What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is one of the many benefits provided to veterans. The program provides supplemental financial aid for tuition after funds from the Post-9/11 GI Bill are paid. This program, among others, rewards veterans for their exceptional sacrifice for serving the nation.

Purpose

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 100 percent payment of tuition for up to 36 months for active duty military personnel, veterans, and in some situations their dependents. While most expenses are covered at in-state public institutions, students attending out-of-state, private, or foreign schools are left with outstanding tuition bills after receiving up to the national maximum amount, which is $22,805.34 per academic year for the 2017-2018 school year. The program permits higher learning institutions to enter into agreements with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to help fund the outstanding tuition bill on a matching basis. Institutions establish a set amount of funds that they will cover in excess of the Post-9/11 GI Bill payment for each student. Then, the Department of Veterans Affairs matches the amount for a maximum of 50 percent of the student's outstanding tuition bill.

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Eligibility

The Yellow Ribbon program is not for active duty military members but rather for veterans. The veteran must be eligible for the 100 percent benefit rate of the GI bill and have actively participated in the military after September 10, 2001, for at least 36 months. Veterans who were honorably discharged due to a disability that occurred as a result of their service must have participated in the military after September 10, 2001, for at least 30 consecutive days. Veteran's dependents are also eligible if they meet the criteria for a transfer of entitlement according to the GI Bill as stated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. A veteran must attend a school that offers the program and the institution must not have reached their limit for the number of students that can be funded as detailed in their agreement for participation. The institution is required to submit details to the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the program and provide documentation indicating that the student is officially enrolled.

Participating Institution Requirement

There are numerous colleges and universities in each state that participate in the program. For a school to be declared a participant, there must be an official agreement between the institution and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the institution must identify a dollar amount to be given to each participant as well as determine the maximum number of students who can receive funding for the academic year. In administering the program, the institution must provide qualified students with the funding on a first-come-first-serve basis and provide the funds as a scholarship or grant.

Deciding to obtain an academic degree is an important step towards improving one's future. The decision can be made difficult due to the rising costs of tuition. The Yellow Ribbon Program helps makes this decision easier for eligible veterans by providing them with additional funding to defray the cost of tuition no matter which institution a veteran decides to attend.