What is the MyCAA Military Spouse Scholarship and How Does it Work?
As all military spouses know, it’s tough to hold down a stable career when you move around frequently. But as long as your partner is an Active Duty military member, those Permanent Change of Stations aren’t going to stop... which means it’s up to you to adapt your career plans around constant moves.
For many, starting a career that works around a busy schedule means additional training to earn a certification or gain a new skillset. Continuing your education isn’t always free though. And finding the time to learn is tough if you have little ones at home or hold a part time job.
Luckily, the Department of Defense recognized this dilemma and stepped up to help you further your career through a program called MyCAA!
Offered through the DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship is what’s known as a workforce development program. Its benefit is simple — it gives qualified military spouses up to $4,000 in tuition assistance, which they can apply to a variety of adult education programs aimed at helping them get ready for a successful portable career. So, who qualifies for the money and who doesn’t? Primarily, MyCAA was made for spouses of junior Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve members on Title 10 orders, within the pay grades of:
If this is you, you will need to have finished high school to request tuition assistance.
Spouses who don’t qualify include legally separated spouses, spouses under a state court order, Coast Guard spouses, and Guard or Reserve spouses whose sponsor is on warning orders, alert, post-deployment, demobilization, or transition.
Per the program brochure, MyCAA pays:
Great, but what about spouses who aren’t doing an associate degree? Don’t worry, MyCAA also pays for:
In addition, MyCAA also covers the cost of:
Clearly MyCAA is very explicit about what it will pay for, but what will it not pay for? The complete list is long and detailed, but a few things it doesn’t cover are: books, supplies, equipment, uniforms, electronic devices, activities or events, prepayments or deposits, college level entrance exams, reimbursements, fees, employer training, personal enrichment classes, study abroad, child care, private licenses, high school equivalency programs, or lodging, to name just a few!
There are numerous career options available to use the scholarship on, such as:
These occupations all fit into what is called a portable career, which means a career that can travel with you.
Spouses sign up by creating an account on the secure MyCAA website, using DS Logon credentials. To obtain this login, qualified spouses will need to be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
Once you’re logged into MyCAA, you’ll set up a profile and go through the easy online steps to establish an Education and Training Plan.
This plan covers your specific career goals, which classes you want to take, and information about the institution where you want to take them. Within 10 business days of submitting your plan, you should get an answer back saying if it was approved.
Once approved, you’ll request the financial assistance for the classes, and MyCAA does the rest! They will send your tuition to the school, so you never have to bother with that part.
The MyCAA tuition assistance amount is capped at $2,000 per fiscal year, but waivers can be requested in situations where a licensure or certificate program has a large upfront cost. The maximum benefit, as mentioned, is $4,000. Spouses can spread the benefit over the course of three years, if needed.
So, what do you think? Is MyCAA legit? Absolutely! Is MyCAA worth it? It is if you want free money invested directly into your education, so you can pursue a portable career that you love!
In fact, even spouses who don’t qualify for the scholarship can still take advantage of free career counseling. For more information about getting started with MyCAA, contact us.
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