Yellow Ribbon Program to help veterans with college tuition costs
Some military veterans will have the opportunity to attend college for free through the Yellow Ribbon Program.
The program is a provision to the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill. Through the bill, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will fund tuition expenses equal to the rate of the public institution with the highest undergraduate tuition and fees in the state.
If a university’s tuition and fees exceed that amount, the Yellow Ribbon Program allows participating institutions to contribute an amount that Veteran Affairs will match.
The University of St. Mary has agreed to pay $4,816 per student per academic year for undergraduate and $2,292 for graduate students. That means Veterans Affairs will match those amounts and veterans will have tuition and fees paid for at the Leavenworth university.
“A lot of it simply is the desire to help veterans in this,” said John Schultz, director of public relations at USM. “It’s a program we’re definitely proud to be involved in.
“It basically increases the options open to veterans at institutions across the spectrum and take advantage of generous government benefits.”
The program is to start Aug. 1.
At Kansas State University, roughly 40 people have expressed interest in utilizing new G.I. Bill benefits, said Lorene Dahm, program consultant and certifying official for veteran benefits at KSU.
Dahm said she was awaiting official word from the state as to what the designated tuition rate would be before proceeding.
She also noted KSU normally has about 500 students utilizing Veterans Affairs benefits. That also includes the university’s flight school in Salina.
As a participating institution in the Yellow Ribbon Program, K-State has pledged a maximum contribution of $2,000 per student for 75 students.
Though the state hasn’t set the exact tuition and fee rates, Schultz said USM is using estimates for its potential students.
“The amount we were going to be operating under was with certain assumptions,” Schultz said. “Unless that dramatically continues, we will continue through with it.”
He said if numbers are drastically different then the university’s estimates, the school may have to reconsider.
Kansas University, the state’s largest institute of higher learning, will offer the program to a total of five undergraduate students and three in graduate and doctoral studies, with a contribution of $1,500 each.
Baker University, meanwhile, has limitations on the number of veterans who can utilize the program at some of its campuses but is unlimited at another campus. For instance, eight veterans will be accepted for the program in the school of arts and sciences at the Baldwin City campus with a $2,400 contribution per student. At the school of professional and graduate studies, an unlimited number of veterans can utilize the program, with BU offering $500 each for undergraduates and $1,000 each for graduate students.
Pete Stobie, assistant dean with the Baker School Of Professional And Graduate Studies, noted the university also provides discounts to active military and spouses.
“We are very committed to the military and our service folks,” Stobie said. “This is just another step for us to reach out to the military and the actives.”
Other area universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program include Ottawa University, University of Phoenix in Lenexa and Webster University and Upper Iowa University at Fort Leavenworth, UIU at Fort Riley and Manhattan Christian College.