Deadline to Submit Yellow Ribbon Participation Agreements Approaching
May 5, 2011
Colleges and universities must submit signed agreements to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by May 23 in order to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program for the 2011-12 academic year. The Yellow Ribbon program allows the VA to match institutional contributions to cover the gap when tuition and fees for academic programs exceed the maximum benefit under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as Post-9/11 GI Bill.
In NACUBO's March 24 bulletin, independent institutions were advised to review the potential changes in the maximum benefit awarded to veterans in their state as a result of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010. Those amendments, enacted in January, made significant changes to the tuition and fees benefits for veterans under the Chapter 33 program. Specifically, the Improvements Act set a nationwide cap of $17,500 for tuition and fees benefits for veterans attending independent and foreign institutions.
Public institutions, including community colleges, also need to reconsider their participation in light of the changes made to tuition and fee reimbursements for veterans who do not qualify for in-state rates. (While some states have laws allowing veterans to pay in-state rates, many do not.) Under the Improvements Act, tuition and fee charges are covered for veterans attending public institutions at the rate charged in-state students. The $17,500 cap does not apply to attendance at public institutions. The Yellow Ribbon program can be used to cover the gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees for those veterans who are eligible. Under the old scheme, out-of-state tuition and fees were reimbursed up to the amount of the state maximum, which in many cases was considerably higher than normal in-state charges, particularly at two-year institutions.
The VA's Yellow Ribbon Program website contains the agreement document, a checklist, and a helpful FAQ document.
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