Yellow Ribbons and Private Colleges: A Match That Saves Thousands
Military members often find themselves needing or desiring to continue their education after their enlistment has ended. Some want college and others want to learn a new trade or skill. The Post 9-11 GI Bill can make college or technical training a realistic possibility for many. According to the Student Veterans of America, 52% of our Veterans use their Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits after they leave the military. I personally don't understand why this number isn't above 90%.
The VA sponsors a program for Veterans or their families that utilizes
the Post 9-11 GI Bill in which they can get additional funds from their school and to cover tuition. Most costs are covered at the State college rate but not at private institutions.
You may have heard of the Yellow Ribbon Program before. This program is designated to help Veteran students and assist private schools to reduce or eliminate tuition costs to Veterans. The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision from the Post-9/11 GI Bill which offers payments to private schools, but normally these payments are not enough to cover full tuition. For instance, for the school year 2020-2021 the maximum amount that the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers is $25,162.14.
The Yellow Ribbon program can be the solution when Post-9/11 GI Bill is not enough. Schools have the option to enter an agreement with the VA to waive a portion or all of their tuition fees that exceed the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The VA will match the amount of the waiver and contribute that to the tuition.
For instance, a Veteran student is attending a private university with a tuition of $40,000/year and the student’s GI bill authorized $25,162.14., but the school is participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and has agreed to waive $5,000 tuition for Yellow Ribbon Participants. The VA will match that $5,000 making the total tuition waived $10,000. So, in this scenario the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay $25,162.14 and the Yellow Ribbon Program will waive $10,000 meaning the student will be responsible for only $4,837.86 tuition.
The criteria to receive benefits for the yellow ribbon program and all the information you need can be found at
Below we attached such criteria for your benefit:
Served an aggregate period of active duty of at least 36 months after Sep. 10, 2001 and received an honorable discharge;
Were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and served 30 continuous days after Sep. 10, 2001;
Are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran's service under the eligibility criteria listed above;
Are using the Fry Scholarship.
Not all schools participate in the program and the amount they waived and the number of participants they allow may vary. If you’re interesting to check if your school is participating, you can check the VA's GI Bill website.
What the VA stated: "Degree-granting institutions of higher learning participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program agree to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. These institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution."
So be mindful that each participating school manages their own Yellow Ribbon Program which means the student may qualify for it one year and not the next or they may receive a different amount of money each year. There is no guarantee that the Yellow Ribbon Program will cover all of the tuition fees and only mandatory fees are covered. For instance, dorms fees are not covered.
There are an abundance of Federal programs for Veterans and their family members devoted to education. Each State also has it's own Veteran educational benefits. Please do your research.
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