If you are not familiar with it, the Yellow Ribbon Program is a unique Post 9/11 GI Bill feature that allows colleges and universities to enter into tuition-funding agreements with the Veterans Administration (VA). In these agreements, each school identifies:
– what percentage of the tuition difference they wish to contribute; they can go up to 50%;
– which programs are included; both undergraduate and graduate programs or only undergraduate;
– their annual funded maximum amount per student;
– the number of students annually accepted into the program.
The VA then agrees to pay an equal amount. Normally, for the students needing to use the Yellow Ribbon program, this leaves very little out-of-pocket costs left for them to pay.
While the Yellow Ribbon Program is a great way to maximize GI Bill benefits, it is not available to all individuals using the New GI Bill; only those at the 100% tier level may participate.
The Yellow Ribbon Program Advantage
The Yellow Ribbon Program is most beneficial if you attend:
– private school;
– graduate school;
– or pay out-of-state tuition.
Be sure to ask your school which programs are covered by their agreement and at what percentages. Under these high-tuition situations, this program can be a great financial boost with no additional reduction in entitlements.
The Yellow Ribbon Program in Dollars and Cents
Let’s briefly look at what the Yellow Ribbon Program is worth in dollars and cents. For our example, let’s say you are enrolled in a Yellow Ribbon private school and taking 12 credits per semester. Tuition and fees costs $20,000 per year.
Right now the VA will pay a maximum of $17,500 per year to attend a private school. So without the Yellow Ribbon program, you would have to pay the remaining $2,500. But if your school has a stated 50% figure in their agreement with the VA, they would waive $1,250 of the difference and the VA would pay the remaining $1,250. Sweet, right?!
If you are a financially struggling student (and who isn’t these days), the Yellow Ribbon Program can be your financial holy grail. It is a great way to keep your education costs down to a minimum.