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.

Key Elements of the Yellow Ribbon Program

You are eligible to receive the Yellow Ribbon Program benefit if you:

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

To receive the Yellow Ribbon Progam benefits you must also be enrolled in an approved program offered by an institution of higher learning that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Post 9/11 GI Core Benefit

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is designed to cover the cost of the most expensive public undergraduate tuition and fees for veterans serving 36 months active duty after September 11, 2001. The core benefit, for those 100-percent eligible, is as follows:

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. For those attending private institutions, tuition and fees are capped at $20,235.02 and are paid directly to the school.
  • A monthly housing allowance, equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents in the same zip code as your school, is paid directly to you.
  • An annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.

The benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits.

Full benefits are available only to veterans who have served at least 36 months. Veterans who have served for as little as 90 days qualify for a reduced benefit equal to 40 percent of the maximum benefit. Disabled veterans with at least 30 days service are eligible for the full benefit. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are not eligible for the benefit.

Tuition and fees are paid directly to the institution of higher education; the book and housing allowances are paid directly to the veteran.

The core benefit is available to all veterans who meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of whether the institution of higher education they are attending is participating in the Yellow Ribbon, or supplemental, benefit. If the veteran is not eligible for the full entitlement (for example, he or she is honorably discharged prior to 36 months of service), he or she may receive a proportional amount of the core benefit but not the Yellow Ribbon supplement.