The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed either the annual maximum cap for private institutions or the resident tuition and fees for a public institution.
The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses, and VA will match the same amount as the institution.
To view a list of the Department of Veterans Affairs schools on College Recon, Click here.
Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon FAQs
What is the Yellow Ribbon Program? How will it benefit me?
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the law that created the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Yellow Ribbon Program is available for Institutions of Higher Learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States or at a branch of such institution located outside the United States. The program allows approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
If I am eligible for the Post‐9/11 GI Bill, am I automatically eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
No. Only Veterans (or dependents under Transfer of Entitlement) at the 100 percent benefit level qualify. Active duty members and spouses thereof are not eligible for this program. In addition, the institution must be approved to participate in the program, and you must apply to the school.
How do I know whether the school I want to attend participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program?
More information about the program and the lists of participating Yellow Ribbon schools are posted on the GI Bill website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/yellow_ribbon.asp
If the school I plan to attend participates in the program, can I count on being in the program?
No. The school’s agreement with the VA may limit the number of participants in the program and is determined on a first-come, first-served basis. You must apply to the school. The school will notify each student accepted into the Yellow Ribbon Program.
If the school I plan to attend participates in the program, do all participants receive the same amount of Yellow Ribbon Program benefits?
Not necessarily. Schools have the flexibility to designate the number of students and contributions based on student status (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) and college or professional school. For example, the school could specify $1,000 for undergraduates, $1,500 for graduate students and $2,000 for doctoral students. The school also could specify $1,800 for students in the school of engineering and $2,500 for students in the school of nursing.
If I participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program this year, will I automatically be in the program next year?
Not necessarily. Yellow Ribbon Program agreements must be in effect for each year. A school with an approved agreement with VA must continue to offer it to you in subsequent years as long as the following conditions apply:
- The school continues to participate in the program
- You maintain satisfactory progress towards completion of your program
- You remain continuously enrolled (per school’s policy)
- You have remaining entitlement under the Post‐9/11 GI Bill
If you transfer to another school, the new school would have to participate in the program and accept your application; the first school’s decision has no bearing on the second school.
If I participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program this year, will I automatically be guaranteed the same matching contributions from the school and VA for subsequent years (provided the above conditions still apply)?
No. The school may choose to contribute a different amount for subsequent years.
Will all of my tuition and fees be paid for if my school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program?
Not necessarily. The school’s agreement with the VA specifies an amount the school will contribute (and VA will match) to make up all or part of the difference between what the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay and the unmet tuition and fees charges. In addition, the school’s agreement with the VA may specify only certain colleges and/or professional schools, and/or undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level programs. The list of schools on the website will include specific information on each school’s agreement with VA.
What happens when a portion of my tuition and fees is already met through state or institutional waivers?
The amount of tuition and fees charged, minus any aid specifically designated for the sole purpose of defraying tuition and fees, will be used to determine the amount payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The unmet charges may be covered in part or entirely through equal Yellow Ribbon Program contributions from the school and VA.
What fees will be covered by Yellow Ribbon Program funds?
All mandatory fees for a student’s program of education may be included. Any fees that are not mandatory, such as room and board, study abroad (unless the study abroad course is a requirement for the degree program), and penalty fees (such as late registration, return check fees, and parking fines) cannot be included. These fees are not payable under the Yellow Ribbon Program or under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Do I have to attend full time to be in the Yellow Ribbon Program?
No. You do not have to attend full time.
How will I know for sure that I am eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program? What is the process to apply?
If you submit an application for the Post-9/11 GI Bill to VA and are eligible at the 100 percent benefit level, VA will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility advising you are potentially eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. You should provide your Certificate of Eligibility to the school, which in turn will determine if there are slots available for the Yellow Ribbon Program (based on its agreement with the VA).
If your school has already sent us an enrollment certification, and it is processed at the same time as your application, your award letter will also display your benefit level. The school is responsible for notifying you whether or not you are accepted and approved for the Yellow Ribbon Program. The school then submits an enrollment form to VA, certifying information that is used to make payment to the school for tuition and fees and for Yellow Ribbon Program payments.
How would I know if the school I am attending would discontinue its participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program for subsequent years?
The school must inform its students of discontinued participation.
Can I receive Yellow Ribbon Program funds for the summer term?
Yes, if the school still has Yellow Ribbon Program funds available for the per‐student maximum contribution for summer term.
If I reduce my course load, how will my payments change?
The contributions from the school and VA would be reduced. Refunds are based on the school’s refund policy, and you would be liable to VA for any resulting overpayments.
If I leave my school but return after a semester, am I still approved for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
The school must continue to offer the Yellow Ribbon Program to you provided that the school continues to participate in the program, you maintain satisfactory progress, and you remain continuously enrolled. The definition of continuous enrollment is dictated by the school’s policy and determines your continued eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program.