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Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program can help you pay for higher out-of-state, private school, or graduate school tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover. Find out if your school takes part in this program.

Am I eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

You may be eligible for this program if you and your school meet the requirements listed below.

You must qualify for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

To qualify, at least one of these must be true. You:

  • Served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service), or
  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • Received a Fry Scholarship on or after August 1, 2018, or
  • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged after 60 days with a service-connected disability, or
  • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a Veteran or a service member who has served for at least 36 months on active duty and qualifies at the 100% level, or
    Find out about transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
  • Are receiving the Fry Scholarship (beginning August 1, 2018)
    Learn more about the Fry Scholarship

Note: At this time, you’re not eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you’re an active-duty service member or the spouse of an active-duty service member. But, as of August 1, 2022, you may become eligible if you’re an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100% level, or the spouse using the transferred benefits of an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100% level.

And your school must meet certain requirements.

All of these must be true. Your school:

  • Offers the Yellow Ribbon Program, and
  • Hasn’t offered the Yellow Ribbon benefit to more than the maximum number of students in their agreement with us, and
  • Has certified your enrollment with us and provided Yellow Ribbon Program information

See the list of schools that offer the Yellow Ribbon Program this year

What benefits can I get through this program?

Money to help pay for the higher cost of tuition at a private school or for attendance as a nonresident student at a public school.

If you qualify, your school will contribute a certain amount toward your extra tuition and fees through a grant, scholarship, or similar program. We’ll match the contribution.

How do I get this benefit?

  1. Apply for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

    Apply for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
    If you qualify for benefits, you’ll get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

  2. Turn in your COE to your school

    Bring your COE to your school’s certifying official, or to the financial aid, military liaison, or other appropriate office. Ask to apply for your school’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

  3. Wait for a decision

    Your school will decide:

    • Whether it has already enrolled the maximum number of students for the program period. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. We have an agreement with each school about how many students they’ll cover each year.
    • How much funding you’ll receive. Your school decides this amount. 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.
  4. Follow up

    You’ll get a notice from your school about whether it has accepted you into the program and how much money you’ll receive for tuition.

Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program

Get answers to other questions you may have about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

How much funding you’ll receive through the program

  • This depends on the school. Schools can choose to offer different amounts to students based on 2 factors:

    • Student status (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral), and
    • Type of school (college or professional)

    For example: A school could provide $1,000 for undergraduates, $1,500 for graduate students, and $2,000 for doctoral students. The school also could provide $1,800 for students in the school of engineering and $2,500 for students in the school of nursing.

  • This depends on the agreement we have with your school.

    Your school’s agreement with us states how much it will contribute and how much we’ll match. This amount makes up all or part of the difference between what the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay and the unmet tuition and fees.

    Here’s how it works:

    Let’s say you’re attending a public school as an out-of-state student.

    The school charges $10,000 per year for in-state tuition and fees, but $16,000 per year for out-of-state tuition and fees.

    We’ll pay the in-state $10,000 cost under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. But you’ll need to pay the extra $6,000 for the out-of-state cost.

    If you qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you can get some or all of that extra amount paid. We’ll match the amount your school contributes to the program. So if your school funds $3,000 of your tuition, we’ll also pay $3,000 to your school, and you’ll be covered for the full amount. If your school funds $2,000 through the Yellow Ribbon Program, we’ll also pay $2,000 to your school, and you’ll need to pay the remaining $2,000.

    Note: Your school’s agreement may also state that they’ll contribute only toward degrees at certain colleges or professional schools, or only for certain degree levels (like undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees).

    Learn more about each school’s agreement

  • No. You don’t have to attend full-time to be in the program.

  • First, we’ll determine how much the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay. We’ll do this by subtracting any financial aid you have that’s designated solely for paying tuition and fees from the total amount your school charges.

    Then, your school’s funding through the Yellow Ribbon Program and our matching contributions can cover part or all of the remaining unmet charges.

  • Yellow Ribbon funds may cover any mandatory (required) fees for your education program.

    Yellow Ribbon and Post-9/11 GI Bill funds won’t cover any fees that aren’t mandatory, such as:

    • Room and board
    • Study abroad (unless your degree program requires the study abroad course)
    • Penalty fees (like fees for late registration, returned checks, or parking fines)
  • Yes, if your school still has Yellow Ribbon funds available for the per-student maximum contribution for the summer term.

How your benefits may change from year to year

  • Not always. We require a new Yellow Ribbon Program agreement each year.

    If your school has an approved agreement with us and continues to participate in the program, they must continue to offer the Yellow Ribbon benefits to you the next year as long as you meet all of the requirements listed below.

    All of these must be true. You:

    • Make acceptable progress toward completing your program (according to your school), and
    • Stay enrolled in the school without a break (following the school’s policy), and
    • Have money left in your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

    Check the status of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

    If you transfer to a different school, your new school needs to offer Yellow Ribbon benefits and accept your application for you to continue in the program. Your first school’s decision doesn’t affect your new school’s decision.

  • No. Even if you stay enrolled, keep progressing in your program, and have money left in your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, your school can choose to offer a different amount each year.

  • Your school must notify you if they plan to stop offering the program.

  • If you take fewer courses, we’ll pay less toward your tuition and fees. Your school will also reduce the amount they pay.

    We base refunds on each school’s refund policy. You’ll need to pay us back for any overpayments we may have made to the school that they don’t refund.

  • If the school still offers the program, they must continue to give you funding as long as you meet all of the requirements listed below.

    All of these must be true. You:

    • Make acceptable progress toward completing your program (according to your school), and
    • Stay enrolled in the school without a break (following the school’s policy), and
    • Have money left in your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

    Check the status of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits