My Career Advancement Account Changes
The My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) provided $6,000 over two years to military spouses to fund their educational pursuits. In February 2010, without warning, the program was halted leaving thousands of spouses without an explanation.
Recently, it was announced that the program will open again on October 25, 2010. However, it involves significant changes to the program and will still leave thousands of spouses, who were previously approved for the program, searching for funding to complete their educational goals.
First, the program has been reduced from $6,000 over two years to $4,000 over three years. Second, the program is now only available to spouses of E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. If your spouse is of a higher rank, you’re out of luck. Finally, the program no longer funds degree-level programs. If you want a certificate or technical training, the program will pay. But if you’re after your degree, keep looking for education funds.
The military blogosphere exploded with comments from angry spouses. In addition to the reduction in benefits, many spouses are being cut from the program all together because of their spouse’s rank.
Officials maintain the assistance is going to those who need it most. But spouses of lower ranking military members are more likely to qualify for income-based scholarships and grants – something spouses of higher ranking military members are also prevented from obtaining.
According to the Department of Defense, the point of the program is to help spouses create a portable career as is needed when someone is married to a military member.
However, the new rules prevent career spouses from participating in the program while allowing those who may be spouses of one-time enlistees access to funding. It also dictates the types of education that will be offered and, as many spouses have complained, the covered programs do not result in a portable career.
Spouses with classes already approved will be reimbursed but after the new start date, ineligible spouses will not be covered.
The Navy Times estimates this will leave more than 70,000 spouses searching for funds to complete their education.
Officials urge spouses to begin the search as the program is unlikely to change and there are no plans for an additional program to cover those ineligible for MyCAA.