NAICU Washington Update

V.A. Moving Forward on GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program

January 16, 2009

Looking toward an August 1, 2009, implementation date, the Department of Veteran Affairs (V.A.) has begun laying out the ground rules for the new Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits enacted by Congress last year. (See WIR, 4/28/08, 5/12/08, 5/28/08, 6/14/08, 6/27/08.)

The department published proposed regulations on December 23, and is accepting public comments until January 22. Of particular interest to independent colleges are the proposals relating to the Yellow Ribbon program. Under this program, institutions with tuition and fees in excess of the maximum level provided by the GI Bill may enter into an agreement with the V.A. to provide funds to cover a portion of the additional charges. Any funds provided by the institution will be matched by the V.A.

The proposed regulations provide that the Yellow Ribbon agreements entered into by an institution include:

  • An agreement that the institution will provide its matching funds on a "first-come, first-served" basis to the eligible veterans it has admitted;
  • An agreement that the institution will provide its matching funds in the form of a waiver;
  • A statement of the maximum number of individuals the institution will include in the program in any academic year; and
  • A statement of the percentage amount of the match that will be provided by the institution-which must be the same percentage for all individuals included in the program.

A list of participating institutions and specific information about their agreements will be published on the V.A. GI Bill Web site.

NAICU plans to submit comments focusing on the proposals for the Yellow Ribbon program. We are putting together a draft letter, and are now seeking feedback from institutions regarding whether the points raised in the letter adequately cover the issues that may arise on campuses participating in the program. If you can contribute to this effort, please contact Susan Hattan at

In other activity related to the Yellow Ribbon program, the V.A. has sent a letter dated January 12 to institutions that includes more detailed information about the program. The letter also asks them to complete a survey if they plan to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program and submit it to the V.A. by February 27, 2009. While the survey asks for the same information required from participants, it is not a formal program agreement. Its purpose is to provide an estimate of the level of participation in the program. The V.A. plans to publish on its Web site a list of "potential Yellow Ribbon Program participating institutions" on April 1.

The V.A. has also developed a Yellow Ribbon page on its Web site.  Links to V.A. information and background information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill are also available on the NAICU Web site.

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