Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program provides veterans with enhanced funding for education and training programs, as long as they qualify to receive full GI Bill benefits. These qualifying veterans include military members with a minimum of 36 months active duty service.

However, full-benefit veterans can only obtain these benefits if they enroll in a school that voluntarily participates in the program. For instance, a variety of Yellow Ribbon schools are available throughout the U.S., including most major universities.

Moreover, Yellow Ribbon benefits vary by school and division. At the University of Minnesota -Crookston, Duluth and Morris, for instance, qualifying students receive an annual maximum benefit amount of $1,000. At the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis, however, veterans receive an unlimited amount of annual benefits. To learn more about the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon program, review the information below.

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

Yellow Ribbon beneficiaries receive enhanced education and training benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill (also known as the GI Education Enhancement Program). As a program of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, higher learning institutions enter into agreements with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover the additional education expenses of post-service military members who wish to enroll in school. Schools may include Yellow Ribbon colleges, universities and other higher learning institutions that administer degrees.

As part of the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, veterans receive funding from schools that participate in the program, in addition to their regular GI bill benefits. However, a Yellow Ribbon scholarship can help veterans to pay for any tuition amounts or fees that the GI Bill does not cover. While the GI Bill covers the cost of college tuition and other training or licensing expenses, veterans who qualify for the maximum benefit rate may obtain additional funding for their education if they enroll in a participating school. Ex-servicemembers may use these benefits during the summer months, and they do not need to enroll in a full-time education program to qualify. If students reduce their course load after qualifying for benefits, however, their allowance will lower.

Related Article: Montgomery GI Bill

For additional information about these benefits, applicants may contact the VA’s Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551. The Call Center is available between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Who is eligible for these GI Bill Yellow Ribbon benefits?

To obtain Yellow Ribbon benefits, veterans must qualify to receive the maximum amount of funding under the Post -/11 GI Bill, as this program is not available to all beneficiaries of the GI Bill. Additional VA Yellow Ribbon eligibility requirements may include applicants such as:

  • Veterans who qualify for the full GI Bill benefit rate. These include beneficiaries of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship.
  • Former military members who served at least 36 months of active duty service.
  • Honorably-discharged Purple Heart recipients, regardless of how long they served.
  • Veterans with disabilities who served at least 30 consecutive days of active duty after September 10, 2001. Additionally, these veterans must have separated from the military after 60 days due to a service-related disability.
  • Children or dependents who qualify to receive a parent’s GI Benefits. However, veterans must obtain approval from the VA before they may transfer these benefits to a dependent. Then, the dependent must apply through the VA.
  • Transferee spouses who qualify to receive the GI Bill benefits of a servicemember who qualifies for the maximum benefit amount.

Note: Beginning August 1, 2022, these Yellow Ribbon GI benefits will not be available to active duty military members or their spouses.

Furthermore, veterans must attend a Yellow Ribbon school that chooses to participate in the program, and the learning institution may not offer these benefits to more students than agreed upon. At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, for instance, this scholarship is only available to 50 undergraduate students per year. At the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Duluth and Morris, this program is limited to 10 undergraduate or graduate students per year. However, Yellow Ribbon Program benefits are available to an unlimited number of students at the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis.

Related Article: Forever GI Bill

Recipients may not be automatically eligible for benefits each year due to many factors. For example, a beneficiary may no longer meet enrollment standards. Current enrollment in the program at one school does not impact the decision of another school if a veteran wants to transfer to another school offering Yellow Ribbon benefits.

How to Apply for a Yellow Ribbon Scholarship

To enroll in the VA Yellow Ribbon Program, students must apply directly through their school. To get started, veterans must contact their school’s certifying official to obtain additional application information. If the school accepts students into the program, the certifying official will notify them and provide them with their annual maximum benefit amount. Once that is complete, the school official will certify the enrollment with the VA.

Moreover, VA Yellow Ribbon Program benefits are available on a first-come first-serve basis, as some schools only grant these benefits to a handful of students. Additionally, students are not guaranteed automatic program eligibility for any subsequent year, as the school may discontinue its participation in the future. If a school discontinues its participation in the program, however, it must notify its students.

To find out which Yellow Ribbon colleges are available, veterans may obtain a current map of participating states through the website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). After selecting the state in which their school is located, they will find a list of participating colleges. If their school has a maximum contribution amount, they will be able to view this information as well.

To learn more about possible Yellow Ribbon Program contribution amounts, applicants may refer to the following table for specific information from several participating schools.


School Maximum Annual Benefit Amount
Arizona State University – Tempe $8,425 per undergraduate;

$9,103 per graduate

Cambridge – Cambridge $6,000 per undergraduate;

$18,000 per business graduate of all degree levels

Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge $15,000 per Sloan School of Management graduate; $25,000 per graduate of the Center for Real Estate


North Dakota State University – Fargo Unlimited for any degree level
University of Southern California – Los Angeles Unlimited for all undergraduate degrees; $10,000 for most graduate programs
Gulf Coast State College – Panama City $47,000 for all undergraduate programs


Related Article: Transition Assistance Program

It might also interest you: