VA educational benefit programs are helpful but may not cover all of your school expenses. If not, you may need to look for other programs that can help you to make up the difference. Below are several options you might be eligible for. Each program has a link for more information.
Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon Program is designed fill the gap between total tuition costs and the amount you are getting under the G.I. Bill. This program can be a great help if you are going to an out-of-state public school, private school, or foreign school. This program is available only if your school has voluntarily decided to participate. Participating schools must agree to contribute a certain amount through scholarships or grants. The VA then agrees to match that amount of money.
For example, if your tuition expenses are $10,000 a semester. The G.I. Bill is providing you with $6,000 a semester. Your school could elect to give you a $2,000 scholarship for the Yellow Ribbon Program and the VA would provide you with an additional $2,000 to match that.
To qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program you must:
- have served at least 36 months on Active Duty after September 10, 2011; OR
- have been honorably discharged for a service-connected disability after having served at least 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; OR
- be a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, based an individual’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above.
If you think you may qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, check to see if your school participates in the program. Or speak to your school VA representative to discuss the possibility of your school becoming involved with the program.
Get more information about the Yellow Ribbon Program including a list of participating institutions
Or call the VA for more information: 1-888-442-4551
Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) - A benefit specific to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for high-demand jobs to Veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Veterans participating in VRRAP receive up to 12 months of tuition and fees and a monthly housing allowance based on Post-9/11 GI Bill rates.
Covered education programs must provide training for high-demand occupations, which is determined by the Commissioner of Labor Statistics.
Veterans are required to meet all requirements to apply. Applicants must:
- Be at least 22 years old, but not older than 66;
- Be unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Not be eligible for GI Bill or VR&E benefits (or, if eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, have transferred all benefits to family members);
- Not be rated as totally disabled;
- Not be enrolled in a federal or state jobs programs; and
- Not be receiving unemployment benefits (including CARES Act benefits)
PLEASE NOTE: VRRAP will only be available until December 11, 2022. The VA will stop making payments on this date—or when they reach either the $386 million funding limit or the 17,250 participant limit.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply, go to VA's VRRAP website.
These supplemental programs are discussed under our pages on MGIB (Chapter 30) and MGIB-SR (Chapter 1606)
Army/Navy College Funds
Go here for more information about the Army College Fund (AFC)
- Please note: This program was suspended on March 16, 2012; however, servicemembers enrolled prior to the suspension and are still serving qualify under legacy claims. If you enrolled before the program was suspended, you can contact the AHRC’s Incentives Program Team via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1-800-872-8272 for additional information or to obtain program clarification.
Go here for more information about the Navy College Fund
You could be eligible to get even more help through state and federal funded college aid programs. There are also thousands of locally-run programs, as well as private donor programs. Here are links to a few sites to get you started.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Wizard