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Yellow Ribbon Program

Understanding the Full Potential of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits


By Eric Patterson
Yellow Ribbon ProgramsWhen I retired from the Army earlier this year, I knew that I was eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and I had some understanding that it was a very good package of educational benefits. A few months into my terminal leave, I was doing research to prepare for a new job administering a campus veterans program. I quickly realized that neither the Army nor the Retirement Services Office had helped me to fully appreciate my Chapter 33 benefits. Since then, my personal surveys of every prospective student veteran I’ve met, ranging from privates through a major general, have confirmed my anecdotal observation; a very small percentage of those leaving the service truly understand their VA education benefits, most importantly their Yellow Ribbon benefits for those that are eligible.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is advertised as the “largest investment in veterans’ education since World War II, covering the full cost of an undergraduate education at nearly any public university or college and many private schools for our nation's newest generation of veterans.” That statement, while true, does not fully explain what every would-be student veteran should know before choosing a college or university.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, by itself, essentially pays full tuition and fees at almost any public school in the United States. For the 2011-2012 academic year, this amounts to $17,500 toward annual tuition and fees. Some new veterans undoubtedly make a school choice with an eye toward this figure, mistakenly thinking that this is an upper limit to their benefits. What too many don’t realize is that if they are eligible for 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (36 months or more of honorable active-duty service, or medically discharged due to a service-related disability), then they are also eligible for VA’s Yellow Ribbon program.
So, what exactly is Yellow Ribbon and what does it do? In a nutshell, Yellow Ribbon is a voluntary cost-sharing agreement directly between VA and any given institution of higher learning. Under this agreement, VA and each school agree to contribute matching funds above and beyond the $17,500 maximum of the GI Bill, up to and including 50/50 cost-sharing of full tuition and fees. At the right school, your GI Bill benefits, initially worth $17,500 per year, could be extended to earn you an education which costs as much as $30,000, or even $40,000, or more, per year. Over a typical four-year college career, this could make your Chapter 33 benefits worth well over $100,000. Simply put, VA’s Yellow Ribbon program places private school tuition and out-of-state public school tuition fully within reach at a participating Yellow Ribbon institution.
What should a prospective Yellow Ribbon student veteran look for when comparing Yellow Ribbon schools? In addition to the usual criteria such as degrees offered, class sizes, type of campus, graduation rates, etc., you should most definitely understand to what degree any particular school has committed to Yellow Ribbon. For example, a full Yellow Ribbon partner has typically agreed to full cost sharing and no limitation on the number of Yellow Ribbon student veterans. This is an ideal situation where a Yellow Ribbon student veteran is guaranteed to have no tuition costs. However, a school could opt into Yellow Ribbon for an amount less than full 50/50 sharing, and they could also place a limit on how many Yellow Ribbon students they will enroll at any given time. In these cases, a wise student veteran would know what the Yellow Ribbon partner school has signed up for and, thus, what they are eligible for at that campus.
In summary, as a veteran you put your life on the line for your country, and under VA’s Yellow Ribbon program you’ve earned the right to a high-quality education without being constrained by concerns about high tuition. You owe it to yourself to check your Yellow Ribbon school options before ruling out any colleges or universities based on cost. You can find the list of current Yellow Ribbon schools at the VA website at
Eric Patterson, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), U.S. Army Special Forces, is Director of Veterans Affairs at John Carroll University.






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Alliant International University
American Academy of Dramatic Arts-Los Angeles
American Baptist Seminary of the West
American University of Health Sciences
Antioch University-Los Angeles
Antioch University-Santa Barbara
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Fordham University
Fulton-Montgomery Community College
Hamilton College
Hartwick College
Hilbert College
Hobart William Smith Colleges
Hofstra University
Houghton College
Hudson Valley Community College
Institute of Design and Construction
Iona College
Ithaca College
ITT Technical Institute-Albany
ITT Technical Institute-Getzville
Keuka College
Le Moyne College
LIM College
Long Island University-Brentwood Campus
Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus
Long Island University-C W Post Campus
Long Island University-Riverhead Campus
Long Island University-Rockland Campus
Long Island University-University Center Campus
Long Island University-Westchester Campus
Manhattan College
Manhattanville College
Marist College
Marymount Manhattan College
Medaille College
Mercy College
Metropolitan College of New York
Molloy University
Monroe College-Main Campus
Monroe College-New Rochelle
Monroe Community College
Mount Saint Mary College
Nazareth College
New School
New York Institute of Technology
New York Law School
New York School of Interior Design
New York University
Niagara County Community College
Niagara University
Northeast College of Health Sciences
Northeastern Seminary
Nyack College
Pace University
Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Roberts Wesleyan College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Sage College of Albany
Saint Bonaventure University
Saint John Fisher College
Saint Thomas Aquinas College
Sarah Lawrence College
School of Visual Arts
Siena College
Skidmore College
St John's University-New York
St Lawrence University
St. Francis College
St. Joseph's University New York
Stony Brook University
SUNY at Binghamton
SUNY College at Buffalo
SUNY College at Plattsburgh
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred
Syracuse University
Touro College
Trocaire College
Union College
Union Graduate College
University of Rochester
Utica College
Vassar College
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
Wagner College
Yeshiva University

Akron Institute of Herzing University
Antioch University-Midwest
Art Institute of Cincinnati
Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati
Ashland University
Baldwin-Wallace College
Beckfield College-Tri-County
Bluffton University
Brown Mackie College-Akron
Brown Mackie College-Cincinnati
Brown Mackie College-Findlay
Brown Mackie College-North Canton
Bryant & Stratton College-Cleveland
Bryant and Stratton College-Eastlake
Bryant and Stratton College-Parma
Capital University
Case Western Reserve University
Cedarville University
Chamberlain College of Nursing-Columbus Campus
Cleveland Institute of Art
Cleveland Institute of Music
Cleveland State University
College of Mount St. Joseph
College of Wooster
Columbus College of Art and Design
Daymar College-Chillicothe
Daymar College-Jackson
Daymar College-Lancaster
Daymar College-New Boston
Defiance College
Denison University
DeVry University-Ohio
ETI Technical College
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Franklin University
Harrison College-Grove City
Heidelberg University
Herzing University-Toledo
Hiram College
ITT Technical Institute-Columbus
ITT Technical Institute-Dayton
ITT Technical Institute-Hilliard
ITT Technical Institute-Maumee
ITT Technical Institute-Norwood
ITT Technical Institute-Strongsville
ITT Technical Institute-Warrensville Heights
ITT Technical Institute-Youngstown
ITT Technical Institute–Akron
John Carroll University
Kaplan College-Cincinnati
Kaplan College-Columbus
Kaplan College-Dayton
Kenyon College
Lake Erie College
Lincoln College of Technology
Lincoln College of Technology
Lincoln College of Technology
Lourdes College
Malone University
Marietta College
Miami University-Hamilton
Miami University-Middletown
Miami University-Oxford
Miami-Jacobs Career College
Miami-Jacobs Career College-Columbus
Miami-Jacobs Career College-Dayton
Miami-Jacobs Career College-Sharonville
Miami-Jacobs Career College-Springboro
Miami-Jacobs Career College-Troy
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Muskingum University
National College-Cincinnati
National College-Columbus
National College-Dayton
National College-Stow
National College-Willoughby Hills
Northeast Ohio Medical University
Notre Dame College
Oberlin College
Ohio Christian University
Ohio Dominican University
Ohio Northern University
Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute
Ohio State University-Lima Campus
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Ohio State University-Mansfield Campus
Ohio State University-Marion Campus
Ohio State University-Newark Campus
Ohio Valley College of Technology
Ohio Wesleyan University
Otterbein University
Remington College-Cleveland Campus
Remington College-Cleveland West Campus
Sanford-Brown College-Middleburg Heights
Strayer University-Ohio
Tiffin University
Trumbull Business College
Union Institute & University
University of Cincinnati-Clermont College
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
University of Dayton
University of Findlay
University of Northwestern Ohio
University of Phoenix-Cincinnati Campus
University of Phoenix-Cleveland Campus
University of Phoenix-Columbus Ohio Campus
University of Rio Grande
University of Toledo
Urbana University
Ursuline College
Vatterott College-Cleveland
Virginia Marti College of Art and Design
Wilmington College
Wittenberg University
Wright State University-Lake Campus
Wright State University-Main Campus
Xavier University



Albright College
Allegheny College
Alvernia University
Antonelli Institute
Arcadia University
Art Institute of Philadelphia
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division
Art Institutes of York-PA
Bryn Mawr College
Bucknell University
Bucks County Community College
Cabrini College
Carlow University
Carnegie Mellon University
Cedar Crest College
Central Penn College
Chatham University
Chestnut Hill College
CHI Institute-Broomall
CHI Institute-Philadelphia
Community College of Beaver County
DeSales University
DeVry University-Pennsylvania
Dickinson College
Douglas Education Center
Drexel University
Duquesne University
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
Elizabethtown College
Everest Institute-Pittsburgh
Fortis Institute-Forty Fort
Fortis Institute-Scranton
Franklin and Marshall College
Gannon University
Geneva College
Gettysburg College
Gwynedd Mercy College
Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Holy Family University
Immaculata University
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
ITT Technical Institute-Bensalem
ITT Technical Institute-Dunmore
ITT Technical Institute-Harrisburg
ITT Technical Institute-King of Prussia
ITT Technical Institute-Pittsburgh
ITT Technical Institute-Tarentum
Kaplan Career Institute-Harrisburg
Kaplan Career Institute-Pittsburgh
Keystone College
King's College
La Roche College
La Salle University
Lackawanna College
Lafayette College
Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts-Pittsburgh
Lebanon Valley College
Lehigh University
Lincoln Technical Institute-Allentown
Lincoln Technical Institute-Center City Philadelphia
Lincoln Technical Institute-Northeast Philadelphia
Lincoln Technical Institute-Philadelphia
Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
Lycoming College
Manor College
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
Marywood University
McCann School of Business and Technology
Misericordia University
Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary
Mount Aloysius College
Muhlenberg College
Neumann University
Peirce College
Pennco Tech-Bristol
Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology
Pennsylvania State University-Brandywine
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Beaver
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Dubois
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend College
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Fayette- Eberly Campus
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Great Valley
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Greater Allegheny
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Harrisburg
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Hazleton
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh Valley
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Mont Alto
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Shenango
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Worthington Scranton
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State York
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Philadelphia University
Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science Inc
Pittsburgh Technical Institute
Point Park University
Robert Morris University
Rosemont College
Saint Francis University
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Vincent College
Sanford-Brown Institute-Monroeville
Sanford-Brown Institute-Pittsburgh
Sanford-Brown Institute-Trevose
Seton Hill University
Strayer University-Pennsylvania
Susquehanna University
Swarthmore College
Temple University
Thiel College
Thompson Institute
Triangle Tech Inc-Dubois
Triangle Tech Inc-Erie
Triangle Tech Inc-Greensburg
Triangle Tech Inc-Pittsburgh
Triangle Tech Inc-Sunbury
University of Arts
University of Pennsylvania
University of Phoenix-Harrisburg Campus
University of Phoenix-Philadelphia Campus
University of Phoenix-Pittsburgh Campus
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
University of Pittsburgh-Titusville
University of Scranton
University of the Sciences
Ursinus College
Valley Forge Military College
Vet Tech Institute
Villanova University
Waynesburg University
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Westminster College
Widener University-Harrisburg Campus
Widener University-Main Campus
Wilkes University
Wilson College
Wyo Tech-Blairsville
York College Pennsylvania
YTI Career Institute-Altoona
YTI Career Institute-Mechanicsburg
YTI Career Institute-York

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

American Baptist College
Anthem Career College-Memphis
Anthem Career College-Nashville
Aquinas College
Argosy University-Nashville
Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
Belmont University
Carson-Newman College
Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers
Christian Brothers University
Concorde Career College-Memphis
Cumberland University
Daymar Institute-Clarksville
Daymar Institute-Murfreesboro
Daymar Institute-Nashville
DeVry University-Tennessee
East Tennessee State University
Emmanuel Christian Seminary
Fisk University
Fountainhead College of Technology
Free Will Baptist Bible College
Freed-Hardeman University
Hiwassee College
International Academy of Design and Technology-Nashville
ITT Technical Institute-Chattanooga
ITT Technical Institute-Cordova
ITT Technical Institute-Knoxville
ITT Technical Institute-Nashville
ITT Technical Institute–Johnson City
Kaplan Career Institute-Nashville
King College
L’Ecole Culinaire
Le Moyne-Owen College
Lee University
Lincoln Memorial University
Lipscomb University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Memphis College of Art
Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga
Miller-Motte Technical College-Clarksville
Miller-Motte Technical College-Madison
Milligan College
Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc
National College of Business and Technology-Nashville
O'More College of Design
Pellissippi State Community College
Pentecostal Theological Seminary
Remington College-Memphis Campus
Remington College-Nashville Campus
Rhodes College
Sewanee-The University of the South
South College
Southern Adventist University
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Strayer University-Tennessee
Tennessee Technological University
Tennessee Wesleyan College
Trevecca Nazarene University
Tusculum College
Union University
University of Memphis
University of Phoenix-Chattanooga Campus
University of Phoenix-Memphis Campus
University of Phoenix-Nashville Campus
University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Vanderbilt University
Vatterott Career College-Memphis Appling Farms
Vatterott Career College-Memphis Dividend Drive
Virginia College-School of Business and Health
Watkins College of Art Design & Film
Williamson Christian College

Abilene Christian University
American InterContinental University-Houston
Angelo State University
Argosy University-Dallas
Art Institute of Austin
Art Institute of Houston
Art Institute of San Antonio
Austin College
Austin Graduate School of Theology
Baylor University
Brown Mackie College-San Antonio
Career Point College
Central Texas College
Concorde Career Institute-Arlington
Concorde Career Institute-Dallas
Concorde Career Institute-San Antonio
Concordia University-Texas
Court Reporting Institute-Wheeler Institute of Texas
Dallas Baptist University
Del Mar College
DeVry University-Texas
East Texas Baptist University
Everest College-Arlington
Everest College-Dallas
Everest College-Fort Worth
Everest College-Fort Worth South
Hardin-Simmons University
Howard Payne University
International Academy of Design and Technology-San Antonio
ITT Technical Institute-Arlington
ITT Technical Institute-Austin
ITT Technical Institute-Houston North
ITT Technical Institute-Houston West
ITT Technical Institute-Richardson
ITT Technical Institute-San Antonio
ITT Technical Institute-Webster
ITT Technical Institute–DeSoto
Kaplan College-Arlington
Kaplan College-Beaumont
Kaplan College-Brownsville
Kaplan College-Corpus Christi
Kaplan College-Dallas
Kaplan College-El Paso
Kaplan College-Fort Worth
Kaplan College-Laredo
Kaplan College-Lubbock
Kaplan College-Midland
Kaplan College-San Antonio
Kaplan College-San Antonio
Kaplan College-San Antonio-San Pedro
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Austin
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Dallas
LeTourneau University
Lincoln College of Technology-Grand Prairie
Lubbock Christian University
McMurry University
National American University-Austin
Northwood University-Texas
Our Lady of the Lake University-San Antonio
Parker University
Platt College-Dallas
Remington College-Dallas Campus
Remington College-Fort Worth Campus
Remington College-Houston Campus
Remington College-Houston Southeast Campus
Remington College-North Houston Campus
Rice University
Saint Edward's University
Sanford-Brown College-Dallas
Sanford-Brown College-Houston
Sanford-Brown College-San Antonio
Schreiner University
South Texas College of Law
Southern Methodist University
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Southwestern University
St Marys University
Strayer University-Texas
Texas A & M University - Central Texas
Texas A & M University-College Station
Texas A & M University-Commerce
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A & M University-Galveston
Texas A & M University-Kingsville
Texas A & M University-Texarkana
Texas A&M Health Science Center
Texas A&M University College of Liberal Arts - Department of Economics
Texas Chiropractic College Foundation Inc
Texas Christian University
Texas Lutheran University
Texas School of Business-East
Texas School of Business-Friendswood
Texas School of Business-North
Texas School of Business-Southwest
Texas Wesleyan University
Trinity University
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
University of Phoenix-Austin Campus
University of Phoenix-Dallas Campus
University of Phoenix-Houston Campus
University of Phoenix-San Antonio Campus
University of St Thomas
University of Texas at Arlington
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Brownsville
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at San Antonio
University of Texas at Tyler
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
University of Texas Medical Branch
University of Texas of Permian Basin
University of Texas System Office
University of Texas-Pan American
University of the Incarnate Word
Virginia College-Austin
Wayland Baptist University


Advanced Technology Institute
Appalachian School of Law
Argosy University-Washington D.C.
Art Institute of Virginia Beach
Art Institute of Washington
Averett University
Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Chesapeake
Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Manassas
Bluefield College
Bridgewater College
Bryant & Stratton College-Hampton
Bryant and Stratton College-Richmond
Bryant and Stratton College-Virginia Beach
College of William and Mary
DeVry University-Virginia
Eastern Mennonite University
ECPI University
Everest College-Arlington
Everest College-Chesapeake
Everest College-McLean
Everest College-Newport News
Ferrum College
George Mason University
Hampden-Sydney College
Hollins University
ITT Technical Institute-Chantilly
ITT Technical Institute-Norfolk
ITT Technical Institute-Richmond
ITT Technical Institute-Springfield
ITT Technical Institute–Salem
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Liberty University
Mary Baldwin University
Marymount University
National College-Salem
Old Dominion University
Randolph College
Randolph-Macon College
Regent University
Roanoke College
Sanford-Brown College-Vienna
Shenandoah University
South University–Richmond
South University–Virginia Beach
Southeast Culinary & Hospitality College
Southern Virginia University
Stratford University
Strayer University-Virginia
Sweet Briar College
University of Lynchburg
University of Phoenix-Northern Virginia Campus
University of Phoenix-Richmond Campus
University of Richmond
University of Virginia-Main Campus
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Intermont College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Wesleyan College
Washington and Lee University
Westwood College-Annandale
Westwood College-Arlington Ballston



Alverno College
Beloit College
Bryant and Stratton College-Glendale
Bryant and Stratton College-Milwaukee
Bryant and Stratton College-Wauwatosa
Cardinal Stritch University
Carroll University
Carthage College
Concordia University-Wisconsin
DeVry University-Wisconsin
Edgewood College
Globe University –La Crosse
Globe University-Eau Claire
Globe University-Madison East
Globe University–Green Bay
Globe University–Madison West
Globe University–Wausau
Herzing University-Brookfield
Herzing University-Kenosha
Herzing University-Madison
ITT Technical Institute-Green Bay
ITT Technical Institute-Greenfield
ITT Technical Institute–Madison
Lakeland College
Lawrence University
Madison Media Institute
Marian University
Marquette University
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Mount Mary College
Northland College
Rasmussen College-Wisconsin
Ripon College
Saint Norbert College
Sanford-Brown College-West Allis
Silver Lake College
University of Phoenix-Madison Campus
University of Phoenix-Milwaukee Campus
University of Wisconsin Colleges
University of Wisconsin Extension
University of Wisconsin Superior
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin-Stout
University of Wisconsin-System Administration
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Viterbo University
Wisconsin Lutheran College

West Virginia