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Military and Veterans

Point of Contact

Jenna Hunt, Assistant Registrar, is Swarthmore College's point of contact for support services for veterans, military service members, and their families.

Veterans Benefits

Veterans wanting to explore using Veterans Affairs Education benefits should start by reading about benefits on the website.  GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Fee waiver: Veterans and active-duty service members do not need to pay the $60 application fee when submitting an Admissions application to Swarthmore College.

Some late penalties waived: In compliance with the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-407) veterans benefits beneficiaries covered as a result of using Ch. 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill or Ch. 31 VC&E benefits, who have met enrollment certification requirements with the Registrar's Office have, without penalty, up to 90 days after the enrollment certification is done to satisfy their financial obligations to the college. In order for the college to complete enrollment certification, the student must submit the following to the Registrar's Office, but not later than the first day of classes: a certificate of eligibility for entitlement to the Ch. 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill or Ch. 31 VC&E benefits; and a written request to have their semester enrollment certified in order to receive benefits.

To receive U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits, eligible Swarthmore students must submit a copy of the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) -- either the official letter or, if available, the “Post-9/11 GI Bill® Statement of Benefits” -- to the Swarthmore College School Certifying Official in the Registrar’s Office. Faxed, scanned copies or legible phone photos are acceptable if confirmation has been received by the student from the Registrar’s Office that the document is legible.

To receive benefits in a given semester, eligible students must request in writing, to the Registrar’s Office, that you want to have your enrollment certified to the VA. Requests normally should be made on or shortly before the first week of classes each semester. Email the Registrar's Office and expect a reply to confirm that we got your request. We certify enrollment to the VA in the third week of classes, after our drop/add period is over.

The request for certification of enrollment should please clarify if the student also intends to receive the Yellow Ribbon benefit, see below.

Swarthmore College Yellow Ribbon Program

Swarthmore College permits up to three (3) students per year to receive Yellow Ribbon benefits (3 starting August 2017).

How long is the Swarthmore queue? As of August 2020, there were three students in the Yellow Ribbon queue. The number of students in the queue is normally determined in August every year. The number in the queue can exceed three, but only three Swarthmore students can receive Yellow Ribbon benefits under Swarthmore College policy. See more on the queue below.

The Swarthmore Yellow Ribbon benefit amount is up to $5,000 per year over both semesters of study. The benefit is awarded at up to $2,500 in the fall semester of certified benefits-eligible enrollment, and the remainder of the $5,000 is awarded in the spring semester of certified benefits-eligible enrollment. Swarthmore Registrar’s Office maintains a queue of eligible interested students. More information on the queue can be found below.

Yellow Ribbon is a matching program between Swarthmore and the VA to make up all or part of the difference between what the Post-9/11 GI Bill® l pays and the unmet tuition and fees charges (see the VA's FAQ about Yellow Ribbon on the website). Please note that since the VA normally pays the regular Post-9/11 benefit up to its cap, usually in the first semester, the Yellow Ribbon benefit in the fall semester is likely to be lower than in the spring semester.

Participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program is determined annually, normally over the summer, and begins in the fall semester (only).

Each semester, normally on or before the beginning of the semester, eligible students must request in writing certification of enrollment from the Swarthmore Registrar’s Office to the VA.

Students should note that VA payments may be less than the maximum if the student doesn't have enough entitlement to receive payment for the entire term. For more information, see the website.

Yellow Ribbon Eligibility Requirements

Only Veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, as determined by service requirements, or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty Servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program. Child transferees of active duty Servicemembers may be eligible if the Servicemember is qualified at the 100 percent rate. Participation is limited to the maximum number of individuals according to school policy, as stated in the participation agreement. Certification of enrollment to VA is required in order to be eligible. More information is available on the website.

Students must submit a copy of the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) letter to the School Certifying Official in the Registrar’s Office. Faxed, scanned copies or legible phone photos are acceptable if confirmation has been received from the Registrar’s Office that the document is legible. Submission of the COE does not guarantee Yellow Ribbon benefits, it merely puts the student in the Swarthmore queue for Yellow Ribbon eligibility.

The first three students in the Swarthmore queue can receive, depending on VA benefits eligibility and enrollment at Swarthmore, the Yellow Ribbon benefit, and the rest of the students in the queue are on the waitlist in the order their COE was received.

The Yellow Ribbon Queue

Federal law states that Yellow Ribbon awards to eligible individuals must be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Matriculated students will be placed in the queue based on the date they present to the Registrar's Office the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE), indicating Yellow Ribbon eligibility. The COE can be either the official letter or, if available, the “Post-9/11 GI Bill® Statement of Benefits” indicating Yellow Ribbon eligibility.

To be eligible for the Swarthmore queue, students must be matriculated degree candidates; matriculation normally starts when the admitted student pays their enrollment deposit. First-year students must be expected to be enrolled (not deferred for a gap year). Transfer students who may have been on a Yellow Ribbon queue elsewhere start over at Swarthmore, like any other new student; the previous school's decision has no bearing on the Swarthmore queue.

COE’s (or, if available, the “Post-9/11 GI Bill® Statement of Benefits”) are date and time stamped by the Registrar’s Office upon receipt in order to determine a student’s place in the Yellow Ribbon queue. Faxed, scanned copies or legible phone photos of the COE are acceptable so long as students get confirmation from the Registrar’s Office that the document is legible. Please note, phone calls or email inquiries will not hold a place in the queue.

Place in the queue is based on the date of receipt of the COE and the student remaining eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon benefits according to both VA rules and Swarthmore rules. Students do not have to use VA benefits to keep their place in the queue. A student’s place in the queue ends if VA eligibility ends, or upon graduation, withdrawal, or failure to maintain satisfactory progress, conduct, or continuous enrollment, per school policies.