The Yellow Ribbon Program is financial aid for veteran students needing additional funding for the higher out-of-state, private school, foreign school or graduate school tuition and fees that the GI Bill doesn’t cover. The Yellow Ribbon Program is only available through the vast network of Yellow Ribbon-certified schools.
Am I eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you must qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100 percent benefit level. You must also have a service record that matches one of the following descriptions:
- You served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) and were honorably discharged.
- You served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability.
- You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service.
- You’re a dependent child using benefits transferred by a veteran.
- You’re a Fry Scholar.
Starting August 1, 2022, you may become eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program if you’re currently an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100 percent level (you already served on active duty for at least 36 months) or if you’re a spouse using the transferred benefits of an active-duty service member who meets these qualifications.
Is my school eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
To receive the benefits of the Yellow Ribbon Program, your school must offer the program. If you are attending an institution that does not offer the program, you will not be able to receive Yellow Ribbon aid. Schools offering the Yellow Ribbon Program must be an institution of higher learning, certify your enrollment with the program and maintain the maximum number of students agreed upon for the benefit.
What benefits can I get through this program?
Money received through the Yellow Ribbon Program can cover additional fees that come with attending private, foreign or out-of-state institutions. If you qualify, your school will contribute a certain amount toward your extra tuition and fees through a grant, scholarship or similar program. The Yellow Ribbon Program will then match this contribution.
The program does not cover non-mandatory expenses such as room and board, penalty fees or study abroad programs not required for degree completion.
How do I begin receiving Yellow Ribbon school benefits?
After applying for your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and receiving your Certificate of Eligibility, you will need to turn in your certificate to your school’s certifying official or the financial aid, military liaison or other appropriate offices. Ask to apply for your school’s Yellow Ribbon Program.
From there, your school will determine your acceptance and funding amount. Each school has a different capacity limit as agreed upon with the Department of Defense. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis and has a maximum number of students that can be enrolled.
Your school will decide how much funding you will receive should you be accepted. They’ll add up tuition and mandatory fees, then subtract any aid you’ve received from other sources — such as scholarships, grants and your Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payment. Your school will apply the Yellow Ribbon Program benefit to this final amount.
To learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program and its qualifications and determine if your school participates, visit va.gov/education/yellow-ribbon-participating-schools.
Source: Department of Veteran Affairs