Imagine your surprise when you log online to request funding for a class(es) you are already signed up for, only to be told the program (MyCAA) is shut down!! Funding can only be applied for 30 days prior to the start of a class. It is (or was) a great program!!
Spouses of active-duty Soldiers are taking advantage of a unique DoD stimulus package. The Department of Defense’s expanded Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program, is a timely program that provides up to $6,000 to pay for education and training programs, tuition, licensing and credentialing fees.
Once approved, spouses can use the funding toward earning associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral and post-doctoral degrees. The funding can be applied toward continuing education classes, application to the Bar Association, CPA licensure, and other similar exams, state certifications and many other costs relating to the pursuit of a professional field or career. MyCAA, however, does not pay for computers, school application fees, graduation or membership fees, student activity cards, child care, parking, transportation, or medical services.
DoD Program Pays Spouses up to $6,000 for Education
AirForceTimes spoke with Julie Thornton, an Army wife, who has been left in the lurch when MyCAA pulled the plug on funding without notice.
“I found out this morning when I logged in to have money sent to my school,” said Army wife Julie Thornton, who lives near Fort Gordon, Ga. Her education plan had been approved, and she had registered for two courses at Augusta State University. But the MyCAA program regulations require that spouses must wait until 30 days before classes start to request payment of funds to their schools. When Thornton called Military OneSource to ask what to do, she said, she was told that employees were informed at 4 p.m. Feb. 16 that the program was shutting down.
“I can’t use the application to get the funds for courses already approved,” Thornton said. She is taking refresher courses to get her teaching credentials up to date.
When she asked a Military OneSource consultant about what to do, she said, “I was told, ‘Can’t you apply for other financial assistance?’ Where else can I get funds in 30 days?”
MilitaryOneSource.com has this announcement posted on their site.
"Effective immediately the MyCAA program is temporarily halting operations. We are reviewing the software applications, financial assistance documents and overall program. This pause will not affect approved Financial Assistance documents. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause. Please check back for updates."
MilitaryOneSource did provide a link (Alternative Educational Funding Opportunities) to an extensive list of alternate sources for funding. However, as Army wife Julie Thornton pointed out......Who is going to be able to approve funding within a 30 day window?
Employees were told late in the day on February 16, 2010 that the MyCAA program was being shutdown effective immediately. No advance notice, no warnings.
Defense Department spokeswoman Air Force Maj. April Cunningham would only say that the software applications, financial assistance documents and overall program are under review and that they hope to resume accepting financial applications within a few months.
“We’re reviewing it from top to bottom to ensure the program is meeting the intent established in legislation,” she said.
So what exactly does this mean for any military spouses who were counting on this money to further their education?
In my opinion, they got the short end of the stick here! Money is tight everywhere and the $6,000 that the MyCAA program offer(ed) towards educational needs was a blessing, a small but highly useful benefit for a military spouse.
To end this program without any advance notice is highly unethical in my opinion. One does not decide to enroll for classes on a whim, signing up one day, then starting classes the next. It takes planning, especially if you are fitting classes in here and there in your already busy life as a military spouse.
Phooey on those folks who knew ahead of time (and we KNOW that they had advance warning) that the plug was going to be pulled on this program, but couldn't be bothered to inform the recipients ahead of time. A common courtesy, in my opinion, something that is sadly lacking in today's world!