Skip to main content

Yellow Ribbon Program


For Prospective Students:
Phone: 202-885-6500
Fax: 202-885-1025

For Current or Continuing Students:
Phone: 202-885-8000

Contact Information

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and the VA will match the same amount as the institution. This award is meant to bridge the gap between Post-9/11 benefits and private university tuition and fees.

The Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) must agree to:

  • Provide contributions to eligible individuals who apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program on a first-come first-served basis, regardless of the rate at which the individual is pursuing training in any given academic year;
  • Provide contributions during the current academic year and all subsequent academic years in which the IHL is participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program and the student maintains satisfactory progress, conduct, and attendance;
  • Make contributions toward the program on behalf of the individual in the form of a grant, scholarship, etc.;
  • State the dollar amount that will be contributed for each participant during the academic year;
  • State the maximum number of individuals for whom contributions will be made in any given academic year.

How Does this Program Benefit the Student?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to $22,805.34 to eligible students attending private institutions of higher learning beginning in the fall 2017 semester. 2017-2018 Yellow Ribbon Program fund become available August 1, 2017. Please note that the student's tuition and fees may exceed the amount of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit if the student is attending a private institution.

Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. The VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.

Who is Eligible?

Only individuals entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) may receive this funding. Therefore, they may be eligible if:

  • They served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months;
  • They were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and they served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; 
  • They are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above. 


Per federal regulations, eligible recipients will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Current Yellow Ribbon Program recipients need not reapply, unless the recipient will be enrolled in a new degree program for the 2017-2018 academic year. Please note that current recipients must continue to meet federal and institutional eligibility requirements.

Only general demographic information is required to complete the Yellow Ribbon Program Application.

Note: All prospective students with a completed admissions application are welcome to apply. However, only applicants who are admitted to American University as degree-seeking students at the time of award notification. Students seeking to transfer to American University are encouraged to apply by the March 1st priority deadline to ensure receipt of a Yellow Ribbon Program determination prior to April 15, 2017.


To apply, please complete the Yellow Ribbon Application.

Financial Aid Deadlines

Early Decision I: FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: Nov. 15
Early Decision II: FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: Jan. 15
Regular Decision Freshman: FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: Jan. 15
Transfer: FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: May 1
Current (Continuing) AU Students: FAFSA: May 1

More about DEADLINES