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Veteran Benefits Expanding to Cover All Academic Programs

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Curt Olson


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Veterans Flag Ceremony

The Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides a tuition-free education for qualified University of Denver military veterans, is expanding to cover all graduate programs beginning in the fall quarter of 2024, DU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Clark announced on Nov. 17. Currently, the Yellow Ribbon Program covers tuition and fees for all undergraduate programs and five graduate schools.

“The University of Denver is made stronger by the service members in our community,” says Chancellor Jeremy Haefner. “With the expansion of this program, I am honored we can provide an exceptional DU education to even more veteran students and, in turn, benefit as a community from their unique skills, experiences and perspectives.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program is part of the post-9/11 GI Bill. It helps military veterans earn college degrees by paying for tuition and fees for those who want to attend out-of-state colleges, private universities and graduate schools.

Veterans classified by the Veterans Administration (VA) as 100% eligible receives financial assistance for tuition and fees. If the costs exceed that, the VA and the school split the difference in a cost-share agreement. DU voluntarily participates in the program.

Damon Vine, director of the Office of Veterans and Military Resources at DU, says the baseline eligibility qualification for the program is 36 months of active service and an honorable discharge. At DU, it will benefit students who are veterans, on active duty, reservists and dependents.

Caleb Smith, a sophomore computer science major, is one of approximately 450 DU students who use GI Bill benefits. He served for four years in the Air Force working in security forces and two more years as a trainer in the Colorado Air National Guard at Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora, Colo. Smith was honorably discharged in September 2023 but began his DU studies a year earlier with the support of the Yellow Ribbon Program. He says the process has been easy, and a DU education would have been out of reach without the program.

“Here, once you hit full time, which is 12 hours for undergraduates, it kicks in automatically,” he says. “It’s been a great benefit to be able to go to a school like DU that’s a private institution. Without it, me, or a lot of students, wouldn’t be going to DU.”

Smith first learned about the Yellow Ribbon Program while attending workshops designed to help individuals transition from the military to civilian life. As his interest in DU grew, he connected with the veterans office, where he now also works.

Smith says he is excited about the expansion of the program and hopes it attracts more veterans to the University. Once enrolled, they have access to the veteran resources office, the Student Veterans Association, and programs and services designed to support and help them integrate into the DU community.

“They come and go as they please when they get here,” Vine says of DU’s veterans. “They will find a home very quickly, and we do hope our veteran numbers will increase across the campus with this change.”

For information about the Yellow Ribbon Program or veteran’s benefits, contact the DU Office of Veterans and Military Resources.