How to Use the Yellow Ribbon Program to Cover Tuition at Top Universities

How to Use the Yellow Ribbon Program to Cover Tuition at Top Universities

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By Daniel Slattery, MOAA Member Service Center

The tuitions of out-of-state public universities and private schools might look unaffordable to many military members seeking to advance their education. However, the Yellow Ribbon Program helps take some of the financial burden off students.

The Yellow Ribbon Program provides tuition assistance for an out-of-state school or a private school to eligible servicemembers. The VA will match the contribution the school provides through the program. In other words, any amount that can be contributed by the school will be doubled because of the VA's matching contribution.

Criteria for the Yellow Ribbon Program differ from general qualifications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. To qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you must have served 36 months of active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001. You also may qualify if you received an honorable discharge due to a service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001. These criteria ensure you receive 100 percent of the benefits that are associated with the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Additional information about the program and a full list of schools that offered the program for the 2017-18 school year can be found on the VA's website.

Several top universities in the country participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, with some contributing significant amounts to students to help relieve the financial stress that comes with attending college. Here are just some of the schools that offer the Yellow Ribbon Program for their undergraduate and graduate schools:

George Washington University

Right in the heart of Washington, D.C., George Washington University offers large contributions to all of its undergraduate and graduate programs. Since the tuition for George Washington increased to $55,140 for the 2018-19 school year, it might seem too expensive to attend. However, the school offers up to $22,500 for its undergraduate programs, up to $17,680 for the School of Law, and up to $14,000 for their other graduate programs.

New York University

New York University (NYU) is one of the most highly attended private schools in the country, with almost 60,000 students enrolled in the fall of 2017. Being in New York City, it can cost a lot of money to both live and go to school there. In an effort to make it more affordable for military personnel, NYU contributes a substantial amount to the tuition of students whom it accepts into the Yellow Ribbon Program. The tuition for NYU's undergraduate program in 2018-19 school year is $51,828. For the 2017-18 school year, NYU contributed up to $10,000 through the Yellow Ribbon Program for undergraduate students. NYU's graduate programs are no exception for the program, with the largest contribution being up to $20,000 for the New York University School of Law.

Stanford University

Stanford University, in California, is one of the most prestigious schools in the country. And like many schools of its caliber, the tuition is very expensive. The cost of attending Stanford for the 2018-19 school year is $50,703. Luckily, Stanford is a proud supporter of the Yellow Ribbon Program, and they offer up to $10,000 for their undergraduate program and varying amounts for graduate programs. They have an online Net Price Calculator for students to determine how much they can qualify for with the program and other financial aid.

University of Arizona

With almost 45,000 students enrolled in the fall of 2017, the University of Arizona is one of the most popular schools in the West. However, that popularity is not without possible financial problems with students from other states. Out-of-state tuition at Arizona for the 2018-19 school year is $36,000. Fortunately, Arizona is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program. During the 2017-18 school year, the University of Arizona contributed up to $13,000 to students in undergraduate and graduate students. However, like many other schools in the Yellow Ribbon Program, they limit their funds to 600 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is willing to offer up to $6,000 a year for their undergraduate and graduate programs. While that might not seem as large as the contributions of other schools, it is a result of a cheaper out-of-state tuition. In the 2017-18 school year, the school cost $22,466 for out-of-state students. The Yellow Ribbon Program helps with that cost, making it more affordable for those who want to attend the university. With over 65,000 students enrolled in the fall of 2017, the University of Central Florida is a very popular option for incoming college students all over the country.

Overall, the Yellow Ribbon Program is very beneficial for those who are looking to attend an out-of-state or private institution, with many universities providing assistance for undergraduate and graduate programs. However, some universities might have specific requirements or a maximum number of students that can receive it. Find more information about the Yellow Ribbon Program and its eligibility requirements on the VA's website. Specific information for most universities can be found directly on the school's website. 



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