Veterans can attend University College tuition-free

University College, the adult, evening and continuing education division at Washington University in St. Louis, allows eligible U.S. veterans to attend University College with no out-of-pocket expenses for tuition or fees as part of the Yellow Ribbon program.

Through the program, the federal government matches any financial aid that participating colleges pledge to eligible veterans above the base educational benefits in the new G.I. Bill. Based on University College’s 50 percent matching contribution, students who are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program can receive a full scholarship.


For U.S. veteran Robbie Garrison, ­attending University College tuition-free was a dream come true. “One of my goals was to attend Washington University,” said Garrison, a first-generation college student. “I was not sure how I would afford it, until I learned about the Yellow Ribbon Program.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program ­allows degree-granting institutions of higher learning in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the U.S. ­Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition ­expenses for veterans.

From 2001 until 2005, Garrison served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation ordnanceman with Fighter ­Squadron 213. “We deployed ­onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt to the ­Mediterranean Sea in support of ­Operation Iraqi ­Freedom in 2003,” he says.

In a 2011 feature in the Washington University alumni magazine, Garrison described his University College experience as warm and supportive. “I feel as if the support staff at the university is personally invested in my success,” he said “Plus, I am learning from some of the brightest minds in the world.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows degree-granting institutions of higher learning in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses for eligible veterans.

“University College is ideally situated to provide continuing educational opportunities to eligible U.S. veterans,” said Robert E. Wiltenburg, PhD, dean of University College.

“We have the richest variety of courses and programs in the St. Louis region, and, to take a couple of examples, our Master’s in International Affairs and Bachelor’s in Global Leadership and Management, along with the depth of our language offerings, make University College well positioned to meet the needs of our military students,” Wiltenburg said.

Details and eligibility guidelines for Post-9/11 benefits, including the Yellow Ribbon Program, can be found on the military information page of the University College website.

About University College

Originally founded in 1853 to serve the diverse educational needs of the St. Louis area, Washington University continues to grow and thrive more than 150 years later. The first educational step of the fledgling university, on Oct. 22, 1854, was to establish an evening program. Washington University Extension, addressing the needs of local teachers, was begun in 1908, and, after much expansion and diversification, became University College in 1931. Then and since, people of all ages attend Washington University through University College, earning associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, or certificates, or taking courses for personal enrichment. For more information about University College, visit or call (314) 935-6700.