Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation, a research group, released a study that military spouses are NOT using scholarship programs that are aimed to help assist the community with college.
Particularly, a majority of military spouses didn’t know about the MyCAA (Military Spouse Career Advancement Account) Program.
As military spouses, we experience multiple moves, deployments, TDYs and any other unexpected surprises that come our way. Because separation often times keeps military spouses busy holding down the fort, college might take a backseat.
Also, college is pretty dang expensive and scholarships are critical to help with tuition. I speak for myself when I say I wouldn’t have been able to finish my college education without scholarship programs. Last school year, the College Board reported that the average cost of tuition for state residents is more than $9,000 and almost $23,000 for out-of-state residents. In addition, if you wanted to attend a private university, tuition is more than $30,000.
Tuition is really intimidating and might have hindered a lot of spouses from attaining their bachelor’s degrees. But, just like the RAND study exposed, military spouses don’t know what’s out there. It’s important to share the message and pass along the details of MyCAA.
MyCAA was created for military spouses by the DoD, so they can pursue a meaningful education and attain portable careers. The goal of MyCAA is to work with a spouse’s military lifestyle and to ease the financial burden of a college, but less than 1/5 of eligible military spouses use MyCAA. MyCAA provides payment for obtaining appropriate licensing or certificates needed for certain jobs.
To be eligible for MyCAA, military spouses need to be married to active duty service members (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) at the following pay grades: E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2.
Guard and Reserve spouses can use MyCAA if they start and complete their classes while their service member has Title 10 orders.
The RAND study highlights that one of the main causes for not using the MyCAA program is because a lot of military spouses think they don’t qualify or are time limited. It also found that newer military spouses didn’t know MyCAA existed.
Military OneSource counselors are available to military spouses that have questions or need guidance with MyCAA. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to someone, especially if you’re thinking about a career change or continuing your education.
Even if you aren’t eligible for MyCAA, there are so many other military spouses out there that would benefit from this amazing program, so be sure you keep it in mind for others.