Many people know about the wide variety of scholarships and funding options for active duty personnel, disabled veterans, and veterans. What many people don’t know about is the opportunity for military spouses to receive a scholarship to help pay for their education and training through a program called MyCAA.
Part of military life is the necessity for the entire family to move every few years. This can be tough on the family, and at times, it can be hard for a spouse to find a new job every time they PCS. It might feel like by the time they are settled and the spouse has found a job that works for them, it is time to move again.
Some jobs work better than others as part of the military life, and the best career a spouse of an active duty member can have is one that is portable. This means they need a career that can be done anywhere and is preferably in demand no matter where they are stationed.
My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) funding helps military spouses gain the training and experience needed, so they can have a job that can move with the family.
Less than one fifth of eligible spouses use MyCAA, and it’s important to learn more about it and see if you qualify for using MyCAA. Read these common questions about MyCAA to learn how you might qualify to use a MyCAA grant to help you continue your education.
What is MyCAA?
The My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship program, run by the Department of Defense, gives financial aid for military spouses, providing up to $4,000 to eligible military spouses who are trying to earn a license, certification, or associate degree in a variety of fields.
Spouses musty choose their field of study from a school or institution approved by the MyCAA program.
What type of degrees are covered by MyCAA?
MyCAA funding must be used for training that leads to an associate degree, licensure, certificate or certification in a portable career field, including programs like the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant program.
The concentration or major for the associate degree cannot be in general studies or in liberal arts. The exception to this rule is if the general studies or liberal arts degree has a specific concentration, like education.
As you decide if MyCAA is the right fit for you, make sure you double check with MyCAA guidelines to make sure the program you’re interested in completing is covered by MyCAA.
Who is eligible for MyCAA?
To be eligible to use the MyCAA scholarship program, you must be a spouse of an eligible member of the military, and you must have successfully completed high school.
You must be a current spouse of an active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, National Guard, or Reserve member on active deployment in pay grades E1–E5 or W1–W2. A National Guard or AGR member must be on federal Title 10 active duty orders as reported in DEERS for their spouse to be eligible for the funding.
Do military spouses get financial aid?
Financial aid through the MyCAA program is available to military spouses who have successfully completed high school.
The military servicemember must be an active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, National Guard, or Reserve member on active deployment in pay grades E1–E5 or W1–W2. A National Guard or AGR member must be on federal Title 10 active duty orders as reported in DEERS for their spouse to be eligible for the funding.
Is tuition assistance available for military spouses?
MyCAA, the My Career Advancement Account scholarship, provides military spouses up to $4,000 toward tuition for a license, certification, or associate degree in a variety of fields. Programs approved for funding through the MyCAA program must lead to high-demand, high-growth portable careers.
Spouses must work with their chosen training organization to develop an Education Training Plan, or ETP, to submit to MyCAA for approval. In order for an ETP to be approved by MyCAA, it must support the candidate’s career goal as stated in their MyCAA account.
Can I use MyCAA twice?
MyCAA will cover $2,000 of your tuition each year for two years, for a total of $4,000.
If you complete your certification or degree with the help of MyCAA, and then want to change careers again, you will not be eligible to receive coverage from MyCAA a second time. However, if you did not use up all your funds the first time,talk to your career coach to see if you can use the remaining funds with a new Education and Training Plan.
Can I use MyCAA if I already have a degree?
MyCAA does not cover bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees, so you could not use it to continue in the same line of education you have already completed. But a course being taken for a master’s degree or doctorate may be covered if the course earns a credential necessary for employment.
If you already have a degree and are not using it, or if you are looking to change your career into a field of research and study that is covered by MyCAA, you may qualify for the scholarship.
How do I get started with MyCAA?
The first step to accessing your MyCAA scholarship is to confirm that you are eligible. Make sure your spouse is on active duty and in the correct pay grades. If your spouse is not on active duty, not under Title 10 military orders, or is not in the correct pay grade, you will not be able to access a MyCAA scholarship.
Once you have determined that you are eligible, the best way to get started with MyCAA is to go to the Military One Source website. When you apply for MyCAA funding, you will need your Department of Defense Self-Service Logon information. Logon is the same process that you use to access other services online like TRICARE or MySECO.
Once you are logged in, your application process can begin, and you can get started with MyCAA. As a reminder, MyCAA does not reimburse or cover courses that are not approved. Make sure you sign up for MyCAA first, before you enroll in a program or school, to ensure that you are enrolled in a program covered by MyCAA.
As part of applying for MyCAA, you will be able to search for the best MyCAA programs in the area where you live.
What will MyCAA pay for?
MyCCA will pay for an approved program’s tuition and examination fees.
MyCCA will not pay for courses or examinations that are not included in your approved Education and Training Plan. It will also not cover:
- Bachelor’s degree courses
- Courses you have already started or completed
- Books, supplies, and equipment
- Computers or any kind of electronic device
- Activities, events, and entertainment
- Fees of any kind
- Ungraded courses
- Courses taken more than one time
- Reimbursement for completed training
MyCCA will not cover general studies, liberal arts, or some interdisciplinary associate degrees. If the associate degree or liberal arts degree does have a concentration, it may be approved. Pre-nursing programs are also not paid for, but some full nursing programs do qualify to be part of MyCAA.
Do military spouses have to pay out of state tuition?
Depending on the program or organization providing the training, you may have to pay for out of state tuition. Many certification programs and licensing degrees do not have different tuition amounts depending on residency and are a flat rate for all students.
MyCAA is military spouse tuition assistance. If you do attend an institution that requires you to pay out of state tuition, and you qualify for MyCAA, your MyCAA scholarship will cover those fees.
Can I use MyCAA and financial aid together?
Yes. Two sources of federal education benefits (MyCAA and financial aid) can be used to pay for the same course or program. The MyCAA scholarship funds are only allowed to be used on tuition costs, and you will not receive a refund on any MyCAA funds that were not used.
To avoid not using all of the allocated MyCAA scholarship, it is best if you use MyCAA as the primary form of payment and then your financial aid as the secondary option when paying for courses.
Can I use MyCAA and the GI Bill?
Yes. Your spouse can transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you, and you can use them with MyCAA funding. The MyCAA scholarship funds are only allowed to be used on tuition costs, and you will not receive a refund on any MyCAA funds that were not used, so use MyCAA funds for tuition before using GI Bill funds on tuition.
What programs will MyCAA pay for?
The MyCAA scholarship can be used to cover the tuition of programs that provide certificates, licenses, or associate degrees with a specified concentration or major leading to an approved portable career.
MyCAA does not pay for books, lodging, school supplies, or any other fees or charges that are part of the program you choose. MyCAA can only be used on tuition fees.
Do you have to pay back MyCAA if you fail?
If you fail a course (or receive a W with an associated cost, U, N or O), go to your MyCAA Spouse Portal and request a grade waiver, such as a Forgiveness Waiver or a Hardship Waiver. Schools are not generally involved in the process for a grade waiver.
If you fail a second course, your account will be permanently locked, and no further MyCAA funding will be available to you.