Being a military spouse comes with a lot of pride for the sacrifices your service member makes but a lot of unique challenges as well. If you’ve made the decision to go back to school, one of those challenges is paying for school. Luckily, there are several funding options military spouses can use to go back to school, find a better job, and earn more money.
This is one of the best options for military spouses. The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program offers eligible military spouses $4,000 in financial assistance for approved programs. If you want to pursue a license, certificate, or even an associate’s degree, MyCAA can help. This funding has a cap of $2,000 per year, but that cap can be waived under certain circumstances.
Programs you’re applying for must be MyCAA approved in order for you to use your funding. The MyCAA program is intended to help military spouses quickly prepare for a career that will have opportunities no matter where they PCS, which is why programs must be approved. Many careers that fit this qualification are in the healthcare, technology, and administration industries.
With MyCAA funding, the program you choose must be completed within 3 years, and MyCAA does not provide assistance for a bachelor’s degree or higher. It also will not cover books, supplies, any equipment, or uniforms you may need—it is strictly meant to cover your tuition costs. There are also some rank restrictions. Spouses of service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2 are eligible for MyCAA funding. You can learn more about the MyCAA program in our quick reference MyCAA infographic. If you qualify for MyCAA funding, check with your schools to make sure your program is MyCAA approved.
Post 9/11 GI Bill
This is one of the most popular education funding options for military members and their families. While the bill is primarily meant for service members, there is a special provision in the program that allows military personnel to transfer unused benefits to immediate family members. This means spouses or children can take advantage of the bill. To transfer the bill, service members need to have served 6 years and agree to serve 4 more.
Military spouses can use GI Bill benefits for up to 15 years after the military member’s service is completed, and it provides up to 36 months of education benefits. The amount of funding varies, but the max allowance for public schools is all tuition and fees paid for an in-state student and up to $19,000 per academic year for a private or foreign school.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill funding can be used for flight training, undergraduate and graduate degrees, licensing and certification reimbursement, and national testing reimbursement. The bill can also provide a monthly housing allowance and provide you with an annual books and supplies stipend.
The Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance
The DEA program gives educational benefits for up to 45 months and is available to dependents of certain veterans. Eligible recipients include children and spouses of permanently and totally disabled veterans (disability must be a service-connected), personnel missing in action, veterans captured or forcibly detained in the line of duty, or those who have passed away in the line of duty.
Eligible spouses must use the benefits within 10 years from the date of election or from the date of death of the veteran. If you are a son or daughter looking to receive these benefits, you have to be between the ages of 18 and 26 years old. This assistance covers refresher courses, degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.
State-Sponsored Benefits and Private Funding
There are also education benefits provided to spouses and children of deceased, MIA, or POW military personnel as well as disabled veterans. There are over $300 million in private scholarships and grants available to military spouses and families of military personnel and veterans.
Your education is important, and if you are a military spouse looking to either go back to school or enroll for the first time, there are plenty of options for funding. The one thing to remember is to do your research. If you qualify for one of these programs, make sure the school or institution will accept the funding. You can visit CareerStep.com/mycaa-program to find out more about military funding options.