MyCAA — Up & Running (but with new rules)
Military OneSource has posted the new rules/regulations/qualifications for the “new & improved” MyCAA program. However, before you get all excited, from the looks of things it has some drastic changes. See for yourself:
The Department of Defense has completed the program review and will be making the necessary adjustments to resume the MyCAA program beginning in October 2010.
Starting 8 a.m. (EDT) Monday October 25, 2010, Military OneSource career and education counselors will have a much more active role in supporting military spouses. In addition to understanding resources available via DoD’s financial aid support, they will provide support and assistance to identify and gain access to other federal, state, and local programs. All military spouses of active duty service members will be eligible for career counseling and support.
New financial assistance guidelines
With a focus on the original intent of the program, the Defense Department’s financial assistance program will:
- Be available to spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2
- Offer a maximum financial benefit of $4,000 with a fiscal year cap of $2,000. Waivers will be available for spouses pursuing licensure or certification up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000
- Require military spouses to finish their program of study within three years from the start date of the first course
- Be limited to associate degrees, certification, and licensures
These new guidelines reflect a return to the original purpose of the program — to assist spouses of service members in achieving portable careers. These changes also align the program with responsible fiscal planning by the Defense Department to help sustain the program. Additional program details will be posted here when they become available. We encourage you to check the site often.
Spouses who currently have an active account
Spouses with an active account will be allowed to request financial assistance until Thursday, October 21, 2010. Beginning September 1, 2010, spouses may request financial assistance for classes that have a start date up to January 15, 2011. To ensure adequate time to plan for courses, no career plans will be accepted after August 31, 2010. All currently approved financial assistance documents will be honored.
Additionally, the review revealed that National Guard and Reserve members must be on active duty for their spouses to receive the MyCAA benefit. Spouses may no longer use the MyCAA benefit when the service member is in an alert or demobilization period. The new eligibility rule takes effect immediately.
Here’s my problem with this. I understand the financial cap. I know things got out of control the first time around, but this is a HUGE payment drop for those that were expecting and promised the $6,000 a year that the program originally promised. (And for the record, I know that there are other sources of funding out there, and that we shouldn’t EXPECT to have our education paid for by the military. But … promises, promises, DoD.) Also, I’m sorry, but you are not “assisting spouses of service members” if you are limiting who can access it. I’m a military spouse. My husband, however, is an E6. Something that we are both very proud of. But — sorry. I don’t fall into the bubble, so I can’t take advantage of this program. So it SHOULD say, the purpose of the program is to assist certain spouses of certain service members. But not all.
And when did a two year associates degree become a career track?
I appreciate the effort, but I think this is a huge slap in the face to the military spouse community. Especially for those of us who aren’t allowed to participate. Don’t wave the “we’re helping military spouses” flag, when you’re not helping all of us. In my eyes, it’s all or nothing.
*For the record, I was just going to post the new regulations, but the more I read about it, the more fired up I got. Sorry for the rant!