Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MyCAA: Helping Military Spouses Go Back to School

     I am super excited today!  I just got back from turning in the last of my Financial Aid.  I had already received a Pell Grant by filling out the FAFSA, but today I was approved to receive funds through MyCAA.  A friend of mine told me about this program, and I think it's only right that I share this information with other military spouses looking to go back to school.

First, what is MyCAA?

"MyCAA helps military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or Associate's Degrees (excluding Associate's Degrees in General Studies, Liberal Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies that do not have a concentration) necessary for gainful employment in high demand, high growth Portable Career Fields and Occupations."

They offer counseling as well as financial aid for those going back to school.  

"MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses who need professional credentials to meet their Portable Career goals."

This is perfect if you wish to pursue an Associate's Degree in a particular field.  

"Spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2 who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders, including spouses married to members of the National Guard and Reserve Components in these same pay grades."

For these facts and more, visit the MyCAA Fact Sheet or visit Military One Source and click the MyCAA link to the right of the screen listed under "Popular Links".  It will warn you that you are leaving the Military One Source web page, simply click "Click Here to Go", and.....

...it will bring you to the MyCAA homepage.

You'll have to register, and once you're in you can set up your "Goals & Plans".  This part threw me off at first because you have to submit your requirements for your chosen career path.  I am getting an Associate's degree in nursing, but I'm not in Nursing school yet, as I need a few more prerequisites.  I went to my chosen college's website and pulled up the requirements for the Pre-Nursing program, saved them to my computer (or you could copy and paste if it's not already formatted as a zip file) then I uploaded it into my Goals and Plans.  This had to be approved.  Once that was done, I received a message telling me my plan had been approved and that I could now apply for FA (Financial Aid).

This is where you need to pay attention.  You cannot submit this too early or too late.  It has to be submitted no more than 60 days before the first day of term and no less than 15 days before the first day of term.  I had it marked on my calendar just to be on the safe side.  Also, you have to submit the course code, the course description and the cost of the course without lab fees or book fees. 

The school I'll be attending charges the same amount for all students considered full-time.  This means our bill is a lump sum, and not divided into courses.  I simply subtracted my lab fees and divided that number by the number of courses I'm taking.  That's how much each course cost, and I entered that number into the FA form.  It only took 3 days (and a weekend) for them to process my request and get back to me.  I received an email, and a message on MyCAA stating that my FA was approved.  All that was left was to sign it and turn it into the Financial Aid office at the college.

I hope that helped clear up a few questions.  Once you get into the MyCAA website, it's easy to navigate as long as you pay attention to those little rules.  It's a really good program, but not one that was very well advertised.  I had never heard of it until a friend mentioned it to me, and I would really like to spread the word that this program is available to many military spouses who think they can't afford to go back to school.  If you know someone in that situation, please help them out by letting them know they can go back to school.  They can better their educations, and they can do it for little to no out-of-pocket costs!


  1. did they ask you for an Individual Career Plan?

  2. If I remember correctly, for that I simply downloaded the curriculum from my college's website for my particular field, and uploaded it onto their site.