Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. It is designed to help pay for up to 100% of a student's out-of-pocket tuition and education expenses that exceed the Post-9/11 GI Bill tuition benefit, which only pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition expense.

More than 1,100 U.S. Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) colleges and universities participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Participating colleges have an agreement with the VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. Under the agreement, participating schools can waive up to 50% of those expenses, and the VA matches that amount.

Yellow Ribbon Program Eligibility:

To qualify to receive Yellow Ribbon benefits, you must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate (100%) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (based on service requirements).Therefore, you may be eligible if you:

  • Have served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months;
  • Were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; or
  • Are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran's service, according to the eligibility criteria listed above.

Additionally, students must be enrolled in an approved program offered by a participating college or university.

Colleges and universities that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program enter an agreement with the VA to:

  • Provide benefits to eligible individuals who apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of the rate at which the student is pursuing training in any given academic year;
  • Make contributions toward the program on behalf of the student in the form of a waiver;
  • Choose a percentage to be waived and waive that same percentage (up to 50%) of established charges that exceed the in-state maximum for each eligible student; and
  • State the maximum number of students that will receive this benefit in any given academic year and not offer Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals stated.

Click here to learn if your college participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Applying for the Yellow Ribbon Program:

  1. Apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill by completing VA Form 22-1990 and submitting it to the Department of Veterans Affairs for processing. If you are eligible for 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit, the Certificate of Eligibility you receive from the VA will tell you whether your service meets the Yellow Ribbon Program requirements.
  2. If you are deemed eligible, determine if your college or university participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. (You can use the link above to check your school's participation.) Note: Before enrolling at a particular college, you may want to determine if the school participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to help ensure that you'll be able to apply for this valuable benefit if you meet eligibility requirements.
  3. If your school participates, take your certificate of eligibility to the financial aid office and ask them to certify your enrollment to the VA, including Yellow Ribbon. Note: The college or university must certify your enrollment to the VA; you may not do so yourself.

Click here for more information about the Yellow Ribbon Program.