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More than 1,100 schools partner with VA on GI Bill

WASHINGTON -- Paving the way for recipients of the post-9/11 GI Bill to attend higher-cost schools, Department of Veterans Affairs officials have entered into more than 3,200 agreements with over 1,100 schools for the upcoming academic year under the "Yellow Ribbon" program. Schools can enter into multiple agreements with VA to accommodate different programs of study offered.

"We are pleased that so many institutions are joining us to support the educational goals of the men and women who served this nation so honorably," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The Yellow Ribbon program, a key provision of the new post-9/11 GI Bill, allows VA and participating educational institutions to share in supporting students attending high-cost schools.

Normally, the VA-administered post-9/11 GI Bill reimburses students for tuitions that don't exceed the highest in-state undergraduate tuition rate for a public institution. Under the Yellow Ribbon program, when schools contribute to the difference between the in-state maximum and their usual cost, VA will match them dollar for dollar up to 50 percent of the difference.

The Yellow Ribbon program is reserved for Veterans eligible for the post-9/11 GI Bill who served at least 36 months on active duty or served at least 30 continuous days before being discharged due to a service-related injury.

VA officials launched a special outreach effort in January to encourage more schools to participate in the program during the coming academic year. VA officials extended the original deadline for schools' participation decisions, originally set for May 21, to July 23 because of overwhelming interest in the program.

Letters were also mailed to school officials and reminder e-mails sent to promote maximum participation. This year, the application process was streamlined to allow school officials to fax and e-mail agreements to VA, rather than sending them through regular mail.

The post-9/11 GI Bill, passed by Congress in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.

The maximum benefit allows every eligible veteran, servicemember, reservist and National Guard member an opportunity to receive an in-state, undergraduate education at a public institution at no cost.

The program includes payments for tuition and fees (paid directly to the schools), a housing allowance, and a books and supplies stipend.

For information on specific schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon program, go to www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/YRP/YRP_List_2010.htm.  

Additional information about the post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as VA's other educational benefits, can be obtained by visiting VA's Web site, www.gibill.va.gov, or by calling 888-442-4551.