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The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944--commonly known as the GI Bill--continues to provide educational opportunities for millions of U.S. servicemembers. In 2008, the GI Bill evolved to provide enhanced benefits to veterans with active duty service on or after September 2010.

Those enhancements include:

  • A living allowance called the housing stipend
  • Benefits transfers to eligible dependents
  • Additional educational expense coverage in the form of book stipends and the Yellow Ribbon Program

Today, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational benefits for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Unlike previous versions of the GI Bill, the amount of your benefit from the Post-9/11 GI Bill is based on the highest in-state tuition from a public institution in the state where your school is located.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Eligibility

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational and housing support to servicemembers who have served at least 90 days of aggregate time on or after September 11, 2001. Discharged individuals with a service-connected disability after 30 days of service are also eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

All eligible servicemembers must have received an honorable discharge to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

One the most unique and creative enhancements of the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the Yellow Ribbon Program. While the Post-9/11 GI Bill matches the highest public, in-state tuition, you may still have fees and tuition that exceed that amount, especially if you attend graduate school, a private school, or a public university as an out-of-state student.

Enter the Yellow Ribbon Program. Numerous colleges and universities have entered into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to make up a portion or the entire difference in tuition and fees for their school that is not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill rate for that state.

Yellow Ribbon School Requirements: Institutions of Higher Learning enter into voluntary agreements with the VA to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program. Some of the program requirements include:

  • The school must make contributions to students in the forms of scholarships, grants, etc.
  • The school must provide contributions to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis
  • The school must provide contributions each academic year in which the school participates and the student maintains satisfactory progress
  • The school must list the number of eligible individuals for whom they can provide support in each academic year
  • The school must list the total amount that can be contributed to each eligible applicant every academic year

Institutions of Higher Learning who participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program make a financial sacrifice in order to do so. These schools reward servicemembers with a commitment to see veterans and their families realize their educational goals.

Yellow Ribbon Program Eligibility: It is important to remember that only servicemembers who qualify for the maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit rate are eligible for Yellow Ribbon Program funding. Those who are not eligible don't have to give up their educational goals, however. Financial aid and other funding options may be available to help lessen the burden of tuition. Work with a financial aid advisor at your school to find out your options.

How Does the Yellow Ribbon Program Work?

The Yellow Ribbon Program provides servicemembers with the opportunity to cover 100 percent of their tuition and fees during any given academic year. By subtracting what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for tuition and fees in your state under the GI Bill and what the full tuition price of your school is, you arrive at the difference.

Next, figure out how much of that difference, up to one-half, the Institution of Higher Learning has agreed to cover under the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs then matches this amount.

For example, consider what would happen if you register for 12 credits at a private institution that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Say the school charges $400 per credit and $1,000 in fees. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the maximum public school tuition and fees that are charged in that state are $250 per credit and $750 in fees per term.

Based on the number of credits, your tuition and fees would be $5,800. Under the Post-9/11 Bill, you would receive $3,750 in educational benefits. Now, where the Yellow Ribbon Program kicks in:

Applying the Yellow Ribbon Program: In this example, you have $1,800 in unpaid tuition and $250 in unpaid fees, for a total of $2,050 that you'd still owe. If your school chooses to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, it may contribute any amount up to 50 percent of the portion of the tuition that isn't covered by the GI Bill. So if the school decides to contribute $1,025, the Department of Veterans Affairs will then match this contribution, giving you the additional $2,050 you need to have your tuition completely covered at that school.

If the school decides to cover 40 percent of the difference,

  • Tuition: $1,800
  • School Coverage: 40 percent x $1,800 = $720
  • Department of Veterans Affairs match: $720

Total Tuition Supplement: $1,440

  • Fees: $250
  • School coverage: 40 percent x $250 = $100
  • Department of Veterans Affairs match: $100

Total Fees Supplement: $200

By using the Yellow Ribbon Program, your out-of-pocket costs for the term would be $410 for the term.

Be sure to check that your school is a Yellow Ribbon School participant and to inquire with school officials about their application process for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

As you can see by the example, you can benefit greatly from the Yellow Ribbon Program and maximize your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

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This list does not include all schools that accept GI Bill funding or who are participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program or VA Benefits. For a more complete list of schools, click here.

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This list does not include all schools that accept GI Bill funding or who are participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program or VA Benefits. For a more complete list of schools, click here.

Disclaimer: Armystudyguide.com does not guarantee the schools listed above accept GI Bill funding. Please check with the school before enrolling.