GI Bill, the yellow ribbon program, and top universities

When I was researching colleges and the top schools with yellow ribbon programs I found it interesting how some of the school have a very limited match in there yellow ribbon program, possibly leaving the GI Bill user with a large tuition bill to pay. Anyway I listed some of the schools below and their yellow ribbon limitations for undergraduates.

Numbers of students allowed in yellow ribbon program/amount of dollar match from the school.

For clarification the yellow ribbon program is where the college matches the VA dollar for dollar to cover the full tuition (normally the GI Bill only covers the average national tuition for private universities).

Unlimited/Unlimited (the best deal for GI Bill recipients, essentially a full ride if accepted)
Dartmouth (only Ivy in this category)

Cornell 100 students max

Harvard - $5000 match
Stanford - $3000 match
Yale - $10000 match
Columbia - $9000 match
Princeton - $4000 match
Vanderbilt - $6000 match
Rice - $9896 match

Penn 50 students max/$10000 match
Penn SEAS 6 students max/$4000 match
Brown 50 students max/$10000 match
Caltech 10 students max/$3000 match
JHU (Whiting or Krieger schools) - 20 students max/$5000 match
Duke (Engineering - 2, A&S 17)/$5000 match

MIT - no yellow ribbon program for undergrad

As a result you can be left with a very large tuition bill for those schools that don’t match or have matches less than $10K.

Do you happen to know if some of these schools cover the difference with aid?

MIT makes the promise that they’ll ensure you won’t be sitting atop a mountain of debt after graduation.
Link here:

The schools that claim need-blind admission, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Emory, and Princeton, all supposedly offer full-need financial aid.

If anyone can elaborate on this, please chime in. I honestly do not know if financial aid of this type works the way I think it does.

First, all the schools above meet full financial need. These are two separate things so consider the GI Bill like a merit scholarship. The schools will fill the gap as stated above between the max amount the GI would normally pay and the full cost of tuition for the school. For MIT if you have an expected family contribution (EFC) of 0, then they would cover the rest. If it’s not zero then you would be expected to cover the rest minus whatever the GI bill covers.

Total for MIT ~ 70k
GI bill at MIT covers ~ 36k

Leaving 34k, if EFC is 20k then your expected to cover 20k of the 34k. MIT covers the rest.

If you went to UChicago/Dartmouth/Northwestern you would pay nothing no matter what your EFC.

MIT can make all the promises it wants but if your EFC is $34K a year than MIT expects you to contribute that much. If your EFC is 0 then save your GI bill for grad school since MIT will cover the full cost of attendance.

Clear as mud? :frowning:

As @CU123 stated, the schools treat GI bill like merit aid meaning it doesn’t help. Your net will not be any better by using GI Bill. At least at one time, U Penn stated on their website that it was better to take their aid and save GI Bill for grad school because there was no benefit.

Ironically, NYU is a school that shakes out decent on GI Bill, especially compared to their low aid. They are unlimited/$10,000 but their tuition is $10,000 less than Columbia. Any school in a high BAH zip code has an advantage (NYC, Boston, Palo Alto, etc.). Now, that advantage goes away if the school doesn’t have sufficient on campus housing for four years.

2017 reimbursement rate is $22,805 for private schools. So for example, NYU would be $42,805. NYC BAH for E-5 w/o dependents is $3,567. 9 months BAH is $32,184 for a total reimbursement of $74,989 per academic year.

Yes if you have a high EFC, use the GI Bill, if not hold onto it for grad school. Most instances of high EFC is when the GI bill is transferred to a child. FYI, most of the matriculations to top universities who are on the GI Bill are children of vets.