There is a great benefit program that is a complimentary program to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that can open up opportunities to attend other colleges that may not be fully covered under the GI Bill – The Yellow Ribbon Program.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a matching funds agreement between institutions of higher learning who choose to participate and the VA. Each school sets the amount they want to contribute to covering the gap after the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the VA then matches the contribution. Schools can choose to put a limit on the dollar amount, the number of beneficiaries they will award it to a year, both. In some cases, schools will contribute unlimited matching to cover all costs combined with the VA’s matching funds. A school makes the choice of if they wish to be a Yellow Ribbon Program Participating School, and schools are added every year.
We would like to hear from you:
- Have you or any of your family members used the Yellow Ribbon Program?
- Was it beneficial to you?
- Were there any problems getting the Yellow Ribbon Benefit?
We want to hear from you!
In all of the talk about the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 passed recently, there is a key benefit that has not gotten a lot of press that will be of great benefit to Veterans attending any public university.
Buried deep within the Act (Page 4, Section 702 if you want to read it), any Veteran using the Post-9/11 GI Bill has to be afforded the in-state tuition starting the Fall Semester of 2015.
When a Veteran separates from the military and goes to attend school, typically they will either go to school where they got out of the military, or somewhere else where they may not have established residency for a long enough period of time to qualify for in-state tuition. Members of Congress and the Veteran Community recognized that this was making a large financial burden on Veterans paying out-of-state tuition for the year or longer it takes to establish residency. As things get set up by all the public colleges and universities, this will greatly improve access to education for Veterans and dependents utilizing the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
One VA Benefit Program that is out there that is underutilized by Veterans is Vocational Rehabilitation, also referred to as Chapter 31 Benefits. There are a lot of smaller programs out there that can be of great benefit to a Veteran as they begin their after-service lives, or if your service-connected disabilities have changed to a point where you need to switch professions.
Voc Rehab has several different tracks:
- Employment Track – Guidance and assistance in hunting down and securing “suitable employment” using the skills and background you already have. This is commonly used as a gateway into employment with the federal government.
- Education Track – Working with a Voc Rehab counselor, establish and execute an education plan to a new field that will work with your employment handicaps.
- Independent Living Track – Assists Veterans who are not able to work (whether temporary or permanent) to develop and create an accessible environment for a Veteran to live in.
Voc Rehab also has a lot of areas that can fall short, so knowing how to guide this program is key. Some of the Veterans we have worked with and known have had their shares of successes and barriers to the program. One of the best guides out there for getting into Voc Rehab and being a success in the program is http://www.disabledveterans.org, which has a lot of info to guide you through the process. Bemn Krause, the author of this site is an Air Force Veteran who used Voc Rehab to complete a degree and go to and complete law school, and has recently passed the bar exam. Ben has helped many Veterans go in with a plan and be successful in making the program work for them.
Do any of our readers have any experience with Voc Rehab that you are willing to share? If so, please let us know!