Yellow Ribbon Program

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 in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the tuition cap for private institutions in an academic year. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution. Please note all scholarships, other federal, state, institutional, or employer-based aid or assistance (excluding loans and Title IV funds) will be deducted from the student’s tuition/fees to determine the amount submitted to VA for certification purposes. 

Am I eligible?

You must qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® at the 100% benefit level and be enrolled in a degree-seeking program that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Certificate programs are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. To continue receiving Yellow Ribbon, you must maintain satisfactory progress, conduct, and attendance.

After nonattendance for two regular (fall, spring) terms, you will no longer qualify for Yellow Ribbon as you are discontinued from the University. Students wishing to re-enroll at SMU and use their VA benefits are required to submit an application for reinstatement or reactivation and contact

What does the benefit pay?

SMU supports our valued Armed Services members, veterans, and their families. We are participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program for the 2024-2025 academic year. Academic schools that have a limit to the number of students who can participate in the program are accepted into the Yellow Ribbon Program on a first-come, first-served basis. First-come, first-served is measured from the date all new student paperwork is submitted to the SMU Veterans Services Office. 

Any tuition that exceeds VA’s private school tuition cap and Yellow Ribbon participation in an academic year is your responsibility.

The following colleges/professional schools will participate for the 2024-2025 academic year, as indicated below:

Academic School

Degree Level 

Maximum Amount Per Academic Year

Number of Students

All Undergraduate Unlimited Unlimited
Cox School of Business Graduate $30,000 ($15,000 from SMU; $15,000 from VA) Unlimited
Dedman College Graduate Unlimited 5
Dedman School of Law Graduate, excluding Doctoral level (S.J.D.) $15,400 ($7,700 from SMU; $7,700 from VA) 10
Meadows School of the Arts (Graduate) Graduate $15,00 ($7,500 from SMU; $7,500 from VA) Unlimited
Perkins School of Theology Graduate  Unlimited
Research and Graduate Studies Graduate $15,000 ($7,500 from SMU; $7500 from VA)
Simmons School of Education and Human Development Graduate $15,000 ($7,500 from SMU; $7,500 from VA)
SMU Guildhall
Graduate $15,000 ($7,500 from SMU; $7,500 from VA) 8

The Lyle School of Engineering does not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program at the graduate level. Instead, they offer a significant tuition reduction for active duty service members and veterans of the Armed Forces, employees of Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Information about the tuition reduction can be found on our Financial Assistance page.

Undergraduate SMU Yellow Ribbon Scholarships are offered as part of SMU funded aid. Scholarships that are tuition and fee specific will be reduced if SMU aid will exceed tuition and fees for a term.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at