You are here: American University Veterans Yellow Ribbon Program

Yellow Ribbon Program:

AU is a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon program. The Yellow Ribbon program was created to help bridge the gap between the VA GI Bill Cap (average state tuition) and the tuition costs at American University. The agreement allows for additional funding to be processed, half by the VA and half by AU, to help with these costs.

Generally speaking, students are eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Eligible to receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100% rate with remaining months of eligibility.
  • Once a student runs out of months of eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, they will no longer be eligible for Yellow Ribbon funding. 
  • Currently not on active duty or the spouse of an active duty member

Important note for students who recently came off of active duty before applying for Yellow Ribbon Program: Students who recently came off of active duty must contact the VA at 1-800-983-0937 or through Ask a Question and submit a copy of their DD-214 to have their status updated with the VA. The VA will not review your updated status automatically. 

Newly admitted AU students who meet the basic eligibility requirements should apply before the close of the VA GI Bill year they would like to use benefits. The VA academic year resets each August 1st. Current Yellow Ribbon Program recipients need not reapply UNLESS you're changing your degree program (BA/BS to MA/MS, etc).

When applying for the Yellow Ribbon program, you will decide which VA GI Bill year you would like to begin using Yellow Ribbon benefits. Depending on the VA GI Bill year chosen, your Yellow Ribbon application will be valid for that VA academic year and forward until you finish your degree program at AU or no longer have eligibility remaining for VA Education benefits. 

Your Yellow Ribbon eligibility will be processed based on August 1st of the GI Bill Year you choose or the date in which you were eligible for Yellow Ribbon benefits from the VA, whichever date is later. In order to process a Yellow Ribbon application submitted mid-year, institutional awards may be pulled retroactively from a previous semester. An example of this is if a student applies for Yellow Ribbon in Spring. Any institutional aid from the previous Fall semester would be removed from the account by the Office of Financial Aid and VA Education Benefits and Yellow Ribbon eligibility would be processed.

Understanding how Yellow Ribbon works:

Your School Certifying Official at AU will send your tuition and fees each semester to the VA. The VA will then send funding up to the GI Bill® Cap to AU. Once that cap is exhausted, your School Certifying Official will ask the VA for Yellow Ribbon Funding. Once received, Yellow Ribbon funds will be matched by AU.

The current GI Bill® Cap and Yellow Ribbon Funding are as follows:

GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Match 2021-22 Year
Student Status Yearly Yellow Ribbon Cap Total Yellow Ribbon


$14,000 VA + $14,000 AU



$11,360 VA + $11,360 AU



$22,907.10 VA + $22,907.10 AU WCL


2021-22 GI Bill Cap: $26,042.81


GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Match 2020-21 Year
Student Status Yearly Yellow Ribbon Cap Total Yellow Ribbon


$13,200 VA + $13,200 AU



$11,360 VA + $11,360 AU



$23,347.43 VA + $23,347,43 AU WCL


2020-21 GI Bill Cap: $25,162.14

Undergraduates who enroll in a full-time status during Fall and Spring generally exhaust their funding for the academic year and it is not recommended to enroll in the Summer.

Undergraduates who exceed the caps and/or flat rate on tuition (12-17.5 CH) are responsible for the excess costs. Graduate students and Law students vary in their use of funds. Students who exceed both the GI Bill® cap and the Yellow Ribbon cap within an academic year are responsible for the excess costs. Any funds not used in GI Bill® Cap or Yellow Ribbon do NOT roll over.

Important Information for American University’s Yellow Ribbon Agreement:

  • Students are not eligible to receive an institutional tuition restricted scholarship, grant or tuition remission as a Yellow Ribbon program participant. As a Yellow Ribbon Program Participant, AU is committed to supporting military-affiliated students through providing a Yellow Ribbon match. This match helps bridge the gap between the GI Bill cap each year and the tuition costs of a private institution. Students receiving tuition restricted outside scholarships will have this amount reduced from the tuition and fees reported to the VA during the certification process.
  • Students pursuing a certificate or non-degree studies are not eligible to participate in AU’s Yellow Ribbon program
  • Visiting students to AU are not eligible to participate in AU’s Yellow Ribbon Program. AU students who are guests at another university cannot have Yellow Ribbon funding applied while enrolled as a guest at another university.
  • When Chapter 33 Post-9/11 eligibility ratings change that result in an increase to where the student becomes eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon (ex: 90% to 100%), the date the applicant became eligible is considered the effective date of eligibility to be awarded Yellow Ribbon. AU will only award and disperse Yellow Ribbon funds from that date forward. Retroactive Yellow Ribbon funds cannot be dispersed to previous semesters.
  • Students transferring from another private university to AU during the same funding year and have used part of their GI Bill® cap will NOT be eligible to receive AU Yellow Ribbon during that year. This policy is not applicable to students transferring from state schools within the same academic year.
  • To be awarded Yellow Ribbon, you must maintain the requirements of the VA and AU for being a Yellow Ribbon participant. These include the following:

    • Service members cannot be on active duty and must remain so for the duration of their award

    • Spouses of active duty service members are not eligible

    • You must have months of eligibility remaining at the 100% benefit rate for the Post 9/11 GI Bill

    • You must maintain the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements toward the completion of your degree program. Info on SAP can be found using the following link

  • AU reserves the right to revise certifications and/or awards in the event of miscalculation or clerical error(s)


Prospective Students!

Would you like to see if you meet the eligibility requirements to participate in AU's Yellow Ribbon program?

 Take our Yellow Ribbon Eligibility Quiz! 

  • Go to
  •  Use your AU Credentials to log in or follow the prompt to register for a Guest Account
  • After logging in type: Yellow Ribbon Program Eligibility
  • Click on the first link with a picture of a Yellow Ribbon next to it and complete the preapplication questionnaire

Please note: Once a student is admitted to AU and registered for courses, a Yellow Ribbon application is required to confirm Yellow Ribbon eligiblity with the VA and to be an official Yellow RIbbon participant.