Veterans deserve to choose the educational program of their choice without having the prospect of costly tuition fees dictate that decision. However, while public colleges are fully covered by the GI Bill, private colleges are only covered partially, and though this amount changes from year to year, the tuition and fees at these universities are rarely fully covered. If you are a Veteran looking to attend a private institution, you may want to consider a school that falls under the Yellow Ribbon Program to help further finance your education.
What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision offered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill that can further assist Veteran students looking to attend private colleges at little to no cost. Private colleges that participate in the program agree to waive a portion of the tuition that is left uncovered by GI Bill benefits. That amount is then matched by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to bring down the cost even more.
Since schools voluntarily offer the program, there may be certain restrictions, such as how many students can take advantage of the program per year, which degree programs and levels are covered, and how much the school is willing to provide. There are also certain limits on who is covered under the program. To qualify for Yellow Ribbon benefits, you must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which includes one of the following criteria:
- Having served at least 36 months on active duty
- Received a Purple Heart with honorable discharge
- Served at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability
- Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a Veteran or a Servicemember who meets the above criteria
To find out more about the Yellow Ribbon Program, including what schools participate, check-out the VA’s website.