New Limits to MyCAA Spouse Scholarship Program
An expanded DoD spouse tuition assistance program called MyCAA now accepts applications on a more limited basis due to funding issues.
MyCAA is now operating under new rules and restrictions, including expanding eligibility for the program (spouses of E-6s and O-3s can now apply) and a cap on approved applications for those expanded categories.
The first 1,250 applicants in the expanded eligibility categories will be approved for financial support through the MyCAA program, which provides funds to earn certificates, licenses, or associate’s degrees.
Related: VA Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance
What is MyCAA?
MyCAA, formally known as My Career Advancement Account, was originally created in 2008 to provide financial help for military spouses who want to advance their careers with a professional license, certificate, or undergraduate degree.
In 2023, the Secretary of Defense announced six initiatives to enhance the quality of life for military families, including expanded access to MyCAA programs.
- MyCAA access was expanded to include higher-ranking servicemembers, including troops with an enlisted E-6 pay grade or an officer O-3 pay grade.
- Under this expanded option, MyCAA offered up to $4000 in financial help for certification, degree, or license.
- The program, as enhanced, now permits E-1s through E-6s to apply. O-1 through O-3s
- Warrant Officer 1 and Warrant Officer 2 are also eligible pay grades.
The MyCAA scholarship today provides up to $4,000 in tuition assistance to qualifying military spouses.
Who Qualifies for MyCAA
The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program is open to military spouses whose partners are within the range of pay grades/ranks authorized for the program.
According to the MyCAA official site, military spouses “remain eligible for the financial assistance offered through the MyCAA Scholarship if their sponsor is promoted above the eligible ranks as long as the spouse has an approved Education and Training Plan in place.”
You may qualify for MyCAA if you meet one of the following requirements. The first 1,250 approved applicants under the expanded program will receive funding on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Those with military spouses in pay grades up to E-6 and up to O-3
- Spouses of National Guard or Reserve troops in the pay grades listed above.
- Spouses who have completed high school or have a GED.
- Spouses with financial assistance approved before the active-duty service member’s date of separation or the active-duty service member’s release from Title 10 orders.
The MyCAA official site also lists those NOT eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship. They include but may not be limited to:
- Spouses married to service members in pay grades E-7 and above, W-3 and above, and O-4 and above, unless these spouses qualify under certain exceptions.
- Spouses currently on Title 10 orders.
- Spouses who are married but legally separated from a service member on Title 10 orders.
- Spouses whose National Guard or reserve military spouse “is in a warning orders/alert, post-deployment/demobilization or transition” status.
- Spouses who are “unable to apply for financial assistance while their military sponsor is on Title 10 orders or before the sponsor’s date of separation.”
Related: Do I Qualify for Military Education Benefits?
Early Attempts at MyCAA
In the program’s earliest days, spouses were offered up to $6,000 in tuition. There were no limits on rank, type of degree, etc.
But the program was too successful; approximately 130 thousand military spouses applied. MyCAA was overwhelmed by the number of applicants and closed the program to new applications two years after it launched.
MyCAA returned in 2011 with restrictions. There were limits (by military rank) on who could apply, and there was a $4000 cap on funding per applicant.
The program was also changed to pay only for training and licensure in specific career fields. For the next six years, MyCAA was operating at a reduced demand; there were some 40% fewer applicants under the new restrictions.
Certain changes in the wake of those adjustments included adding Coast Guard spouses to the eligibility list and ending the limits on career fields.
Today, the program is expanded to more ranks (see below) and is capped at the first 1,250 approved applications within the expanded categories. According to an email sent to MyCAA account holders, the program is limited to the first 1,250 approved applications in the newly expanded categories; those in pay grades E-6 or O-3.
Related: Military Benefits Guide: Spouses and Dependents
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.