GI Bill graduation cap

Education Benefits for Veterans

The centerpiece of armed services educational benefits is the GI Bill which encompasses several Department of Veterans Affairs education programs including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, The Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty and Veterans (MGIB-AD), Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR),the Fry Scholarship, the Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance (DEA), and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program. Veterans  may be eligible for more than one educational benefit. Knowing when each is best in each situation can save money and ensure getting the most out of available benefits. Finally, remember that each branch of service has its own tuition assistance programs, college funds and other means that may be able to help you in ways beyond those of the “standard” benefits listed here. Talk with an Education Service Officer, Navy College counselor or military recruiter to find out more.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months (4 regular school years) of education benefits to eligible servicemembers and veterans for:

  • College
  • Business Technical or Vocational Courses
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Apprenticeship/Job Training
  • Flight Training
  • Licensing & Testing Programs

Servicemembers (Active Duty, Guard and Reserve) and Veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty since 9/10/2001 are eligible. Survivors of military members who died on active duty after 9/10/2011 may be eligible for the Fry Scholarship Program which pays the same as Post-9/11 GI Bill. Tuition and fees, housing and book stipends are covered through this program. Benefits are tiered based on the number of days on active duty. Some limitations apply to those currently on active duty.

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program was established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 and helps eligible veterans attend private schools at little or no cost. This program allows institutions of higher learning (such as colleges, universities, and other degree-granting schools) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the tuition and fee amounts payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.. Typically limited to a national maximum allowed by law, the institution can contribute a specified dollar amount of those expenses, and VA will match the contribution, not to exceed 50% of the difference.  Currently, for the 2019-2020 academic year,  the national maximum amount is $24,476.79. To receive the Yellow Ribbon Program benefits you must be enrolled in an approved program offered by an institution of higher learning that participates in the program.

For example, if tuition costs are $45,000 and the school waives $10,000 of the tuition, the VA will match that for a total of $20,000 plus the Post-9/11 GI Bill that would pay the $22,805.34. The veteran would be responsible for only about $2,100 of the tuition for the year.

Who is Eligible?

Those who served at least 36 months of active duty (either all at once or with breaks in between)  after September 11, 2001,and were honorably discharged. Veterans who received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001 and were honorably discharged after any amount of service. Those who received a Fry Scholarship on or after August 1, 2018.  Those discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 11, 2001.Dependents who received benefits transferred from an eligible Service Member who meets the above criteria at the 100% level.

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.

Yellow Ribbon Schools 2019-2020

Each year on August 1st the Veterans Administration announces the following academic year’s participating institutions. You can search for Yellow Ribbon Program schools on the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.

 

What to Know about the Yellow Ribbon Program

Waiver amounts can vary based on the program or area of study within the school. For example, agreements could mean that the school allocates $2,000 for undergraduates and $4,000 for graduate students.Institutions must renew their participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program each year, therefore, participants should not assume guaranteed continuation from academic year to academic year. Other deciding factors of continuation of funds given are academic progress and grade point averages, continuous enrollment in the chosen program of study and qualifying entitlement under the Post 9/11- GI Bill. It is not mandatory to attend the college or university full-time to receive funds.

Before applying for the Yellow Ribbon program be sure of maximum eligibility status for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The VA, upon request, can provide a Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate is a requirement during the application process with the chosen Yellow Ribbon school and it is best to have acquired it before beginning the application process.

Using The GI Bill with Yellow Ribbon Schools

The Yellow Ribbon Program helps students pay for higher out-of state, private, or graduate school tuition not covered by the GI Bill. While these programs (nor other tuition assistance programs) cannot be combined together, they may be used in sequence to cover additional years of higher learning. Be sure to check with each institution for restrictions and requirements and the VA for the best way to meet your financial needs.

Useful Tools

TA DECIDE: a newer Department of Defense tool, allows you to compare information about educational institutions and costs.  https://www.dodmou.com/TADECIDE

GI Bill® Comparison Tool: compares Veterans Affairs-approved institutions and reviews other information to assist with choosing an education program to fit your needs. https://www.va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/