Frequently asked questions
What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?
A: 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 VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the
maximum cap of $17,500 and ensure the students tuition and fees
are covered at the 100% rate.
How do I qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program?
A: As long as you are entitled to 100% you
automatically qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, there is no
additional paperwork to participate. Saint Martin's does not cap
for Yellow Ribbon participants, and when certified for 100% you
will automatically be certified for Yellow Ribbon.
How does the $17,500 cap for private institutions
A: Starting August 1, 2011 the VA caps an
annual $17,500 for private institutions which is the maximum
amount the VA will pay for tuition in an academic year. A
majority of the $17,500 is used during the first semester or
generally fall semester. This does not mean that your funding is
up and you'll have to pay out of pocket, this just means during
the spring and summer semesters you will use the remaining VA
funds as well as Yellow Ribbon funds and will continue to
covered tuition and fees at 100%.
I didn’t use Yellow Ribbon funding in fall semester,
do I need to reapply for Yellow Ribbon?
A: No, you did not have to utilize Yellow
Ribbon because the $17,500 was enough to cover all of fall
semester. Once you register for spring or summer you will use
the remaining VA funds and Yellow Ribbon to make up the
difference. A 100% eligible VA student receiving chapter 33
benefits should not have to pay out of pocket for tuition and
fees as long as the classes are required for the degree program,
you are in good academic standing, you complete the courses your
register for and you have enough benefits to cover the semester.
How do you certify and calculate my remaining
A: Students are only certified for the
semesters they have registered for, and by the specific dates in
the term. For example if you are a extension campus student
taking 8 week terms you are only certified for the term not the
breaks in between the terms. The VA is responsible for keeping
track of how much benefit a student has remaining and notifying
them of any changes.
How do I get my books paid for?
A: If you are Chapter 33 Yellow Ribbon
student entitled to 100%, typically the student pay’s out of
pocket for books and is later reimbursed by the VA up to a $1000
per academic year. Book vouchers are not available through the
Student Financial Service Center unless you have other title IV
financial aid such as, loans, pell grants, or SEOG grants. This
does not apply to Chapter 33 less than 100% or Voc Rehab.
How do I get my BAH?
A: The VA will direct deposit housing
allowance upon certification. This is typically done the first
week of the month and is based on your enrollment, for example
full time enrollment equals full time housing.
I’m covered at 100% why am I still getting a bill?
A: You will receive a statement until your
balance is paid in full, either by the VA or by the student
depending on the charges.
Why did my financial aid award letter indicate I was
getting scholarships but now I'm not?
A: Generally award letters may be
indicating anticipated awards depending on how
you were admitted to the university. As long as you
qualify for 100% VA benefits you are not eligible for
Saint Martin's scholarships. However if you use up all
your benefits or your eligibility rates change you can
request that your scholarships be reinstated.
What does Yellow Ribbon cover at Saint
A: Tuition and fees, not including room and
board if living in the dorms, or health insurance. To avoid
health insurance charges you need to waive by deadline which
will be sighted in emails/mailings.
I’m a Voc Rehab student how much funding am I allowed
A: For 8 week term classes it is $35 a term,
for 16 week classes its $35 per semester, unless you request
extra funding through your Voc Rehab counselor.
I’m a VA student do I have to waive out of the Saint
Martin’s health insurance?
A: Yes, you must submit the waiver by the deadline sighted in emails/mailings. Any student
no matter their benefit needs to waive out of SMU insurance if
they have coverage through another party. The VA does not pay health insurance fees.
I haven’t received payment what should I do?
A: First check that a Request for Certification
was completed and turned into the VA Rep, if all proper
paperwork has been turned in and you still haven’t received
payment you should contact the VA about any questions referring
to payments, processing of paperwork, and debt letters at
What happens if I have tuition assistance and VA
A: Students may combine VA benefits and tuition
assistance as long as the combined benefits do not total more
than 100% of the actual cost of tuition and fees. Both benefits
cannot give a refund or pay 100% for the same class.
Do I get break pay?
A: As of August 1, 2011 break pay or
interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit
program. For example, the semester ends December 15th, housing
allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only. Your
next semester begins January 10th, your payment for January (which will be received
the beginning of February) will be for January 10th to the end
I haven’t used my entire benefits can I transfer the
remainder to my dependent?
A: The Department of Defense offers members
of the Armed Forces the opportunity to transfer Chapter 33
benefits to their spouse or dependent children. If a member of
the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve) serves six
years and reenlists for 4 more years or has at least 10 years of
service, then transfer of entitlement is possible.
Effective October 1, 2011
- Individuals eligible for transfer of
entitlement from multiple transferors
may not receive benefits from multiple
- Members of the Public Health Service
(PHS) and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can be
eligible to transfer unused ch33
- The rules for basic eligibility for
Transfer of Entitlement remain
I’ve completed my undergraduate program and still
have benefits remaining; can I use them for my master’s or other
post graduate certification at Saint Martin’s?
A: Yes, you may use the remainder of your
benefits on a graduate or post graduate program. If entitled to
Voc Rehab your benefits generally end upon graduation of your
undergraduate degree. If you have any questions about your Voc
Rehab benefits please contact your counselor.
I’ve ran out of benefits in the middle of the
semester what do I do?
A: If you exceed your benefits during a
current semester you must contact Financial Aid to file your
FAFSA and determine what aid may be available to cover the
remaining tuition and fees. This is done on a case by case
What happens if I change my enrollment?
A: If you make any changes to your schedule
you should contact the VA rep as soon as possible so the changes
can be reported to the VA. If you add or drop within the 100%
period (generally the first 14 calendar days of a regular
semester, not including extension campus or summer sessions) you
will not be responsible for changes in your tuition in fees. If
you choose to withdraw from a class the VA will cover the first
withdrawal (up to six credits). Any withdrawals after that may
be the responsibility of the student unless the student can
prove the withdrawal occurred due to mitigating circumstances.
For example, dislike of the teacher or failing the class is not
a mitigating circumstance. All mitigating circumstances are to
be determined by the VA. The student may be asked to repay the
book stipend after an adjustment is made because the amount of
the book stipend is based on the number of credit hours the
student is taking. If the student drops below fulltime they may
also be responsible for repaying the housing stipend.
Does the VA pay for study abroad?
A: The VA will only approve classes studied
abroad if it is a requirement for the veteran’s degree program.
The VA will only cover tuition and fees which cannot include
transportation, lodging or meals. If you have any questions
about what studied abroad classes are acceptable please contact
the VA Regional Office.