Life for a military spouse can sometimes be lonely. Amidst all the glamour and valor of a military life, there exists a vacuum for the better halves of servicemen and women.
Frequent moving and busy schedules often result in spouses of active duty service members not being able to forge permanent social bonds with people around them. It also means that they sometimes have to give up on their own dreams and aspirations of having a normal career to be able to accompany their spouses to different and often difficult deployments.
But it doesn’t have to be so. When a person decides to join the armed forces, it’s not just him, but his entirely family that has to make sacrifices. The least this country can do to thank them for all their sacrifices is make sure that they get an opportunity to chase their dreams.
Military Spouse and Family Educational Assistance programs have been instituted with the aim that family members of active duty military personnel and veteran are able to fulfill their academic and career goals.
Here are a few financial assistance programs for military spouses that they can take advantage of to get a flexible education or vocational training and kick start their dream career:
Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA):
This financial assistance program is administered by the Department of Defense (DoD) and offers financial assistance to military spouses pursuing education or vocational training that leads to portable career fields.
Portable careers are professions that you can take with you wherever you go. These careers allow you to continue on the same path whenever you move from city A to city B, eliminating the need to start over every time your spouse shifts base.
Because of the advances in technology, a lot of careers have now become portable and can even be pursued from home. All you need is a high speed Internet connection, a telephone and a fax machine and you have your home office ready to work as an accountant, graphic designer, freelance writer and editor, medical transcriptionist, medical coding and billing specialist, online tutor, virtual assistant, or whatever in the world that you enjoy doing!
As part of the MyCAA program, financial assistance to the tune of $4000 with a yearly cap of $2000 is available to spouses of active duty service members. Spouses pursuing professional certifications or licensures are offered waivers of up to $4000.
Some of the other eligibility criteria for accessing MyCAA funding include:
- Spouses of applicants must be active duty service members in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2.
- Applicants must complete their academic program within three years of taking the first course.
- Applicants must be enrolled in a course approved by MyCAA Financial Assistance (FA) document.
It’s a need-based grant, which means it does not need to be repaid. The funding is released directly to the school where the applicant is enrolled. The MyCAA program pays tuition for education and vocational training courses as well as fee for licensing and/or credentialing exams.
Other Assistance Programs:
Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability: As part of this program, career service members are allowed to share their GI Bill education benefits with immediate family members. The important thing to remember is that service members have the mandate to share only the “unused” portion of their education benefits with their family members that include their spouse and/or children.
For those who are unaware about the details of this program, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial assistance to service members pursuing graduate or undergrad degrees and technical or vocational training among other educational programs and/or credentialing exams.
Financial assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is offered in the form of tuition and fee payment, books and supplies stipend, housing allowance, etc.
State and Private Education Benefits:
Some states offer education benefits to the spouses and children of deceased, Missing in Action (MIA), Prisoner of War (POW) and disabled veterans, while a pool of over $300 million in private scholarships and grants is available to surviving spouses and families of military members and veteran.*1