Money flows again for spouses’ financial aid

14 Oct 2010 | Jason Webb, Public Affairs Specialist

The Department of Defense announced it will reopen the My Career Advancement Accounts tuition program for military spouses to new enrollees starting Oct. 25.

The MyCAA program's tuition assistance will be open only to spouses of junior service members in paygrades E-1 through E-5, W-1 and W-2 and O-1 and O-2 under new restrictions announced by the DoD, July 20.

According to, a DoD operated Web site designed to be an extension of installation services, these new guidelines return the program to its original purpose, which is to assist spouses of service members in achieving portable careers.

The DoD defines portable careers as those careers that are in high-demand and high-growth occupations that do not require a bachelor's degree.

"The idea is to go into transferrable fields so that as you relocate from place to place, you can be in an occupation that is needed all over," said Dana Wallace, school liaison and education services officer, Base Education Office, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Eligible spouses will receive $4,000 in financial aid, with an annual cap of $2,000 per fiscal year. Funding must be used within a three-year period from the start date of the first class, and aid must be used to obtain an associate degree, licensure or certification.

A waiver may be granted when fees for a license or certification require an up-front fee greater than $2,000 and up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000.

An estimated 363,000 spouses will be eligible for the program this year, and about 136,600 spouses are now in the program.

The DoD said about 73,900 of those spouses will no longer be eligible for the program after Oct. 25 because of the new restrictions. Although, if spouses are currently enrolled in a course, they will be allowed to finish the semester.

The career counseling aspect at Military OneSource will be eligible to all military spouses, regardless of rank or activation status of the military member. Career counselors can also help spouses identify other sources of funding for their education.

Wallace said that although the Base Education Office cannot process MyCAA requests here, her counselors are available to assist spouses with the Military OneSourse Web site.

"It's a benefit for you to take advantage of just like tuition assistance is a benefit for our active- duty Marines," Wallace said. "This is something the Department of Defense felt would be beneficial to spouses because one of the complaints was that spouses can't find employment when they relocate. The thinking was that if the spouses are educated in fields that can transfer, then they would be more apt to relocate with their service member and look for better employment opportunities."

For more information about the MyCAA tuition program, visit, call the Military OneSource at (800) 342-9647 or call Base Education Office at (229) 639-5162/7497.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany