In full disclosure, I’m not a military spouse. Over the last two and half years, however, I have come to know and love more about the military spouse culture than ever before in my life.
Before joining Grantham, my husband and I lived in San Antonio, Texas. I have always respected men and women in uniform and the families that supported their service.
Living in San Antonio (a.k.a., Military City USA) allowed me to be in the epicenter of day-to-day military life. In addition to respect, my experiences there added layers of empathy and a deeper consciousness of some of these families’ personal struggles.
A conscious awareness of military spouse struggles
While in San Antonio, I quickly became friends with men and women whose other half worked on military bases in the city, were gone for drill weekends and deployed on both short and long-term missions. Because I was a college communications instructor at the time, many of our conversations centered around education.
When I joined Grantham, my audience of military spouses grew exponentially and the conversations about education kept rolling. I’m a big fan of the MyCAA program and the opportunities it provides spouses. I’m also acutely aware that there are some spouses who, because of the eligible criteria, don’t have access to those funds.
I’m here to tell you if you are part of the group that falls into the “not eligible” category, don’t throw your hands up in defeat! Where there’s a will - there’s a way. There are three alternatives to MyCAA that spouses might consider to fund their online degree programs.
Who does not qualify for MyCAA?
According the MyCAA Fact Sheet ineligible parties include:
- Spouses married to service members in pay grades: E-6 and above; W-3 and above; and O-3 and above
- Spouses who are a member of the armed forces themselves currently on Title 10 orders
- Spouses who are married but legally separated (or under court order or statute of any state or US territory) from a member of the armed forces on Title 10 orders
- Spouses whose National Guard/Reserve Component military sponsor is in a Warning Orders/Alert, Post Deployment/Demobilization or Transition Status
- Spouses married to a member of the Coast Guard
- Spouses unable to start and complete their course(s) while their military sponsor is on Title 10 orders
MyCAA also specifically funds license programs, certificate programs (hey - check ours out) and associate degrees in portable career fields. So if you fall into one of these categories, you may think that’s the end of the road. But it’s not!
Alternatives to MyCAA
Specific Branch Assistance: Each branch has different programs that offer military spouse education benefits. The requirements are as varied as the branches that provide them. This article from Military Hub will give you a decent idea of what to expect. On-base MWR groups will be able to help you navigate processes specific to your installation.
Military and Private Scholarships: There are literally billions of dollars out there for people who qualify and are willing to apply for them. At Grantham, we honor military families with our Military Family Scholarship Program. Outside of our scholarship, we understand that knowing where to look and how to apply can be a bit daunting.
FASFA: Always fill out the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA). So many prospective students miss out on valuable resources because they assume they don’t qualify. You should fill out a FAFSA regardless of income, as some of the awards aren’t need-based. Some federal direct and PLUS loans aren’t need-based and many students are surprised by how many low-interest loans they qualify for each year.
Remember, you are the picture of ingenuity, determination and fortitude. Don’t limit yourself to one funding source. Investing in your online degree program is sometimes a bit like sewing a quilt: A hodgepodge of patterns that make up one beautiful labor of vision.
UA Grantham’s online degree programs and online certificates give our students the flexibility and portability they need to earn a degree on their terms. While there are many online universities for military out there, Grantham University is dedicated to Serving Those Who Serve® with military scholarships, military spouse scholarships and other tuition assistance options to help students earn their online education degree.