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What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Image of a yellow criss-cross ribbon over the words 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 Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.

The institution can waive up to 50% of those expenses and Veterans Affairs will match the same amount as the institution.

The Institution of Higher Learning 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 student maintains satisfactory progress, conduct and attendance.
  • Make contributions toward the program on behalf of the individual in the form of a waiver.
  • Choose the percentage that will be waived and waive the same percentage (up to 50%) of established charges that exceed the in-state maximum for each student eligible.
  • State the maximum number of individuals for whom contributions will be made in any given academic year.

How does the Yellow Ribbon Program benefit the student?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition. The student's tuition and fees may exceed that amount if they are attending a private institution, graduate school or attending in a non-resident status. If they are enrolled at a Yellow Ribbon participating institution and the tuition and fees exceed the annual cap set by the VA, funds may be available for their education program without an additional charge to their entitlement.

Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with Veterans Affairs choose the percentage of tuition and fees that will be waived. Veterans Affairs will match that percentage and issue payment directly to the institution.

Who is eligible?

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

  • They served an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, of at least 36 months.
  • They were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and they served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • They 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.

When will benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program be available?

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

For more information

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