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The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon program is specifically meant for veterans and eligible dependents that use or want to use the Post-9/11 Gi Bill. (Eligibility requirements are listed below!)

We have a brief description about the program on our blog / forum for the Basics of the Post-9/11 but this will be our main blog for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The Yellow Ribbon program is often forgotten about and can also be the determining factor on why you end up choosing a specific college.

The 5 sections here will be:

  1. What is the yellow ribbon program?

  2. Eligibility requirements

  3. How to apply

  4. School requirements

  5. What is NOT covered


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What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon program is an additional resource meant to be used with the Post-9/11 Gi-Bill and is in place to assist veterans and others eligible with tuition at private, higher out-of-state (public) school, and graduate school.

When attending a private school under the Post-9/11, there are limitations and big determining factors that help your decision making process, including tuition. As of December 2020, the allotted tuition for private and foreign schools under the Post-9/11 per academic year 25,162$. Public school tuition is completely covered (so long as you attend the classes).

Pro Tip: Make sure your desired school not only has the Yellow Ribbon program but make sure you ask how much they will pay on top of your tuition if you pass the cap and how to use it.

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.

When you use the Post-9/11 Gi Bill at your school, if the school is not an in-state public school, you will possibly go over the amount that the VA has set. If this happens you have a few options like scholarships, grants, loans, and paying out of pocket. One option you may be eligible for is is the Yellow Ribbon program.

The Yellow Ribbon program is where the school and the VA partner together to split the costs of the remainder of your tuition.


You and your school need to qualify for the program in order for you to use it.

To see if your school qualifies, you can look it up through the gi-bill comparison tool (an all in one tool) or you can use another tool called the “find a yellow ribbon school”

Do not count on this program unless you check all of the boxes for it. We have listed some of the qualifiers below as well as what the yellow ribbon covers.


Eligibility Requirements for Applicant

  • “Served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service)

  • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, 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”

This information was pulled directly from the VA’s website on 12/29/2020. (Yellow Ribbon Program | Veterans Affairs, 2020)

Active duty military and active duty spouses may also not receive 100% of this benefit. Be sure to ask your school what their agreed terms with the VA are.

Side note: If your school is not confident, or your school has no idea what you are talking about, there is probably a good reason for this and it may be something for you to consider as well.


How to Apply

  1. “Apply for post 9/11 GI benefits

  2. Turn in your COE (certificate of eligibility to your school (ask to apply to yellow ribbon program)

  3. Wait for decision. First come first serve basis! Your school decides the amount you are approved for based on if you are using other assistance programs. (grants,scholarships..ect)”

This information was pulled directly from the VA’s website on 12/29/2020. (Yellow Ribbon Program | Veterans Affairs, 2020)

The first two steps are not time consuming at all so don’t be scared!

Some schools offer the Yellow Ribbon Program to all who are eligible which is great!

You also don’t have to be a full time student to use this program either!

School Requirements

  • “Is an institution of higher learning

  • Offers the Yellow Ribbon Program

  • Hasn’t offered the Yellow Ribbon benefit to more than the maximum number of students in their agreement with the VA

  • Has certified your enrollment with the VA and provided Yellow Ribbon Program information”

This information was pulled directly from the VA’s website on 12/29/2020. (Yellow Ribbon Program | Veterans Affairs, 2020)

The Yellow Ribbon Program will cover any fees that are mandatory for your education program

What is NOT covered

The Yellow Ribbon Program will not cover “Fees that aren’t mandatory, such as:

  • Room and Board (living on campus)

  • Study Abroad

  • Penalty fees (parking fees, late registration, etc.)”

This information was pulled directly from the VA’s website on 12/29/2020. (Yellow Ribbon Program | Veterans Affairs, 2020)

Some Important Final Notes:

  • Things change, stay up to date each year.

  • This program can cover 10's of thousands in tuition per year on top of what the Post-9/11 covers. Don't forget to ask your school!

  • If you transfer to another school, you will have to requalify to your new schools standards.

Do you like the length of the post? Was it informative? Did we meet your expectations? What topics would you like to see in the future? Would you prefer to watch a video on this topic? What other questions do you have about the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Veterans Affairs. 2020. Yellow Ribbon Program | Veterans Affairs. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 December 2020].

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