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How Long Does It Take to Get a Post 9/11 GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility?

Q: I am retired but have transferred my Post 9/11 GI Bill to my son – 100%, 36 months. My son will be submitting the transfer of entitlement benefits to VA when he turns 18 on January 2012. How long will it take to receive the certificate to submit to the university? I am concerned due to the slow VA process that we will not have the paperwork available for the school to approve him for the yellow ribbon program in April. He will be starting college in fall 2012.My second question is ” Does the 36 months mean he will be covered for at least four academic years of tuition (8 semesters of four months/semester).

A: It can take up to 10 weeks to get his Certificate of Eligibility (COE), so if he applies for his COE right after his 18th birthday, he should have it by April in time to apply for his school’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

As you know, each school having a Yellow Ribbon Agreement states in that agreement how many students they will accept into the program, the percentage they will pay and the programs that are included in their agreement, so registering as soon as he has his certificate is probably a good move.

If your son will be going to a public school in his state of residency, he won’t need the Yellow Ribbon Program as all his tuition and applicable fees will be paid in full. However, if he will be paying out-state tuition, or attending a private school, the Yellow Ribbon Program will help pay what the Post 9/11 GI Bill will not. Under the new rules, the VA will only pay up to $17,500 per year to attend a private school.

With the Yellow Ribbon agreement, a school can pay up to 50% of the difference between what the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays and what the school charges. The VA will pay an equal amount. This leaves little to nothing left for him to pay.

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