May 30, 2010

Universities Step Up Participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program

The initial list of schools participating the Yellow Ribbon program has been posted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the 2010-2011 school year. The good news is that both Georgetown and George Washington Universities have stepped up participation and increased the level of benefits available for qualified veterans.

George Washington University will expand its commitment by providing a 35 percent increase in tuition benefits for graduate student veterans. The University will now pay $5,120 per graduate student per year, which together with a match from the VA brings the total award to $10,240.

Also for the 2010-11 academic year, eligible undergrads may receive $18,300 per year per student from GW, not to exceed the cost of the tuition. Up to 360 qualified veterans may receive benefits from GW, which will cover all who are enrolled in the Foggy Bottom, Arlington, Alexandria, Southern Maryland programs as well as those in Ashburn and Hampton Roads, Virginia. Of the 161 GW students currently participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program, 102 are graduate students.

Across town, Georgetown has also increased benefits for qualified veterans. In 2009-10, the first year of the Yellow Ribbon program, eligible Georgetown undergrads received $1,000 in addition to their need-based financial aid. Starting this fall, that benefit will go to $5,000. With the VA match, the total benefit goes from $2,000 to $10,000 in 2010-11.

In addition, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business will offer a new $7,500 benefit for up to 15 eligible veterans who enroll in their graduate programs. The School of Continuing Studies has also set aside a $12,675 benefit for up to 85 veterans enrolling in undergrad programs and $10,140 for up to 60 eligible veterans enrolling in the school’s master’s degree programs on Main Campus. A $9,100 benefit is available for up to 45 veterans enrolling in master’s degree programs on the Clarendon campus, which has a separate agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs because of its location in Virginia.

Under its agreement with the VA, Georgetown will make more than $2 million in tuition and fee benefits available to qualified veterans accepted to and enrolled at the university.

The Yellow Ribbon program is intended to make participating private institutions more accessible to veterans pursuing postsecondary degrees. According to Robert Chernak, GW senior vice president for student and academic support services, increasing benefits will “ease the financial burden of American heroes who have served their country and who are motivated to retool themselves and prepare for the next stages of their lives.”

More information and a complete list of colleges and universities participating in the 2010-11 Yellow Ribbon program is provided on the VA website. Note that the list is not final and will be updated periodically as additional information is received.

Here’s to a safe and meaningful Memorial Day weekend!

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