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs and participating institutions.
The school must not have also offered the Yellow Ribbon Program to more than the maximum amount of people as stated in the participation agreement. Your school must also certify your enrollment to the VA and provide Yellow Ribbon Program information.
Active duty service members and their spouses are not eligible for this program.
How Do I Know If A School Is a Yellow Ribbon Program Participant?
Also, within the CollegeRecon School Search tool, you can select Yellow Ribbon as one of your filter criteria.
Do You Automatically Receive the Yellow Ribbon Program Benefits?
No, not in all cases. Even if you qualify and your school participates in the yellow ribbon program, the answer may still be no.
In addition, there could be limits. The school may limit which degree programs the Yellow Ribbon program applies to. Or the school may limit the amount of students that can receive the Yellow Ribbon benefits at your school. In this case it is determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Your best bet is to apply through your school as soon as you can do so.
What Else Do I Need to Know About the Program?
Schools can have the flexibility to designate the number of students and contributions based on the student’s status. This means that the school could have different availability and amounts for:
And different amounts for the different schools the institution has – college or professional schools.
Just because you were able to get the Yellow Ribbon Program benefits one year, it doesn’t mean you will 100% get them the next year.
Criteria for Continuing With the Yellow Ribbon Program
The agreements between the school and the VA need to be in effect for each year. If your school is still a part of the program, then you will need to have these things to continue with the program:
Must maintain satisfactory progress in your educational program.
Remain continuously enrolled per the school’s policy.
Have remaining entitlement with your Post 9/11 GI Bill.
If you want to transfer to another school, that school will also need to be participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and accept your application. Just because the first school let you into the program, that doesn’t mean the second school has to.
Not all of your tuition and fees will be covered with the Yellow Ribbon Program. This all depends on the school’s agreement with the VA.
The fees included with the Yellow Ribbon Program would be all mandatory fees for the program you are in. Fees such as room and board, or any other non-mandatory fees are not included.
You do not have to attend school full-time to be in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
In some cases, you can receive funds during the summer term if your school has them available.
How Do You Apply?
After you submit an application for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you are eligible at the 100% benefit level, the VA will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility and advise you that you are potentially eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. You can then apply for the program at your school with that Certificate, and they will determine if there are spots available. Your school will notify you if you have been approved for the program.
The Yellow Ribbon Program can be a great way to get the education that you need and to be able to have everything paid for. See if your school or a potential school has the program, and apply if you are eligible to receive the benefit.
Yellow Ribbon Schools: 3 Quick-ish Facts
However, when it comes to your unique situation, the Yellow Ribbon program may not apply.
What do we mean?
Here are a few facts to help you understand how a school’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon program may or may not be important to your situation.
#1 Applies Differently
For eligible students, if you wish to attend a public school, 100% of your in-state tuition is covered under both the original Post 9/11 GI Bill and the current “Forever GI Bill.”
Veterans enrolling within 3 years of discharge, or their dependents.
Fry Scholarship recipients enrolling within 3 years of their parent’s date of death.
100% online programs at public schools may charge the higher non-resident rate if the GI Bill recipient doesn’t live in-state.
GI Bill recipients will lose their eligibility if a second or subsequent enrollment is more than 3 year from the date of discharge in the cases where they:
stop using their GI Bill for at least a semester (not a summer semester)
transfer schools and lose more than 12 credit hours in the transfer
GI Bill recipients who were originally within the 3 year time period when they started school before July 2, 2015, but are now past their 3-year eligibility are not covered or “grandfathered” with this program. They still have to pay the non-resident rate, unless the school has made an exception.
Active duty service members and their spouses and children are not eligible while they are serving.
The Yellow Ribbon program would apply to your situation if you’re attending a:
Private school where the costs exceed the GI Bill payment limit
Public school as a non-resident and are ineligible based on the criteria above where the tuition cost exceeds the GI Bill payment limit
BUT, even then…
#2 You May Not Be 100% Covered
The amount covered by the Yellow Ribbon is predetermined by the VA and the school – it may not fully cover your out-of-pocket cost.
The Yellow Ribbon agreement between the VA and school sets:
the maximum value of the coverage
the maximum number of veterans that can use the program at any given time
which majors and degree programs are covered
As such, it does not cover all students nor does it cover the full amount in all cases.
You’ll need to get more details like:
How much of the tuition cost is covered?
Are there open slots for you to take advantage of the program?
You are eligible if one of the following applies to you:
Served 36 months on active duty
Received the Purple Heart and an honorable discharge (with any length of service)
Were discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001
Are a dependent using transferred benefits.
In addition, the school must:
Agree to participate in the Program
Have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals as stated in their participation agreement
Certify your enrollment to VA and provide Yellow Ribbon Program information
Active duty service members and active duty spouses are not eligible.
While it is good to research Yellow Ribbon schools, you shouldn’t necessarily make it a determining factor when searching for a school. The fact is that you may eliminate an excellent school based on a program that may not even apply to your situation.
Yellow Ribbon Colleges and Universities
You may know that education expenses for tuition and fees may exceed the amount covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Which means you could end up paying for things out of your own pocket.
Schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon program have joined with the VA to help offset any tuition expenses not covered by the GI Bill.
>> Get started on a search in our School Finder for schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon program.