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Can I Use the Post 9/11 GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Feature After We Are Divorced?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my husband and I may be getting a divorce and he is still active duty. He has transferred all 36 months of his Post 9/11 GI Bill to me. The school I am interested in attending is a Yellow Ribbon school. According to the VA website, active duty spouses cannot participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Would I still fall under that once we are divorced? It’s for law school, and it would make a tremendous difference whether or not I could utilize the Yellow Ribbon Program. Also, would all of the other benefits (housing allowance, etc.) kick in if I was no longer an active duty spouse but still using the benefits while he, the sponsor is active duty? Thank you!

A: It looks like you have done your research. As you know, all you get as an active duty spouse is your tuition/eligible fees paid for by the VA directly to your school and a book stipend of $41.67 per credit once per semester. The reason of course why you don’t also get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance is because your hubby is drawing BAH with dependents instead of single. If you would also get the housing allowance, that would in essence be double-dipping or paying you twice for the same thing.

But once that active duty spouse stigma is removed after the divorce, and DEERS is updated to show you are no longer married to your sponsor, then you could draw the monthly housing allowance, qualify to use the Yellow Ribbon program, etc. – just like any other Post 9/11 GI Bill student.

Yes, the Yellow Ribbon program can be quite a boon to the student that:
• Pays out-state tuition
• Is in graduate school
• Attends a private school.

Law school would fall under the graduate school and maybe even private school depending on which school you attend. Please heed a word of caution though – just because your school is Yellow Ribbon, not all of their training programs may be covered under the program. Ask first before enrolling to be sure law school is included in their Yellow Ribbon agreement, at what percentage, annual monetary limit, how many students they accept into the YR program, etc.

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