The purpose of this provision is to help people who want to go to
schools that cost more than the maximum available under the basic new GI
The Yellow Ribbon program authorizes the DVA to enter into agreements with schools who charge more than the maximum tuition and fees paid for under the new GI Bill. Under these agreements, the school can contribute up to 50% of the difference between the actual charges and what the GI Bill will cover. For every dollar the school contributes (or waives), the DVA will contribute a dollar. Each school can specify how many students it will allow to participate in its Yellow Ribbon coverage and the maximum amount it will contribute.
Veterans eligible for the 100% payment rate and dependents to whom such veterans have transferred some or all of their benefit are eligible to use this provision. Also, dependent children of servicemembers on active duty are eligible if the military parent is eligible for the 100% rate.
By itself the fact that a school is participating in the Yellow Ribbon program means little. You also need to know how much of the uncovered amount the school will pick up and how many students it applies to. If the school pays/waives less than 50% of the amount not covered by the new GI Bill, the student will have to pay what’s left. Or if 50 students are eligible and you’re #51, you won't receive anything.
Let’s say the school you want to attend is in Maryland and charges $750 per credit for tuition and $5,000 in fees per term. For Maryland schools, the new GI Bill will pay up to $471.86 per credit for tuition and up to $16,308 per term for fees. Under its Yellow Ribbon agreement with the DVA, let's assume your school has agreed to waive $3,000 of the amount not covered by the new GI Bill and there's no limit on the number of students who may apply for it.
Let’s further assume you’re taking 15 credits. The school's tuition and fees will be total up to $16,250. The new GI Bill will pay $7,077.90 of your tuition and all of your fees. Under the Yellow Ribbon program your school agrees to waive $3,000 and the DVA will pay the school $3,000. That’ll leave you to pay the remaining balance: $1,077.90.
The bottom line is this: when selecting a school or arranging for financial aid, make sure you know not only if your school is participating in the Yellow Ribbon program, but how much of the amount not covered by the new GI Bill it's willing to waive. If it waives anything less than 50%, you’ll end up having to pay something out of your pocket.
Note that each school participating in the Yellow Ribbon program can change the terms of its participation every year if it wants to. That is, it can change the number of students it will offer the benefit to, the maximum per-student contribution the school will make, and the criteria for determining which students will be allowed to receive the benefit.
This means that if a student is selected this year to participate in the program, there's no guarantee she'll be selected the next year or that she'll receive the same amount of money.
To find out if the school you’re interested in is participating, the number of students eligible, and the dollar amount of its participation, go to the DVA’s GI Bill web site.
If you elect to participate in the new GI Bill benefit you will be eligible for benefits for 15 years after your last period of active duty service that was at least 90 consecutive days long. (If you were released for a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of continuous service, you will also be eligible for benefits for 15 years.)
This fifteen-year benefit eligibility period has nothing to do with your 36 months of benefit entitlement.
If you transfer your benefit to one or more dependent children, each will be eligible to receive benefits under the new GI Bill until he or she reaches the age of 26.
When the new GI Bill was enacted in June 2008, Congress provided that for those who graduated from the DoD service academies the time spent fulfilling their post-graduation service requirement (currently the five years immediately following graduation) could not be counted as active duty time for purposes of establishing eligibility for benefits under the new GI Bill. They would become eligible for education benefits at the 100% level the day after the eighth anniversary of their graduation.
For reasons we can only speculate about, this provision did not apply to Coast Guard Academy graduates. That meant that immediately after graduation they would begin accruing active duty service time which would count for purposes of establishing eligibility for benefits under the new GI Bill. They would become eligible for education benefits at the 100% level the day after the third anniversary of their graduation.
One of the provisions of the so-called ‘‘Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010’’ (signed by the president on 04 January 2011) made the provision described above for DoD service academy graduates applicable to Coast Guard Academy graduates as well.
However, the provision applies only to cadets who enter the academy on and after 04 January 2011. Put another way, this change in the law applies only to members of the Coast Guard Academy class of 2015 and those following it.
If you’re a CGA grad who applied for benefits under the new GI Bill (either
via the on-line
VA form 22-1990) and were rejected, please contact
Mr. Reidus Stokes so he can
review your situation.