Notre Dame steps up support for military-connected students

Author: Sue Ryan

Photo By Barbara Johnston-University Of Notre DamePhoto By Barbara Johnston-University Of Notre Dame

Long recognized as a leader in training students preparing for military careers, and as a partner to the United States military, the University of Notre Dame has once again strengthened its commitment to those who serve thanks to the expansion of the University’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

Starting with the 2020-21 academic year, the Notre Dame Yellow Ribbon Program will ensure each military-connected student receives the full potential U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs match. Currently, more than 300 military-connected students are enrolled at Notre Dame, and based on eligibility more than one-third of those students receive benefits through this program.

“In addition to having one of the nation’s largest ROTC programs other than service academies and military colleges, Notre Dame has educated generations of veterans and their families,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “These military-connected students enrich our academic community with their diverse experience and strength of character. More than 15,000 Notre Dame graduates have entered military service in the past 77 years, and our commitment to serving veterans and their families remains a foundational aspect of our University culture.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program allows colleges and universities to enter into a voluntary agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to contribute funds to a veteran’s unmet tuition and fees when these expenses exceed the amount payable under Chapter 33. The program applies to eligible students including veterans, dependents, children and spouses pursuing degrees.

“This level of support is unique among highly selective institutions and is a critical piece of infrastructure necessary to recruit and retain top veteran students,” said Regan Jones, director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, a department the University launched in 2017. “Most importantly, this program reflects Notre Dame’s commitment to those who serve or have served, and their family members.”

Jones estimated that the institutional commitment to support a military-connected student with a Yellow Ribbon scholarship is $17,391 on average. “We are grateful to the alumni, family and friends who have stepped up to make this institutional commitment possible,” he said.

Notre Dame has a long-standing relationship with the armed forces. During World War II, more than two-thirds of the Notre Dame student body enlisted, and a Navy program hosted on campus trained 12,000 officers. After the war, Vetville, a housing complex to accommodate veterans returning to school with their families, was built near where the Hesburgh Library now stands.

In the 1950s, Notre Dame was among the first universities to host all three ROTC branches of the military. Outside of the military academies, Notre Dame’s ROTC program is among the national leaders in graduating commissioned officers.

To learn more about the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, visit More information about the Notre Dame Yellow Ribbon Program can be found at

This article originally appeared on Notre Dame News on June 3, 2020.