The top 5 mistakes to avoid when using the MyCAA Scholarship
As an active duty military spouse, you only get the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship once, and for a limited time! Here are issues you may face when using your benefits, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Falling for a program that is a scam
Don’t fall for a program that is a scam!
It’s sad but true, there are programs out there that scam military spouses out of their hard earned benefits. What’s even worse, they use other military spouses to recruit for them by giving them money, gift cards, or prizes like laptops. Spouses that make that mistake end up getting scammed out of their $4,000 in MyCAA benefits but it all looks legitimate and is being sold by a friendly face. My book goes over how to spot a scam.
Mistake # 2: Thinking the MyCAA scholarship will reimburse you if you pay for a class yourself.
This is just not true. MyCAA does not reimburse beneficiaries if they pay for the class or expenses themselves.
And what’s sad is that some programs pressure spouses into paying for it themselves thinking they will get reimbursed. MyCAA will never reimburse you for tuition, they only pay the school directly on the spouse’s behalf. My book goes over all the specific rules you should know so you don’t make a mistake.
Remember the MyCAA scholarship only pays for tuition. It does not pay for any kind of fee, books, or other incidental costs such as childcare, transportation, or parking.
Mistake # 3: Going to a school with bad accreditation.
Not all schools are created equal. You should only use your benefits with regionally accredited institutions.
Would you rather have a doctor from Harvard or from Southwestern City of Farmville Governor’s College? Pretty obvious, right? (Not a real school, but I hope you get the point). What makes the difference is accreditation. Don’t fall for a program that is “nationally accredited”. It might have snuck under the radar for MyCAA approval, but in reality it isn’t valuable. My book goes over best practices for choosing a school. You should only use your benefits with regionally accredited schools. The governing bodies that are respected, accepted, and trustworthy are regionally accredited. I go over that in more detail in my book.
Mistake #4: Going to a school whose reputation is a liability and not an asset.
In job applications, interviews, or working with clients you want where you went to school to help you, not hurt you.
This goes hand in hand with #3 but the program you use your benefits on should be an asset on your resume, not a liability. In job applications, interviews, or working with clients you want where you went to school to help you, not hurt you. If you think you could benefit from academic mentorship that helps you find the best program MyCAA can buy that meets your needs, contact me.
Mistake #5: Not using your MyCAA scholarship benefits at all
MyCAA is “use it or lose it”. If you don’t use it in the magical window where you are eligible based on your spouse’s rank, you lose it and there’s no getting it back. You’re literally leaving free money (and education) on the table if you don’t act. If you find yourself crunched for time because a promotion or discharge is coming up, I’m here to help!
Jeanette Price, Military Spouse Education Consultant
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if a program is a scam?
Check it’s accreditation. Check if it is a for-profit or non-profit institution (you want one that is non-profit)! Reflect on how you found out about the program, and whether someone stands to benefit from you recruiting you to use your MyCAA scholarship with that school.
When is the best time to use my MyCAA benefits ?
Honestly? Now. As soon as possible. As soon as you can make it work in your life. These benefits are not guaranteed and can easily change based on what happens in Congress.
What if I am already attending a school that I think is a scam?
I recommend contacting Military One Source and also contacting me. I can help you do research on the program. Military One Source can’t recommend specific programs, but I can.
I hope reading this blog post has helped you consider or reconsider the best way to use your benefits. But to use them in the best way for you, you need to find out more.
Using your active duty military spouse scholarship doesn’t have to be difficult or challenging. You can find the right program that is not a scam and use your benefits wisely. Do not be discouraged!
To get started, buy my upcoming book and commit to doing the worksheets to make your plan. If you want to speed up the process and get expert advice from someone who has experience doing it herself, contact me. I’m happy to give you help and advice that Military One Source isn’t able to.
Ready to get started?
Get in touch!