Monday, July 1, 2013

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

I've written a few times here on the blog about the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

In addition to a book stipend, it pays an E-5 w/dependent housing allowance based on the ZIP code of the school.  If you are curious to know what that works out to for your ZIP code, check here. That's pro-rated for the months that you're in school, and then you can also get up to $18,700 for tuition.

Some schools voluntarily enter into a "Yellow Ribbon" program, through which the school and the VA each split the difference between the school's tuition cost and the 18.7k cap.  The number of Yellow Ribbon scholarships available per school depends on how much dough the school ponies up for the program.

When you hear people talk about "making the post-9/11 GI Bill a TRUE GI Bill" they are implying that fully-eligible veterans should not pay tuition.  Regardless of any normative opinions about what "should" or "shouldn't" be, it's an awesome thing for at least this one reason:  Political leaders love to talk these days about veteran entrepreneurship.  It's a great sound bite, and promoting it actually makes sense for a lot of reasons -- among them, people who have experience exercising leadership within organizations are well-poised to lead companies.

The Yellow Ribbon scholarships promote entrepreneurship indirectly, in the sense that they radically alter the debt load that a veteran faces after completing a degree.

So in my anything-but-neutral opinion, they are a great thing.  As former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg used to say, "All I want in life is an unfair advantage."  

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