VA Benefits FAQ

Answers to common questions about VA benefits at Penn.

You may also benefit from reviewing the NASFAA Tip Sheet for Servicemembers and Veterans

Please contact the University’s School Certifying Official at 215-898-6636 for information regarding Yellow Ribbon availability.

Yes, Penn will submit the annual Yellow Ribbon commitment to the VA. Once we receive confirmation of acceptance from the VA, our website will be updated to reflect the participation levels for the upcoming academic year.

You will not be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program until you are discharged. In addition to the Certificate of Eligibility (COE), you will need to submit a DD 214 to the Registrar’s Office. At that time, you will be placed in the program if there are spots remaining in your school of choice. Your Yellow Ribbon status will not take effect until the following semester.

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies participates in the Yellow Ribbon program at the undergraduate level. For traditional undergraduates enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, Wharton, or the Schools of Engineering or Nursing, the University Director of Financial Aid determines the participation annually. Penn has a robust financial aid program that meets 100% of need for these students. The Yellow Ribbon program would not be an added benefit for traditional undergraduate students.

Each of Penn’s 12 graduate and professional schools and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (non-traditional undergraduates) annually determine participation.

Once you submit the COE and indicate you are enrolled for the semester, the Registrar’s Office will certify your enrollment with the VA. This triggers payment for tuition and fees, basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments, and a book stipend.

The BAH and book stipend will be disbursed to your personal bank account once your enrollment is certified for the semester. The full book stipend is disbursed with your first monthly BAH payment.

If your tuition and fees exceed your eligibility, the full amount of your benefit will pay in one semester. You will not have any eligibility for tuition and fee benefits again until after August 1.

If your tuition and fees are less than your eligibility, you will receive the appropriate payment for your first semester and then any remaining eligibility in subsequent semesters until they are exhausted. After they are exhausted, your benefits will not begin again until after August 1.

Yellow Ribbon benefits are normally disbursed equally between the fall and spring semesters. It will depend on your registration and charges for a given semester.

Even though you won’t receive the tuition and fee benefits, you are still eligible for the BAH and book stipend. Once you register, please contact the Registrar’s Office and your enrollment will be certified to trigger these benefits.

The VA’s definition of an academic year is August 1 through July 31. Once you exhaust your tuition and fee benefits during that time frame, you won’t be eligible again until the following fall semester.

You can check your status on the ebenefits website. 

The benefits will reduce your financial aid package dollar for dollar. First it will reduce your self-help component of your package. This includes expected summer savings from summer earnings and work study. University grant will be reduced after all self-help has been eliminated. The benefits will not replace your parent contribution.

School Certifying Official Contact

The Office of the University Registrar
University of Pennsylvania
Franklin Building, Room 150
3451 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6273

Email: veterans@upenn.edu