Paycheck Chronicles

MyCAA: College Money for Military Spouses

MyCAA:  College Money for Military SpousesIt's been a while since we've talked about the MyCAA program here at The Paycheck Chronicles - more than a year! It's an amazing program, and it has been underused in the last few years, so it is a great time to make sure that everyone knows about it.

MyCAA is a Department of Defense-funded program that offers financial aid for education to military spouses whose sponsor is in the ranks of E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2. It offers up to $4,000 total ($2,000 per year maximum) for tuition costs for education and training courses and examinations leading to:

  • a license,
  • certification,
  • certificate, or
  • associate degree (excluding associate degrees in General Studies, Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies that do not have a concentration),
from a participating accredited college, university or technical school in the United States, or an approved testing organization.

In addition to funding, the MyCAA program offers counseling to help identify career goals and educational paths to reach those goals.  Counseling services  also help figure out how to cover the rest of the costs of education, such as books, computers, supplies, child care, and transportation) using federal, state, and local resources.

After completing the required education, MyCAA also provides a database of employers to help with the career search.

MyCAA is a great benefit to help some spouses pursue their educational goals, but I have noticed something interesting.  If you do an internet search for "MyCAA," the first handful of results are paid advertisements for for-profit colleges and training programs.  There are almost no references to using it at traditional, non-profit schools.  It is important to understand that MyCAA has many participating educational institutions, including most local community colleges.  While there are some quality for-profit schools, traditional, non-profit choices are typically less expensive and enjoy a better reputation in the employment world.

If you've been thinking about continuing your education, and have wondered how you would pay for it, MyCAA might be part of the solution.  Definitely check it out!

More details about the MyCAA program and other educational benefits can be found in the Education Center.

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