Can I use MyCAA if my spouse is getting promoted to a rank that is too high?
“My spouse is getting promoted to a rank that doesn’t qualify for the scholarship funding with MyCAA, can I still use it?”
Read more to find out the answer to this question.
Can I still use MyCAA if my spouse is going to be promoted to a rank that doesn’t qualify for the scholarship funding?
First off, congratulations! That is exciting that your spouse is getting promoted to a higher rank and it shows hard work and resilience! This blog post will help you know your options with MyCAA now that they are getting promoted.
It’s true, your spouse’s rank greatly impacts whether you qualify for the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship.
To qualify for the $4,000 MyCAA scholarship, your spouse must be on active duty (on Title 10 orders) and the rank of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2. You must be their legal spouse enrolled in DEERS.
Many spouses find themselves in the situation where they didn’t know about MyCAA or didn’t know how to use MyCAA and now their spouse is about to be promoted and they are in a rush to use their benefits. Does that sound like you?
What do you do in that situation with your spouse promoting to a higher rank? Do you still qualify for MyCAA if your spouse is promoted to a rank that is too high for the program’s requirements? Keep reading to find out the answer.
The good news:
Even if your spouse is getting promoted, there is a way to still use MyCAA- but it takes action on your part BEFORE they gain rank.
Have you been hearing conflicting messages? You’ve come to the right place! There is a lot of misinformation out there and I have good news! This has recently changed and many programs, fellow spouses, and professionals do not know the correct and must up to date information.
What if I’m short on time to use the MyCAA scholarship because of my spouse’s rank?
As of 2020, a spouse that submits a MyCAA Education Plan with Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) with a program of their choice BEFORE their spouse is promoted will have that entire education plan paid for. However, the one catch is not just having the education plan with SECO set to go and approved, but you also must have at least some of the funds disbursed.
For example, let’s say your program has five classes that are all correctly listed and documented on your education plan. You have to at least get the first class paid for before your spouse is promoted outside of the required ranks. Because you started the program prior to their rank changing, you will get that education plan paid for.
Basically, you have to get it all approved before your spouse gets promoted. For example, if your spouse is an E-5 and knows they are going to be promoted in 3 months, you have that amount of time to find a quality program and get your education plan submitted and the first course started. Military One Source and SECO are really great, but I would not wait until the last minute if you are in this situation!
MyCAA is a $4,000 scholarship from the Department of Defense specifically for active duty military spouses. Your spouse must be in the ranks of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2. You must be their legal spouse and registered in DEERS to qualify. Every branch of the military now qualifies for MyCAA.
What is included in an Education Plan?
Your education plan is created by the program you are going to attend with the list of required classes and their tuition costs. This will make it clear to you and MyCAA how much the program tuition costs and if it will be entirely covered by the $4,000 education funding. Then, you upload this document through your portal on the SECO website. Shortly thereafter, if it all checks out, it will be approved and you can move ahead with getting your first class or test paid for.
Keep in mind however this education plan will not tell you other expenses there may be, such as the cost of books or supplies. MyCAA does not cover those costs and you will have to pay for those out of pocket. Keep that in mind as you research programs. (Or contact me!)
Because the program has to make the education plan document, that part is sadly out of your control. You should get in contact with the program’s MyCAA coordinator. Some larger schools will have a specific person for handling MyCAA and others might have you go through their military benefits office. If the admissions staff or the school does not have someone that knows about your military education benefits, this could be a longer process. You would think that MyCAA approved programs would know how to help you, but not all of their staff are educated about it! That is why I started Military Spouse Education and would love to help you.
I highly recommend finding the perfect program for you because once you have an Education Plan with the program and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) you are locked in. You cannot change it after that point. You can only have another education plan if you fully complete that one and provide proof of completion such as your final grades or test results.
Don’t be discouraged! This is a recent change and really good news!
It is important with this rule change that you know that even though this might sound like a lot, a lot of stress has been lifted because you do not have to rush to complete the entire program in a short amount of time. However, it still requires work on your part. You do not need to complete the program before your spouse is promoted, you just have to have the education plan submitted and approved. Don’t forget your spouse also has to be active duty (on Title 10 orders) and you must be their legal spouse.
Remember it is important to find the program that is right for you. Don’t fall for a scam or waste the funding on what will be just an expensive piece of paper. You want the $4,000 in scholarship funding to fit your needs, your timeline, and your personal and professional goals.
Let’s get started!
But remember, this is use it or lose it education funding.
Act as soon as possible. The best time to use your education benefits is now!
As always, make sure to call Military One Source and get their official answers. Just know that once you give a career goal it is locked in and you can’t change it. Also remember they can answer whether a program is approved for MyCAA or not, but they cannot give specific recommendations for a school or course of study. They can’t give an opinion of whether it is a scam or a quality program that will be valuable to you in the future. But I can!
But how do you find a quality program that meets your needs, goals, and lifestyle? I’m here to help.
Are you on a tight timeline to use MyCAA before your spouse is promoted to a higher rank? Military Spouse Education is here to help.
The search might feel overwhelming but it can also be part of the fun realizing you have MyCAA to pay for what you need, you just have to find the right fit and the right program that meets your timeline. Factors that affect your timeline in this situation is how soon your spouse is getting promoted out of the ranks that qualify (E1-E5, O1-O2, W1-W2).
Are you working on a tight timeline? So was I. I know it can be stressful and you don’t have time to waste. I have created a system that helps you identify your timeline and how a program can fit your lifestyle. Let me help you get started.
Want to get started on continuing your education? Contact Us For One on One Guidance – Military Spouse Education