In order to make obtaining an education as easy and affordable as possible for members of the military community, the United States government and participating institutions of higher learning offer several programs. OKWU is a proud service member and veteran friendly school that was listed as one the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.

Here’s what you need to know about taking advantage of the numerous education benefits available to you.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill was designed to help veterans and qualified dependents pay for schooling or job training. This VA-administered program provides education benefits for those who have served on active duty for 90 or more days after Sept. 10, 2001.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has several components including:

  •       Up to 100 percent tuition and fee coverage for in-state public schools and up to the maximum national average of $22,805.34 for private or foreign schools. (Payment rates are for academic year August 1, 2017-July 31, 2018.)
  •       Up to $1000 a year for books and supplies.
  •       Monthly housing allowance based on the cost of living in your school’s ZIP code.
  •       The option to transfer the GI Bill to a spouse or child.


Note: If your release from active duty was before January 1, 2013, there is a 15-year time limitation for use of benefits. For individuals whose last discharge date is on or after January 1, 2013, the time limitation has been removed thanks to passage of The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 (the “Forever GI Bill.”)

The Yellow Ribbon Program

A key element of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program makes it easier for veterans to afford the higher costs associated with Associate, Baccalaureate, and advanced degree programs at private or out-of-state schools.

Participating schools, such as OKWU, enter into a voluntary agreement with the Veterans Administration (VA) to waive a portion of, or all of, the tuition costs in excess of the national maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill reimbursement. The VA matches the amount of the waiver and contributes that amount to the veteran’s tuition.

Veterans can use the Post-911 GI Bill to cover several different types of education programs, including undergraduate and graduate degree programs and independent and distance learning. A veteran (or dependent) qualifies for the Yellow Ribbon benefits by meeting the following requirements:

  •       Served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months.
  •       Was honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001.
  •       Is a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above.

Examples of the Yellow Ribbon Program in Action

Schools can limit the amount of tuition they waive, the number of students they choose to waive tuition for, and the specific programs they choose to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Get more information in the Yellow Ribbon Program pamphlet.

Here’s an example provided in the pamphlet linked above:

  •       You are attending a public school as an out-of-state student and your total tuition and fees for the year are $16,000. The in-state tuition and fees charged for the school are only $10,000. Your total tuition and fees exceed the amount payable under the Post-9/11 GI bill by $6,000.
  •       VA will pay a total of $10,000 to your school for your tuition and fees. You are responsible for the $6,000 charged to out-of-state students.
  •       If your school offers $3,000 in Yellow Ribbon contributions, VA will also pay $3,000 to the school, and your full amount will be paid.
  •       If your school offers $2,000 in Yellow Ribbon contributions, VA will pay $2,000 to your school, and you will be responsible for the remaining $2,000.

Another example:

  •       You want to attend a private, out-of-state university with tuition of $60,000 per year, and the school has agreed to waive $10,000 in tuition for Yellow Ribbon participants.
  •       The VA will match that $10,000, making the total tuition waived $20,000.
  •       The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays $22,805.34 (the national maximum for 2017-18), and the Yellow Ribbon Program waives $20,000, making you responsible for $17,194.66 in tuition that you can pay out of pocket or fund with financial aid.


Here’s another helpful link that goes into more detail:

Read FAQs about the Yellow Ribbon Program

Other benefits for military members

Although active duty service members and their spouses are not currently eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program, under the Forever GI Bill, they may use the program effective August 1, 2022.

Currently, spouses of active duty or activated National Guard or Reserve service members may be eligible for the Military Spouse Career Advancement benefit that offers up to $6,000 in educational tuition assistance.

Additionally, the Adult Program at OKWU proudly offers a reduced undergraduate tuition rate of $250 per credit for active duty military using TAPS (Tuition Assistance Programs) and will waive the application and registration fees for those enrolling through the Adult Programs.

For more information on everything from our service member and veteran friendly graduation program to tuition assistance for active duty personnel, contact our VA Agent, Samantha Johnson, by email:

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at OKWU, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in any field of study. For more information on how Oklahoma Wesleyan University can help you pursue your goals, please phone us at 918-335-6200 or email