A Wee Bit More CAA Info

Well, I have been calling and emailing all day, and I’ve dredged up a smidgen more info about the CAA (Career Advancement Account) situationFirst, I called my local Fleet and Family Support Center.  The person there hadn’t heard anything about CAA halting operations, but she promised to look into it and get back with me.  She called Military One Source and was able to talk to a Spouse Education and Career Consultant (I’ve got to guess it was a different consultant than I talked to yesterday).  That consultant estimated a month until they got the program back up.  The consultant also confirmed that there will be no access to the account info until that time.

Also today, a reader called her congressman to complain about the sudden loss of financial assistance.  (Her classes started today!)  The reader’s congressman told her to encourage people to call their representatives.  I’m really conflicted about this.  I’m not usually the kind of person to go to my representative to fix stuff because I don’t think that is their role, but this is just so messed up.  I’m not sure if I’ll call or not, but you certainly may consider it.  I’d love to hear what sort of response you get.

On a personal note, I was still hashing out my own CAA problems when this happened.  You may remember that I changed my schedule and was having difficulty getting it changed in the CAA records.  After emailing, and waiting in excess of a week, I got an email back telling me to call.  I called, and left a message, and then waited some more.   Over a week later, I got a return call from a Military One Source Spouse Education and Career Consultant.  I hate to say she was snippy, but she was.  She informed me that I was unable to make changes to my account once the day of classes had begun, and sort of berated me for not deciding to drop the classes until after the first day of class.  It seems that once classes have commenced, deletions to your schedule can only be made by the representative person at the school.  That makes no sense, but it was the case.  (Who knows what will happen after this restructuring.)  The consultant sent me a long email with directions for the college to make the necessary changes.

Since the consultant called me at the beginning of The Great Snow of 2010, I was unable to get over to the college until this week.  I went to the cashier’s office and tried to explain the situation to the school’s CAA representative.  The school’s representative did not know that students were unable to make changes to the schedule themselves.  She stated that she would be physically unable to make all the scheduling changes for students using CAA funding for school.  Her frustration was evident.  She told me that she would eventually get to changing my schedule within the CAA system.  I wonder if she will be able to do that now.

In the process of discussing this, the school’s representative also better explained the billing and payment process.  While what she told me was specific to my college, I think it may still be useful for everyone to understand how it could be done at your school.  It seems that the CAA program doesn’t pay for the classes until they are billed by the school.  I had somehow gotten the idea that when your financial assistance was approved, MyCAA was sending a check to the school.  That is not the case.  When you provide your MyCAA approval to your school, they move that portion of money from your account to an outside account.  They don’t bill MyCAA until some other point in time.  (For example, my school hasn’t even billed for fall semester yet.)  They are just providing you with a courtesy credit based upon the fact that MyCAA has agreed to pay for the classes.   This makes some sense but is very different from how I envisioned the process happening.

I’m still making phone calls, emailing, and generally searching for information.  I will publish any new info here as soon as I find it.

17 February 2010 Update:  This program has been temporarily halted.  You can find the most current MyCAA information at The Paycheck Chronicles MyCAA page.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Christine C

    Thanks for the updates on this. I just found out right before I came to your site when I looked at Navy Times. Hopefully it will come back online. I still had around $2000 left to use. I better check with my school to make sure the class I started a few weeks ago has been paid for already. I hope it has!

  • Alyson

    I really upset that the funds for my CAA have been “paused”. It is really unfair how it has been done. There was not any kind of warning put out that the funds were not going to be available. I am ending a semester now and my next one is scheduled to start the middle of March, however, without the funds available to me, I am not sure if I will be able to continue. It really upsets me because after 20 years, I finally received the opportunity to further my education and was depending on the my CAA for the funding. I am sure there are many more military spouses who are now in the same position I am in.

  • Alyson

    Please excuse my typo in the above. My brain was faster than my hands. It should read ” I am really upset …………..”

  • It’s OK, Alyson. Happens all the time :)

  • Erica

    I just found out about the program being halted yesterday from our OMBUDSMAN. I am in the middle of my education also. Luckily, my classes for this semester are taken care of. I do agree with the reader that said she called her Congressman to complain. While it’s not their sole job, most of them (or should I say any DECENT Congressman) would be more than happy to assist. We were having trouble figuring out the Post-9/11 GI Bill and getting the run-around from everyone we tried to contact about it. One email to our Congressman’s office and 2 1/2 weeks later, we had our answer! Not only that, after meeting this Congressman, he encouraged us (and everyone at this event) to contact his office if assistance is needed. In any case, I hope they get this program back on track and going again soon.

  • JJ

    I too am frustrated with the MYCAA situation. i had just started to use the funds when they have halted the program. I am about to start a class at the end of march and was counting on the funds to pay for it. I also had trouble with a class and the MYCAA account. I had put in the system my class becasue it says you need to do it in advance of the class starting. The class was full so I couldn’t sign up. I called Military one source and they said they would have a representative call me back but they never did. I even emailed them but no response. When I finally spoke to someone they told me the funds for that class would not be refunded back to my account. I don’t think it is fair to treat military spouses this way. We have sacrificed our careers so that our military spouses could exceed in their careers and this is how the government treats us?

  • I feel your frustration, JJ. I’m hoping that a large part of this “review” includes getting a better website, a more organized add and drop system, and more people to answer emails and phone calls.