The Yellow Ribbon Program is an agreement between participating schools and the Department of Veterans Affairs, designed to expand financial aid available for veterans who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
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Schools and VA Join Together in the New GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Pact

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By August 2009, more than 1,100 colleges, universities and schools across the country were already wearing the Yellow Ribbon. Is your school one of them?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is an agreement between participating schools and the Department of Veterans Affairs, designed to expand financial aid available for veterans who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

And it's already gaining high marks with military servicemembers who see the benefits of using their GI Bill during active duty, and those who start a full-time education after their military service. By August 2009, more than 3,400 agreements were received by the VA for military students enrolled in those 1,100 colleges, universities and schools in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

WHAT IS THE 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 whereby institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) can voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses for military servicemembers whose educational costs exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The educational institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match this amount through Yellow Ribbon funding.

Essentially, the Yellow Ribbon Program is a way for US colleges and the Department of Veterans affairs to work together for the maximum benefit of military servicemembers who qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As a team, US colleges and the VA apply the Yellow Ribbon to help with the many challenges military students face; and this solution can cover full tuition costs, even at private schools whose costs exceed those of public, in-state schools.

WHY IS THE YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM NEEDED?

While the new GI Bill provides expanded educational support, it may still not be enough to cover a full education at an institution of higher learning - especially a private college or university whose costs are higher than public universities.

The new GI Bill provides tuition for the highest public in-state rate, but if you are a military veteran attending a private institution, graduate school, or enrolled with out-of-state status, your educational fees can easily exceed your Post 9/11 GI Bill aid.

The new GI Bill funds tuition up to the level of the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The Yellow Ribbon allows the school and the VA to match tuition expenses that exceed the state rate, with the educational institution contributing up to 50 percent of those expenses.

USE THE YELLOW RIBBON TO MAKE COLLEGE BILLS OBSOLETE

If you are attending a Yellow Ribbon participating school, you may be eligible to receive full coverage of your tuition costs. And since your Yellow Ribbon tuition and fee benefit is paid directly to the school, you may never have to see another college bill again.

The Yellow Ribbon program covers payments for tuition and fees, housing, plus a stipend for books and supplies. In effect, the Yellow Ribbon program may cover the entire costs of your education, making this new Yellow Ribbon benefit the last piece in providing the most complete support for your GI Bill education.

In this example, the military servicemember attending college is applying a combination of his or her Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and the Yellow Ribbon Program:

For 12 credit hours in the fall term, the college cost is $5,000 plus $1,200 in fees. The new GI Bill allows the maximum charge per credit hour for the state is $250 and fees of $1,000. Applying Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, the VA would pay $3,000 of the $5,000 tuition and $1,000 of the $1,200 fees.

Now, instead of the cost burden falling on the military service member, the remaining $2,200 could then be applied to the Yellow Ribbon Program. The educational institution may pay up to $1,100 of this amount and the VA would match that contribution.

CAN I WEAR THE YELLOW RIBBON?

Only those military servicemembers who qualify for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

This means you have served a minimum 36 months on active duty or served 30 continuous days before receiving an honorable discharge, all after September 10th, 2001.

You are also a candidate for the Yellow Ribbon program if you are a dependent eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Entitlement.



Make sure that your school has agreed to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, and that they have not already offered the program to their maximum number of military participants...apply for your Yellow Ribbon early! Remember, you cannot apply directly to the VA; you must apply for the Yellow Ribbon through your participating school.



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