Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Home Education and Training Yellow Ribbon Program

Yellow Ribbon Program

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The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.  This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.  The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution.

The Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) must agree to:

  • Provide contributions to eligible individuals who apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program on a first-come first-served basis, regardless of the rate at which the individual is pursuing training in any given academic year;
  • Provide contributions during the current academic year and all subsequent academic years in which the IHL is participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and the student maintains satisfactory progress, conduct, and attendance;
  • Make contributions toward the program on behalf of the individual in the form of of a grant, scholarship, etc;
  • State the dollar amount that will be contributed for each participant during the academic year;
  • State the maximum number of individuals for whom contributions will be made in any given academic year.

How Does the Yellow Ribbon Program Benefit Me?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. You may have tuition and fees that exceed that amount if you are attending a private institution, graduate school or attending in an out-of-state status.  If you are enrolled at a Yellow Ribbon participating institution and the tuition and fees exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition or fees, additional funds may be available for your education program without an additional charge to your entitlement.

Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed.  VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.

Am I Eligible?

Only individuals entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) may receive this funding.  Therefore, you may be eligible if:

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

How will I Know My School is Participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

You must be enrolled in an approved program offered by an IHL.


When Will Benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program Be Available?

Benefits are payable for training pursued on or after August 1, 2009.  No payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.

How Much Money Will I Receive Under the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Question:  What portion of tuition and fees charges will be considered under the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Answer:  The difference of the amount charged to the student and what has been paid by VA as educational assistance.
The following steps are provided to determine the difference for one student:

    1. Student’s enrolled credit hours reported by the institution to the VA x Maximum Credit Hour Charge for the State = Maximum Tuition Payable
    2. Compare the Maximum Tuition Payable with the amount charged the student. VA will pay the institution the lesser amount
    3. Compare the Maximum Single Term Fees for your State with what you have charged the student.  VA will pay the institution the lesser amount.
    4. Add the amounts VA has paid for tuition and fees and compare that with the total amount charged to the student.  Institution charges that exceed what has already been paid by VA are the difference that could be applied to the Yellow Ribbon Program.
    5. Determine how much of the difference, up to one-half of that amount, that the institution will agree to cover with funds of the institution and the VA will match that amount.

Example: The student enrolled in 12 credit hours during the Fall term and the institution charged the student $5,000 for tuition and $1,200 in fees.  The Maximum Charge Per Credit Hour for the State = $250 and the Maximum Fees for a single term = $1,000:


  1. 12 credit hours x $250 = $3,000 - VA will pay $3,000 of the $5,000 tuition charged
  2. VA will pay $1,000 of the $1,200 fees charged
  3. VA has paid $4,000 of the $6,200 charged the student. $2,200 could be applied to the Yellow Ribbon Program
  4. Your institution can choose to contribute up to $1,100 of this amount and VA will match that contribution.

PLEASE NOTE:  The amounts provided by the States on the corresponding table are preliminary and are not necessarily the amounts for academic year 2009-2010. Also, the amounts used in this example do not relate to any specific State.

Application Procedures

How do I apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Schools that intend to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program will establish application procedures for eligible students.  The school will determine the maximum number of students that may participate in the program and the percent of tuition that will be contributed.  VA is currently accepting agreements from institutions for participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.  You may wish to inquire at your school about their intent to participate and the application procedures they plan to establish for the Yellow Ribbon Program.  Please remember that you must be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100% rate to be considered for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

How Do I Apply for Benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting and processing applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You should complete and submit the application form available online and will receive written notification explaining VA’s decision regarding your eligibility for the program. If you are eligibile, your Certificate of Eligibility will also advise you if your service meets the requirements for the Yellow Ribbon Program.  If your school has volunteered to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, you should take your Certificate of Eligibility to your school and ask your school to certify your enrollment to VA, including Yellow Ribbon.  You cannot certify your participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program directly to the VA.  Your school must report this information on your enrollment certification.

Remember, to receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program:

  • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill;
  • Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Program;
  • Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals stated in their participation agreement;
  • Your school must certify your enrollment to VA, including Yellow Ribbon program information.

For Additional Information

Visit for additional information on the Yellow Ribbon Program or other benefits. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:31  

Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.