Agreement with Department of Veterans Affairs significantly reduces tuition for service members
Belmont University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have signed a voluntary agreement to significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for qualified veterans, their spouses and dependents to earn college degrees.
Through Belmont’s enhanced Yellow Ribbon Program, which takes effect Aug. 1, the University and the federal government each will pay 50 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for eligible recipients as deemed by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program allows qualified students to attend school at little-to-no tuition and fee costs.
Per academic year, Belmont University is providing equitable contributions for students according to the costs of their academic programs: law students up to $17,000; pharmacy students up to $14,000; graduate business students up to $9,000; students in traditional undergraduate programs up to $8,000; and students enrolled in University College adult degree programs up to $5,000. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will match Belmont’s giving. The federal department also pays a monthly housing allowance according to the institution’s zip code and annual book stipend up to $1,000.
“Our Yellow Ribbon Program is the most comprehensive tuition assistance program a private university can offer service members who have fought in wars, been stationed overseas and labored in other forms of active duty,” said Associate Registrar La Kiesha Armstrong, who is heading Belmont’s Yellow Ribbon Program. “This new agreement will offer increased resources to members of the military and their family members to make higher education affordable and obtainable.”
Since the program’s inception in 2009, Belmont’s Yellow Ribbon participant enrollment has increased 113 percent. Degree-seeking students previously received a 20 percent waiver of traditional tuition costs. Belmont University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs entered an agreement May 23 to increase each institution’s contribution to 50 percent of tuition and fees per qualified student.
“For me it has made life a lot less stressful so that I do not have to worry about where funds will come from,” said Lacey Tankersley, who served five years in the U.S. Air Force and has been a recipient of the Yellow Ribbon Program since its inception. “Most students have $40,000 to $60,000 of debt, whereas I have taken out only $12,000 in loans. The Yellow Ribbon helped me out because I didn’t have to take out a bigger loan.”
Tankersley, of Spray, Ore., is studying music business and will graduate in December.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is for students who served on active duty for at least three years after Sept. 11, 2001 and received an honorable discharge. A student’s eligibility is determined by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Belmont University registrars and financial aid administrators will work with students to determine their individual financial awards. Benefit amounts vary according to the cost of the academic program.
More information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill can be found on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.