When it comes to paying for education, free money is always welcome, right? There are unique (and even downright weird!) scholarships for everything from tall folks to female jewelry designers to lovers of asparagus. Did you know there’s also scholarship funding specifically for military spouses? Yep, it’s true. The MyCAA program provides up to $4,000 of scholarship funds for military spouses who are seeking to advance their careers through education via associate degree programs, credentials, or licenses.
In a January 2015 article, MilitaryTimes.com shared the findings of a Rand Corp. research report that stated, “Among eligible spouses who were aware of MyCAA, the main reasons they didn’t use the program were time constraints and their perceptions that they were ineligible.”
The same report found less than one-fifth of the military spouses who are eligible for the Defense Department’s scholarship program use the funds. Don’t miss out on free money—make sure you understand your MyCAA eligibility.
You Are Eligible for MyCAA Funding if:
- Your spouse is on active duty (including National Guard and reserve compliment) in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2.
- You’re able to complete your coursework while your spouse is on Title 10 military orders.
You’re Not Eligible for MyCAA Funding if:
- Your spouse receives pay grades E-6 and above, W-3 and above, or O-3 and above.
- You are a member of the armed forces yourself and are currently serving on Title 10 orders.
- You are married but legally separated.
- Your spouse’s National Guard/reserve component military sponsor is in a Warning Orders/Alert, Post Deployment/Demobilization, or Transition Status.
- You’re married to a member of the Coast Guard.
- You’re unable to start and complete your coursework while your spouse is on Title 10 orders.
Why Are Junior Military Spouses Targeted?
With limited funds available, scholarship programs have the right to determine who is eligible to receive their funding. (Yes, you really do have to measure at least 5’10” as a woman or 6’2” as a man for the tall scholarship.) Likewise, the Department of Defense has determined the previously stated requirements to ensure a fiscally responsible program. For a brief time, the DoD opened up MyCAA funding to all military spouses, but the popularity of the program threatened its long-term sustainability—it simply became too expensive to continue on that broad of scale.
MyCAA is aimed at assisting junior military spouses who are considered by the DoD to have “the greatest need.” Junior military spouses are more likely to be new to their careers and need specialized training to enhance their salary potential. They are also less accustomed to navigating the unique challenges of life for military families. MyCAA helps newer military spouses ease into portable careers and the military lifestyle.
Taking Advantage of the Perks – Katherine’s Story
As a newlywed military spouse, Katherine learned through word of mouth about the MyCAA program.
“I’m a new Navy wife, and so I didn’t know anything about the perks and benefits you can get as a spouse in the Navy,” said Katherine in a video interview.
Given the name of a Career Step recruiter, Katherine reached out and was pleasantly surprised to learn of the programs available and how her MyCAA funds would cover the cost. “It just seemed like the logical step to continue and get certified.”
She enrolled in the Career Step Medical Coding and Billing program and found ongoing support. “It’s really great to have so many avenues to get help…People (at Career Step) are looking out for your best interest.”
Free (and Discounted) Tuition with Career Step
If you are MyCAA-eligible, the entire cost of your tuition with Career Step can be covered! Don’t qualify? No worries. In honor of the sacrifice and service of military service members and their families, we are proud to offer you special military tuition discounts. These are available to all military personnel and their families. More than 13,000 military spouses have taken advantage of our flexible online career programs—call 1-855-261-7366 to see why or visit CareerStep.com/mycaa to learn more.