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.
  • Nancy Winn

    Hi Kate,

    I also and one of the spouses that will lose the benefits due to my husbands rank. This is a complete let down as I too planned out my education plan according to the assistance that I would recieved from MyCAA. Only having used the program for one year now, there is still plenty of $ left in my “account” which I will not be able to use. I now have to find a way to pay for this if I plan to continue.

    I don’t want to sound ungratefull for what I have been given in the past year, but many of us went back to school because this made it possible. Now, we are in the middle of our degrees and may not be able to finish.

    I think that the revamped rules should have applied to those that are newly entering the program that those of us that already had the accoutn should have been able to use them entirely.

    Good luck to you in your educational efforts!


  • Kim

    I used MyCaa for my graduate degree and I was very grateful for the assistance. Last year prior to the shutdown getting on to the program was seamless. I’ve read the changes and can honestly say that the new changes do have some obvious inequalities within the new rules like the exclusion of some higher ranking spouses as well as the option for pursuing higher education i.e. undergraduate and graduate degrees. I guess the assumptions with the change in rank are that spouses of higher ranking members are not in need as much, should be already educated or don’t really need portable careers???? I wonder what’s the rationale behind it? I can say this from a recent PCS and now job hunting, an Associate degree in certain fields do not give you a better advantage anymore; most employers are asking for Bachelors and Master’s degree now so leaving this group out of the equation was not a fair call. I hope that the overseers of the program realize this and make the necessary changes to accommodate all military spouses. I hope the spouses who qualify utilize this program as much as possible as those who don’t qualify anymore would. Good luck to all.

  • Michelle Miles

    I am also one of the spouses that will be “kicked” out of myCAA. By only approving associates or technical certificates, the program is limiting those spouses who are eligible. Maybe they assume if they want a higher degree, they will qualify for some sort of federal financial aid like the Pell Grant or something.

    Most of the time, the only people that can get hired and actually make a decent salary are in the medical profession (ie associate prepared nurses, xray technicians, lab techs etc). As a nurse, I know that if I want to do anything other than bedside nursing, I must have a higher degree, and the only way I was able to do that is with myCAA.

    We have 2 kids going off to college soon, and retirement to save for (we don’t want a last minute panic and realize that military retirement won’t be enough to be comfortable), so school for me was not affordable until myCAA. Now I don’t know how I am going to pay for the remainder, student loans I guess….

  • Caryn

    I am absolutely amazed in a military that stresses how rank should not be pulled between family members and their association with each other, that they now are “pulling rank” on us. I am not my husband’s rank. His rank has no bearing on who I am as an invidual. My consideration for this program should not be based on my husband’s rank but on my ability to become a contributing member to society. How does a W1 who makes more money than my husband as an E7, deserve the MYCAA sponsorship more than I do? I am extremely dissappointed in the DoD’s support, or lack of support, for families of service members of higher ranks who have dedicated a majority of their lives to the military. We are approaching 20 years in and a spouse who has 2 weeks of being a military spouse under her belt qualifies for these funds, but we do not?? This is the thanks that we get for moving umpteen times, 4 deployments, and 20 years of our lives, is basically, sorry, but you do not qualify because of your husband’s rank, who as a military spouse is more deserving than those woman who have spent their entire lives following our soldiers around? As many of the upepr ranks are a lot closer to retirement than those allowed, do you not think that we are going to need to find permanent jobs to help support our families once retirement is achieved? Now that our lives are finally becoming more stable, are we not worthy of everything that we have sacrificed for a little bit of support from the Army we so diligently served as well?

  • Liz

    My husband just got out the Marines and I still have funds left over in MyCAA, so will I still be able to use it?

  • Melinda

    Caryn- your comments were very well put and I totally agree. I myself began this program because we are rapidly approaching retirement. In the past I refused to use our family budget to pursue a further education. Now that I will actually need a career (retired hubby, two kids facing college) my funding is being discontinued. It is a shame they won’t grandfather those with approved eligibility and remaining funding.

  • Michelle Davidson

    I cant beleive that I am just hearing of this. I am in the middle of finishing up my 4 classes and am ready to move onto the next ******** I hear that I am no longer eligble?

    • Michelle, which part are you just now hearing about? You can click on the MyCAA category to read the whole situation in the order it has unfolded. Good luck, and I hope that there are other scholarship options for you.

  • Shannon

    I am so frustrated and upset by this program I could scream…and think I will be writing my congressman. Probably a waste of time…but to go through the exercise of it will make me feel better. I just realized I lost all my benefits by finally trying to get my registration and payment info from the school to the MyCAA program and – surprise!

    I am also in the group that loses benefits due to my husband’s rank. He is an O-3. I originally signed up for the program in early 2009 but due to just having twins I kept putting off taking classes….I was too exhausted. Then finally the program was pulled, then later re-instated with the new rules. Great. I figured I didn’t qualify as once I heard of the new rules I blew the entire thing off. A friend kept encouraging me to call a MyCAA rep to make sure I did not have any funds to use. I call, and much to my surprise, the MyCAA rep told me I was grandfathered in for the $6000, but had to start all classes by January 2011. This call was in early September 2010. With her on the phone, I entered more classes of my school plan and she verified my program classes were in the system. This is where my confusion started…..at no single time did she (she was a trainee, but she had her trainer on the phone at the time and all three of us talked for the duration of the call) mentioned everything had to be paid for by October. Not a single time. The continued emphasis was on January….”use it and start classes by January or you lose everything!” **I will touch on the email sent from Military One Source sent in July later.** This was said several times. I mentioned that the next cohort starts in January (this program I wanted to register for was a professional certification program that aligned with my bachelor’s degree and work experience,) and that registration is in early December, and asked how the processed worked regarding getting the classes paid for etc….she explains the process to me. Neither one of them mentioned after me saying “registration is in early December” that I must pay for everything by October!!! I realize after reading the July email sent out that financials had to be applied for by October, to be honest, I thought that was something in regards to the program application…and certainly didn’t think anything of it after getting off the phone with the two women from MyCAA! I did not read that “rule” as all classes have to be registered and paid for by October. If this was the case, why on earth did not one, but TWO MyCAA reps fail to inform me that there is absolutely no way I would receive funds if I wait until December to pay for them? Its possible that I could have worked out a special situation with the school to pay and register for the program early! Also, the university is an approved school with an approved program on the MyCAA website. Shouldn’t the MyCAA program understand what schools and programs and how the registration and payment process on the programs for each school they approve is facilitated? This should be built into their database.

    In the end, I misunderstood the new October rule, and when I called about the program two MyCAA representatives failed to give me correct information. The payment/registration by October rule was not clear to me but in actuality the MyCAA reps should have understood and informed me that I would need to pay for these classes by October to start them in January. They didn’t mention a thing, even after me mentioning that my program registers in December. Its also not uncommon for online programs to register right before the semester begins – not months in advance like on site university programs. Seems like this would have been taken into account. Oh well, again, I lose. Seems to be a common theme with my husband being in the Army.