It’s a such a great new for all military spouses – ┬áThe MYCAA program will be resumed on Oct. 25 2010.

An education- tuition assistance program for military spouses that proved too popular for its own good will resume in a scaled-back form this fall.

Military Spouse Tuition Assistance

MyCAA

The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program, or MyCAA, provided tuition of up to $6,000 for any military spouse to train for a portable career, one capable of enduring frequent military moves. The program was abruptly “paused” on Feb. 16 after a surge of applications threatened to drain its budget.

When it returns on Oct. 25, benefits will top out at $4,000, only spouses of junior service members – E1-E5, W1-W2 and O1-O2 – will be eligible, and they will be restricted to pursuing associate’s degrees, certificates and licenses. Of the 136,000 spouses participating in the program, 74,000 will no longer be eligible. A career counselor with Military OneSource, which runs the program, must approve each request.

The Military Officers Association of America strongly opposed the new restrictions.

“Limiting it mostly to spouses of first-term personnel – many of whom won’t stay for military careers – seems to miss the whole point,” said retired Air Force Col. Steve Strobridge, MOAA government relations director. “Allowing coverage for courses leading to associate’s degrees but not bachelor’s or master’s degrees that are essential for nursing, teaching and other portable careers seems equally incongruous.”

When MyCAA was shut down, about 44,000 of the 137,000 spouses enrolled were using the funds to pay for a bachelor’s degree or higher, said Air Force Lt. Col. April Cunningham, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The program, which began in March 2009, was accepting about 10,000 new applicants a month and had reached a total of about 100,000. Then, in January alone, 70,000 were added, and 25,000 more during the first half of February. The plug was pulled.

An earlier iteration of the program was run by the state’s WorkSource agency and was also aimed at spouses of junior service members. Only those seeking certificate programs were eligible. When the Department of Defense took it over, it broadened eligibility.

When the program was paused, the DOD failed to promptly notify participants, angering many and leaving plans in limbo. Spouses set up a Facebook page titled “Take Action Against MyCAA Shutdown” that attracted more than 2,800 members. The program was reinstated in March to those who were already enrolled, but nobody else was allowed in.

Miles guessed that OC will have fewer MyCAA participants simply because a smaller number of spouses are eligible and there’ll be less money available.