Veterans and Active Military

The University of Pennsylvania has welcomed members of the military since our founding and many of history’s finest military leaders have earned their degree at Penn. From our decorated alumni to our esteemed NROTC program, Penn embraces those who serve our country. As a veteran in the CBE program, you can expect the highest quality Ivy League education in an institution that values your background. Penn proudly honors the Yellow Ribbon Program and Pennsylvania National Guard Educational Assistance Program and is a Leadership Scholar ProgramWarrior Scholars Project, and FourBlock affiliate institution.

While studying at the University of Pennsylvania, you have access to academic support services that can make your transition into higher education as smooth as possible. Along with world-class facilities, professors on the forefront of their field and programs built to fit each student’s needs, you will find that veterans are truly a part of the fabric of Penn. The character and leadership experiences that military students and alumni bring to CBE programs and the entire SEAS community is invaluable. We support our military students with several programs including:

Student support services

Penn Yellow Ribbon Program

In accordance with the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill®, The University of Pennsylvania will help cover the costs of tuition for undergraduate and graduate programs offered through Penn, SEAS, and CBE. The Yellow Ribbon Program allows Penn to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition expenses for eligible veterans.

Schools and programs at Penn have committed funds to the Yellow Ribbon Program, with a designated number of openings available at each school. The VA will match Penn’s commitment. The combined Penn award and VA match cannot exceed the difference between the recipient’s actual tuition charges and the recipient’s basic Post-9/11 tuition benefit. Students receiving VA education benefits are required to disclose other scholarships and grants (including any departmental, Penn, or outside organizations, such as an employer) to Student Registration & Financial Services for review. Additional funding sources may require adjustments to benefit eligibility.

Federal law states that Yellow Ribbon awards must be made on a first-come, first-served basis. SRFS maintains a queue of applicants based on the date a student submits their VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Phone calls and email inquiries do not hold you a place in the queue.

Penn Veterans Upward Bound Program

The TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program hosted by the University of Pennsylvania is a FREE, college preparatory program for eligible veterans federally funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The program offers college preparatory services to include academic assessment, advising, and counseling; non-credited academic classes and tutoring; college access; and educational support services. The program is intended to encourage, empower, and acclimatize college-bound veterans for the rigors of post-secondary education and training. The primary goal of VUB is to fully prepare eligible veterans to enter the college of their choice, be successful in college, and to graduate from college.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic 

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania provides no-cost, high-quality, integrated behavioral health care for veterans and/or their family members in an independent, private setting. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for military families and veterans, including those from the National Guard and Reserves, regardless of role or discharge status.

Penn Career Services for Veterans

Career Services specializes in advising Penn students and alumni with career exploration, resumes, CVs, cover letters and correspondence, interviewing, networking, mentoring, graduate school applications, jobs, and internships. The program also hosts a variety of workshops, career fairs and recruiting events. They also provide veteran-specific job and internship databases, as well as other resources.

Penn’s leave of absence policy

Should you need to withdraw from your studies due to active military service, CBE will support you in your re-entry to academics.

Students may request a Leave of Absence for up to two years or four academic semesters, after which time, students must reapply for admission. Reasons for requesting a Leave of Absence include personal, medical, military, and family leave. Time spent in the military service and medical cases do not count under the time limit. Reinstatement is dependent upon departmental and SEAS approval. While on a Leave of Absence, students may still utilize the library and/or recreational facilities by requesting and paying a special service fee. RAS can help facilitate this process.

Veteran and active military groups at Penn

University of Pennsylvania Student Veteran Association (UPSVA)

University of Pennsylvania Student Veteran Association (UPSVA) is the student organization for current and former military members affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

The Wharton Veterans Club

The Wharton Veterans Club is deeply committed to assisting transitioning service members and veterans who are interested in pursuing an MBA. Our members take great pride in our military service and are extremely proud to be a part of the Wharton community. We believe the best way to continue serving is by giving back to others

Penn Naval ROTC

University of Pennsylvania’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps prides itself on its rich history and training program. With more than sixty-five years of experience, the University of Pennsylvania Naval ROTC program seeks to train the most technically and tactically proficient officers to serve in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Through hard work, perseverance and the help of our highly trained officers, students can earn a commission into the world’s strongest navy.

Penn Law’s Service Members and Veterans’ Legal Assistance Project

In 2011, Penn Law students founded the Service Members and Veterans Legal Assistance Project (SVLAP) to provide targeted and useful resources to Philadelphia’s veterans and service members in need of civil legal assistance. SVLAP also supports attorneys in Philadelphia who have made it a priority to serve veterans in our community.

Additional Military & Veteran Resources

Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP)

Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) administers this tuition assistance program for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard for a period of 6 years. To be considered for the Pennsylvania National Guard Educational Assistance Program (EAP), you must:

  • Be a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Be enrolled in a degree- or certificate-granting program of study at an approved Pennsylvania institution

In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed into law House Bill 1324, known as the PA GI Bill, which created a program allowing spouses and children of Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) members to attend college at no or reduced cost. The PA GI Bill, or Military Family Education Program, is the first program of its kind in the nation.

Pennsylvania National Guard Military Family Education Program (MFEP)

Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PHEAA administers this tuition assistance program for dependents (spouses and children) of PA Guard Members who enter into an additional 6-year service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship for Military Veterans and Spouses

Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship for Military Veterans and Spouses Tillman Scholars program supports our nation’s active-duty service members, veterans, and military spouses by investing in their higher education. The scholarship covers educational expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living expenses. But scholars receive much more than just funding. Our program unites the best talent and leadership in the military to make a significant impact in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education and the arts.

Each individual scholarship award is based on the applicant’s unique financial need. The average award is $10,000 per academic year.

FourBlock Career Readiness Program

In addition to existing Penn career services, student veterans have enhanced opportunities through FourBlock—a blended online and in-person veteran career readiness program made up of Fortune 500 companies, top universities, and high potential veterans.

The Leadership Scholar Program (LSP)

The Leadership Scholar Program (LSP) was formed to support the admission of qualified Marines to four year, not-for-profit colleges and universities across the nation. LSP helps exceptional Marines who want to pursue their education at highly selective schools after they transition out of the Marine Corps, with an emphasis on junior enlisted Marines.

Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP)

Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) is a transition program consisting of a series of highly intensive, totally immersive, one- and two-week college-preparatory academic boot camps hosted at America’s top colleges and universities. These boot camps are exclusively for current and former enlisted service members who are intent upon pursuing higher education. With the exception of travel, these courses are offered at no cost to the student-veteran participant. In 2015, Warrior-Scholar STEM Project launched an expanded version of its classic one-week, humanities course by adding a two-week course with the second week of instruction focused on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum. During this two-week course, the first week of instruction focused on the established humanities curriculum. The second week shifted to a STEM curriculum and focused on the foundational concepts of physics (including two-dimensional motion and Newtonian gravity), which are generally taught in introductory college physics and essential for success in all STEM majors.

“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 website at