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Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Offers Exceptional New Education Benefits



By Greg Scott Neuman
Posted 2009

Earlier this year the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill went into effect, changing and expanding the education benefits available to veterans who have served since September 10, 2001. As Veteran’s Day approaches, U.S. News University Directory encourages those who qualify to take advantage of this program – none are more worthy of an opportunity to achieve the American dream.

Veterans who have an honorable discharge and at least 90 days of aggregate service since September 10, 2001 can qualify for:

  • Up to 100% of tuition and fee costs, depending on length of service
  • A monthly housing allowance*
  • A books and supplies stipend*
  • College fund (or “kicker” payment), depending on rate of pursuit
  • Rural benefit payment, depending on residence

Furthermore, tuition and fee payments are made by the government directly to the veteran’s college or university. This is generally considered a big improvement over the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which required the student to pay tuition up front and then receive reimbursement at a later date.

The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill covers graduate and undergraduate degrees, but all training programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning. This means that some vocational, technical and preparatory programs do not qualify. However, other G.I. education benefits (such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill) do cover programs not offered by degree-granting institutions, and veterans who are eligible for these and the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and can make a choice of which to receive. It is important to note that once this choice is made, it cannot be changed.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

Government tuition and fee payment in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is capped at the rate charged by the most expensive undergraduate public institution in the veteran’s state of residence. This means that post-9/11 veterans attending graduate school, an out-of-state school or a private college will probably not have all of their tuition covered by their benefits.

The Yellow Ribbon Program – officially known as the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program – is a provision of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill that allows degree-granting colleges and universities to help veterans pay tuition costs exceeding the usual cap. Under this arrangement, educational institutions can volunteer to pay up to 50% of the additional tuition and fees, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will match them dollar-for-dollar. So attending a private or out-of-state school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program means up to 100% of the tuition can be covered, even though that tuition is greater than the cap set by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Not all veterans are eligible. Only those who are entitled to the maximum G.I. Bill benefit rate qualify, which means that:

  • They must have served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10th, 2001 of at least 36 months
  • Or they must have been honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and have served 30 continuous days after September 10th, 2001

Dependents of a veteran can be eligible for a Transfer of Entitlement if the veteran’s service meets the criteria listed above.

Of course, not all colleges and universities participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. When deciding on where they want to apply, eligible veterans should research both the U.S. News University Directory sponsor schools that are taking part as well as the complete list of participating institutions.

*Active duty military personnel are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend.

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