An Introduction to the Yellow Ribbon Program and Yellow Ribbon Schools
As a current or former member of the Army, you have an array of education benefits available to you and your family. One that can be a significant help in paying for college is the Yellow Ribbon Program, a Post-9/11 GI Bill provision. The Yellow Ribbon Program is a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and participating colleges to provide extra funds for eligible Army personnel.
What Is the Yellow Ribbon Program?The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps current or former members of the Army and other armed forces attend college for a reduced cost or for free. The program, in conjunction with the GI Bill, can provide up to 100 percent of the tuition, fees, and other education costs associated with earning a degree. The maximum benefit you can receive under the new GI Bill is equal to the tuition and fees at the most expensive public college in your state. This does not mean you must attend a public school, and the Yellow Ribbon Program can help you to make up the remainder of the costs if you decide to attend a private school, go out of state, or attend an online school participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program. How it works is that Yellow Ribbon schools commit to paying up to 50 percent of the tuition that isn't covered by the GI Bill. The VA then matches the school, dollar for dollar, up to 100 percent of the remaining tuition and fees.
Yellow Ribbon Program Eligibility RequirementsYou must be eligible for the maximum military benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill to qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. As an active, reserve, or veteran member of the Army, you may be eligible for maximum benefits if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You served on active duty for a minimum of three years starting on or after September 11, 2001
- You served for at least 30 days after September 10, 2001 and received an honorable discharge due to a service-related injury or disability
What Does the Yellow Ribbon Program Offer Veterans?The Yellow Ribbon Program might be especially useful if you choose to:
- Earn a degree at a private school, including online schools
- Attend college out of state
- Pursue a graduate degree
The costs incurred by the above school options can often exceed the maximum available benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Yellow Ribbon Program was designed to help you meet the additional funding needs for your education. Yellow Ribbon schools usually make their contributions to the program in the form of grants, scholarships, and other types of financial aid that do not have to be repaid.