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Should I Stay Three or Four Years to Get the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I want to go to film school in California, after my 3 years active duty in the Army. I already have a BA in psychology. Three years on active duty will almost, but not fully cover, the 36 months needed for Yellow Ribbon and I am wondering if I should rethink the three years and go for four years instead, so I can get Yellow Ribbon. My question is how much better is Yellow Ribbon than my other options, if only serving three years with the Post 9/11 GI BILL. I am not from California, so I would have to become a resident and then go to film school. I just need some advice on this matter. Thank you for your time.

A: O.K., I’m missing something, because when I went to school (and no we were not using slate and chalk to write with) three years and 36 months were the same thing. If you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% level, then you also have the Yellow Ribbon option. And you will qualify for the maximum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit with three years of service. You can go four years on active duty if you want, but it will not get you any additional Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

For students attending graduate school, private school, paying out-state tuition, or any student whose tuition and fees exceeds what the VA will pay, there is nothing better than the Yellow Ribbon Program. If your school is a Yellow Ribbon school, meaning they have a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA, they will pay up to 50% of the amount over and above what your GI Bill will not pay and the VA will pay an equal amount. Just make sure the course you want to take is one they will cover in their Yellow Ribbon program before enrolling.

The other point I don’t understand is why do you have to become a California resident before you can go to your film school? They don’t accept non-residents? Outside of possibly having to pay out-state tuition, I don’t know why you would have to (or want to) wait for state residency. That will probably set back your schooling by at least a year.

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