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MyCAA – Paused..? good news/bad news…

February 18, 2010

The shock is reverberating around the blogs and the rest of the military community – MyCAA has gone dark. The heavily touted program, that is designed to give tuition assistance to qualified military spouses to train in what the DoD calls “portable careers”, shut down with no warning at all. Counselors at the program told some applicants that they found out at 4:00 that day!

From the Navy Times|:
Defense officials have abruptly shut down the My Career Advancement Accounts, a program that gives qualified military spouses up to $6,000 in tuition assistance to help them pursue portable careers.
Officials said the MyCAA shutdown is temporary, but no date has been set for resuming operations. Officials “hope to resume accepting financial assistance applications in a few months,” Defense Department spokeswoman Air Force Maj. April Cunningham said.

Cunningham said defense officials are “reviewing the software applications, financial assistance documents and overall program,” but she offered no specific details on the reason for the sudden halt and review. “We’re reviewing it from top to bottom to ensure the program is meeting the intent established in legislation,” she said.

Cunningham said no new or pending financial assistance accounts will be approved during the review period.
Without any formal announcement of the program’s existence, nearly 133,000 military spouses have applied for the MyCAA program since it started early last year, Cunningham said. Currently, 98,000 are enrolled in courses or have been approved for tuition assistance.

Although the financial assistance no longer will be available, spouses can receive career counseling support at local installations and through Military OneSource, Cunningham said.

Reading the Times article, I had to wonder, did they NOT review it for intent, did they NOT review the program and it’s “software applications” when they put this program out there, when they encouraged us constantly to use it? Or was this a “let’s throw this out here, and we’ll see if it flies”. Is this a case of too much success, too much demand, and a lack of planning? Sounds familiar, if you’ve been following the GI Bill problems, with thousands of Veterans waiting for months for payments that were promised.

This will affect thousands of military spouses, many are registered and ready to start classes for the new semester, others are in the middle of classes – and there are questions flying. What schools will do, is another question. This hits us in the wallet and there aren’t any answers yet. There is a scramble to find alternative funding – so be patient when calling, you may be on hold for a while. If you have any sage advice or good place to look for funding, please leave us a comment

This is hitting your author, right when I was getting ready to complete my application and get started on classes as soon as a few other things fell into place. What am I going to do? Not sure – but the transfer of some of the husband’s GI Bill is looking better and better.

Update :

The Congressional Military Family Caucus
, who was contacted this morning, started asking questions for us. And this afternoon – we got this news:

“We just got word that if you have the approved document assessment paperwork, you should be okay and receive your education funding. We were told that this is truly a “pause.” The program is NOT going away. ”
thank you to the Caucus for the information and the fast response!

Stay tuned – as we get information, we’ll pass it along.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Wishful Bohemian permalink
    February 19, 2010 12:37 am

    Buh?! I had no idea! I’m a UMUC-Europe student… good thing I saw this before registering for next term. At over $200 /credit, looks like I’ll be taking next term off!

  2. February 22, 2010 9:54 am

    Thank you very much for your article, it’s been very helpful. I look forward to receiving more information.

  3. Stephanie permalink
    February 23, 2010 11:47 am

    I agree they should not have pulled the plug without forewarning. But as a financial aid administrator, and a former student in the process of paying back $20,000 in student loans, there are other ways to pay for school. The gov’t does not owe army wives an education. They have the capability to get a job, or to take student loans. The pell grant is also available. Federal financial aid can be approved in 3-5 days, so i dont know why people are saying they can’t get money in 30 days. They just don’t wait to take out loans. Suck it up–just like all of the Americans who didn’t end up married to someone in the army.

  4. February 23, 2010 7:15 pm

    Stephanie — It isn’t the fact that Army Wives feel “entitled.” I myself am paying back $80,000 in student loans. However, it’s the fact that when you are told there is going to be money, it should be there. It would be the same as being awarded financial aid, or a scholarship — no matter how big or small it is — COUNTING on that money, and then taking it away. As a financial aid administrator, you know that grants such as the pell grant, aren’t awarded to EVERYBODY. It’s not a matter of sucking it up. So let’s be honest here. I guarantee you’d be pissed if you the same situation happened to you.

  5. LAW permalink
    February 23, 2010 8:36 pm

    Stephanie – how long does it take to pay off loans when you can’t GET a job, because you are moving every two years? and when the employers take one look at your resume and figure out that you ARE a military spouse and won’t be around in a year or so.. or when you have to get that license for whatever your job is, every two or three years. MyCAA was designed to help get “portable” jobs, things that we can do when we ARE moving every two years. So to keep the middle NCOs and the young captains in the military – the ones who are leaving in droves, they decided to give grants to the spouses – that way they can actually get jobs, and their uniformed spouses don’t have to get out, so they can have a 2 job family like everyone else.


  6. dizzylizzie permalink
    February 23, 2010 11:05 pm

    thank you LAW, well said.

    time and time again, they look at my resume and see i move about every 3 years. in this military saturated area its not hard to figure out why. (i’m a spouse).
    you cant (well its much harder) to get a 4 yr degree if you move every 3. then theres the issue of “residency”. i wont even go there.

    After 12 years as a military spouse, 3 kids, and 4 deployments; i think me and every other spouse has EARNED what they’re offering us. its about time we got some recognition and support for all the hard work we do.

    i may be a military spouse but i am also a regular human being. i also deserve life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. pardon me for wanting a higher paying job than my hubands 32K/yr. pardon me for wanting to afford higher education for our children. and PARDON ME for wanting out of poverty.

    the yank of MYCAA screwed tens of thousands of spouses that jumped the hoops, got the paperwork and everything together, were told they we were good to go and then BLAM! they yank the funding, leaving us scrambling at the last minute. no warning no nothing.

    what happened to the armys “promise” to support the families? don’t tell me you’re going to do something THIS important and then just “whoopsie! my bad”
    thats how little the DOD thinks of us spouses. we’re not even worth an email warning.

    are there other grants out there? sure. but the deadlines have long past. and even if they hadnt how do we know this wont happen again? maybe you can afford a loss of $6 grand but we cant.

    for the record i doubt this shut down is temporary. its more likely than not, MYCAA ran out of funds. they grew too big too fast. if they were just really auditing there’d be no reason to freeze accounts and zero them out. audits happen in companys all the time and no accounts are zero’d out and frozen.

    • Moxie permalink
      February 24, 2010 8:44 am

      I can see how from a civilian stand point that military families get tons of aid but what they don’t realize is that we move all the time and go through deployments where those 2 parent homes suddenly become a single parent home. I’m about to have my first child and trying to get my degree so that when my husband retires I can help maintain our lifestyle if he wants to take a break and also to pay for any childcare that will be necessary when he is deployed. I would totally be open to apply to fafsa and getting other aid (though we normally make just a bit too much for any need-based aid) but as it was pointed out…most deadlines are already passed and I have just over a week to find the money to pay for the classes I had registered for only 2 days before the “pause.” With all the other problems people are facing in our current economy, there are a lot of people that won’t be able to get a loan or that can’t afford to take out another loan. Unless there is something I’ve missed I don’t know of any other financial aid that someone can get within a week so there will be a lot of spouses out there that have to drop out for at least a semester until they can secure another scholarship/grant.

    • February 25, 2010 7:48 pm

      I myself have gotten the rug pulled out from under me. I am a military spouse as well but I have been doing a little research about money from the gov’t just for military spouses. I have found one that I am going to be applying for and I don’t think there is a deadline on it . The first one is called Air Force Aid Society General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program, and just google it and it will take you to the website and there is a online application you can fill out, print and send in. I think the grant is between $2000-$3000 depending on how much money you and/or your spouse makes. Hope this helps!

  7. dizzylizzie permalink
    February 25, 2010 9:01 pm

    yes i saw that thank you lydia. i went through all 6 pages of grants/etc on the mycaa site for “alternative” funding. there was 2 i qualified for. 1 the deadline past, the other i had to pay a fee to apply. (the association of united professional women, or something of the like)

    i’m currently working on getting a protest going in norfolk. you can read about it on “take action against mycaa shutdown” on facebook here:

  8. November 11, 2010 8:23 am

    I am about to formulate my personal job since there aren’t any reliable jobs out there.

    Could any one provide any ideas or websites about how to get government grant money to begin with my personal business? I’ve been looking over the internet but each and every site asks for money and I have been previously told by the unemployment office to avoid the websites that request cash for grant info as they are rip-offs. I’d be truly grateful for any guidance.

    • libarmywife permalink
      November 11, 2010 8:59 am

      I can’t, but try National Military Spouse Network. They might have a grant writer who can steer you in the right direction.

  9. Larie permalink
    October 9, 2011 2:21 am

    I hope that if they reopen the MyCAA count that they include all military spouse in on the program not just a few. Thank you


  1. Eff You, MyCAA. [My Expanded Thoughts!]

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