My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program

What is the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship is a workforce development program that provides eligible military spouses with financial assistance for licenses, certifications or associate degrees to pursue an occupation or career field.

As part of the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, career coaches can assist military spouses with the following:

Career Exploration:

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches help spouses explore all career options with tools like career assessments, interest and skill inventories, portable career statistics, and earning potential metrics.

Education, Training and Licensing:

Spouses work with Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches to create a plan of action that considers financial aid options, education and training program resources, credential and licensing information, and, for eligible spouses, My Career Advancement Account Scholarship. The scholarship provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses who have completed high school and who need professional credentials to pursue their career goals. Annual cap waivers are available for licensure and certification programs if there is an upfront tuition cost that exceeds $2,000 (up to the maximum education benefit of $4,000).

Career Readiness:

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches help spouses perfect their resumes and hone their interviewing skills. Coaches also cover job search techniques, relocation planning, and flexible work options.

Career Connections:

Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches help spouses get the right job in the right career by leveraging existing relationships and resources, such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, USAJOBS.gov, and CareerOneStop.org.

Who is eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program is open to spouses of active-duty service members, and National Guard and reserve members under Title 10 orders in pay grades E-1 through E-5, W-1 through W-2, and O-1 through O-2. The authorization of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allows military spouses to remain eligible for the financial assistance offered through the MyCAA scholarship if their sponsor is promoted above the eligible ranks as long as the spouse has an approved education and training plan in place.

  • Spouses who have completed high school or obtained a GED
  • Spouses who have financial assistance document(s) approved before the active-duty service member’s date of separation or the active-duty service member’s release from Title 10 military orders

Who is NOT eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship?

  • Spouses married to service members in pay grades E-6 and above; W-3 and above; and O-3 and above. The authorization of the fiscal 2020 NDAA allows military spouses to remain eligible for the financial assistance offered through the MyCAA scholarship if their sponsor is promoted above the eligible ranks as long as the spouse has an approved education and training plan in place
  • 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 or reserve military sponsor is in a Warning Orders/Alert, Post Deployment/ Demobilization or Transition Status
  • Spouses who are unable to apply for financial assistance while their military sponsor is on Title 10 orders or before the sponsor’s date of separation

Are currently employed spouses eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance?

Yes, employed spouses can use the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding for coursework and exams that lead to employment and career advancement in one or more career fields and occupations that require a license, certification, or associate degree.

Spouses who already have advanced degrees and who want or need to take coursework leading to a recognized credential allowed by the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship may also use the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding to continue or advance their career and employment.

To speak to a career coach, call 800-342-9647.

Can spouses who are no longer eligible for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding still get career coaching?

Yes, all military spouses, whose sponsors are on Title 10 orders, including spouses of National Guard and reserve, may receive free educational coaching and career guidance from a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach. Coaches can provide education and training, career exploration, assessments and skills inventories, employment readiness and career search assistance.

What specifically is the eligibility for spouses of National Guard and reserve military members on Title 10 orders?

Spouses of service members who are on Title 10 military orders are eligible. This includes spouses of deployed National Guard and reserve members who are activated on Title 10 orders. In addition, all spouse participants must have the financial assistance documents approved while their military sponsor is on Title 10 orders.

How will the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship eligibility be verified?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program uses Department of Defense Self-Service (DS) Logon for account creation and access. Social security numbers are not stored in the My Career Advancement Account website. A Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, eligibility check is initiated when the spouse opens a My Career Advancement Account and each time the spouse requests the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance.

What should spouses do if they receive a DEERS error message?

If the military sponsor has not created a DS Logon account or if the information in DEERS is out-of-date (especially information confirming that the service member is on active duty), spouses should:

  • Call the DEERS Helpdesk at 800-538-9552
  • Visit www.tricare.mil/DEERS
  • Get a General Power of Attorney authorized by their military sponsor if the spouse will be making changes to the DEERS system without the military sponsor being present — command legal officers can assist the military member with power of attorney requests
  • Visit the nearest military personnel office for assistance

What does the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship pay for?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship only pays for tuition for associate degrees and examinations leading to a recognized license or industry certification. Credentials may be for postgraduate work. The license, certification or associate degree must align with the spouse’s career goal.

What does the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship NOT pay for?

  • Tuition for courses and examinations not included in the spouses Education and Training Plan and courses already started or completed by the spouse
  • Reimbursements of any kind
  • Books, supplies, equipment, uniforms, computers, and electronic devices of any kind
  • Student activities, events, and entertainment
  • Prepayments or deposits for future courses, unless costs are part of a block of study
  • School or college level entrance examinations, comprehensive exams, and related preparatory courses
  • Courses, tests, or fees typically paid by an employer as part of a job training program
  • Fees of any kind, including, but not limited to, registration fees, technology fees, or parking fees
  • Nonacademic credit or ungraded courses, including courses taken on an audit basis or as an internship, practicum, apprenticeship, or clinical supervision; also, nonacademic credit or ungraded orientation programs
  • Courses taken more than one time, unless the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program has received a full refund from the school
  • Academic credit by examination tests (CLEP, DANTES, etc.)
  • Associates of Science, Arts, General Studies, Liberal Arts, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary associate degrees with no concentration (no emphasis)
  • Personal enrichment courses (excluding courses that are for academic credit or graded electives in an approved My Career Advancement Account Spouse Education and Training Plan)
  • Transportation, lodging, childcare, and medical services
  • Course extensions, except for approved hardship waivers
  • Study abroad programs (excluding programs of study offered by participating My Career Advancement Account Scholarship schools on overseas military installations)
  • Private licenses (Example: a private pilot’s license would not be covered because it is for recreational use, but a commercial pilot’s license would be covered because it would be used for an occupation)
  • High school or GED completion programs, including online high school completion programs
  • Courses or programs at unapproved schools or campuses, or other locations not found in the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Portal
  • English as a second language course to learn English
  • Continuing education credits to maintain a standing in a professional organization
  • Internships not part of an Education and Training Plan and not resulting in a credential needed for employment
  • Bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree courses

Will the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship pay for remedial courses?

Yes, the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program will pay for a maximum of nine hours of remedial coursework. The courses must be listed on the plan or the school POC must provide a separate document stating the spouse must take the courses.

What is the URL for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship website and what if there are access issues?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship official Department of Defense web address is https://mycaa.militaryonesource.mil/mycaa. Military spouses living overseas may experience issues accessing the site. For assistance, spouses may contact Military OneSource through the international dialing instructions located at http://militaryonesource.mil/web/mos/contact-us or through email at MyCAAhelp@militaryonesource.mil.

Why isn’t the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship website displaying properly?

The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship website is compatible with all browsers, including Safari. If information is not being displayed properly, try another browser like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Edge, or Firefox.

What are the terms and conditions for spouses participating in the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program?

To create a My Career Advancement Account and request up to $4,000 of financial assistance, military spouses must read and electronically sign the following Spouse Terms and Conditions Agreement:

  • I agree I am solely responsible for the establishment and management of My Career Advancement Account. Under no circumstances shall I share my account username or password with anyone, including, but not limited to, my military sponsor or school representatives.
  • I understand that I must have a high school diploma or GED — general educational development — to participate in the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program.
  • I agree to develop an Education and Training Plan in coordination with school officials. I understand that a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach is required to approve the plan prior to my requesting My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance.
  • I understand My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding is only available for 36 months from start date of the first course funded by the scholarship.
  • I understand the maximum My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance benefit is $4,000 and there is a $2,000 annual fiscal year spending cap. Spending cap waivers are available if the spouse’s school requires an upfront tuition payment exceeding $2,000 (up to the maximum $4,000 education benefit).
  • I understand that My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding cannot be used to audit, repeat a course (unless My Career Advancement Account receives a full refund from the school), or pay for nonacademic credit or ungraded courses such as college or freshman programs, internships, practicums, or supervised clinical assignments.
  • I understand that I must submit a My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance request for each course in my Education and Training Plan. Financial assistance document(s) must always be submitted by me up to 60 days prior to the start date of the course/program and no later than 1 day prior to the course start date. All financial assistance requests must be approved before the start of the course and before the active-duty member’s date of separation or when he or she is no longer serving on Title 10 orders. I understand that failure to do so will result in my being held responsible for paying course costs.
  • I agree to allow the Department of Defense and my school to share information, which is necessary for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program administration and paying of school invoices. I understand I am responsible for ensuring my grades are posted by school officials in the Academic Institution (AI) Portal within 60 days of course completion. I understand I will not be allowed to use additional My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding until my grades are posted.
  • I understand if I fail or withdraw from a course, my scholarship funding will be suspended, and no financial assistance documents can be created until I contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach.
  • If a second failure or withdrawal is made, I understand that I may not be allowed to receive any further funds from the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship.
  • I understand if I receive a grade of incomplete, I am required to attain a satisfactory grade within six months of the course end date, unless a shorter term is specified by my school. I understand my account will be suspended and no additional My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding will be provided until I complete this course.
  • I understand that waivers related to course failures, withdrawals, and incompletes are authorized for “hardship” cases (unanticipated health issues, permanent change of station location, temporary duty assignments, emergency leave of the military member, or hospitalization for a length of time that precludes course completion). Waiver requests must be signed by my military sponsor’s supervisor or higher authority and uploaded into my account digital file folder. They must include:
    • Name/title/code of course(s) for which the wavier is requested
    • Reason for the wavier
    • Name, title, and command of military sponsor’s supervisor or higher authority

IN SUMMARY: I have read the above Spouse Terms and Conditions Agreement. I understand noncompliance may result in (1) my being held responsible for tuition and examination costs; (2) indefinite suspension of My Career Advancement Account Scholarship; or (3) in the case of fraud, permanent closure of my account.

I agree to follow the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship guidelines and honor these terms and conditions, including the requirement to notify My Career Advancement Account Scholarship when I find gainful employment in my chosen career field or occupation.

Are spouses required to complete their courses, certification, or license in a certain timeframe and are there any exceptions?

Yes, the duration of an associate degree course cannot exceed 12 months and a license or certification program cannot exceed 18 months. No exceptions can be made to exceed either of these timeframes. Schools and organizations receiving scholarship funds are required to post grades and program completion status.

Spouses may request a grade waiver if they fail, withdraw, or receive an incomplete for a course for the first time. In such cases, spouses must contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach to discuss the situation and develop a plan to prevent a reoccurrence. Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches can provide additional details on this waiver process requirement.

What are the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship requirements for spouses after they finish their coursework?

  • Inform Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches when they receive their license, certification, or associate degree
  • Seek a job in their chosen career field and occupation
  • Let My Career Advancement Account Scholarship and SECO know when they find employment using the My Career Advancement Account Spouse Portal (https://mycaa.militaryonesource.mil) — as required in the Spouse Terms and Conditions Agreement that spouses electronically sign when they open their My Career Advancement Account

Can spouses take graduate courses with My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding?

Spouses can take any program of study from an accredited school or institution recognized by the Department of Education or Department of Defense that leads to a license, certification, or associate degree. Coursework must be included in an approved Education and Training Plan.

What happens if a spouse needs more than $4,000? Are there other funding sources?

Spouses must request a fiscal year waiver of the $2,000 annual cap and provide official documentation to My Career Advancement Account Scholarship supporting the reason for the waiver. Spouses may also:

  • Contact Military OneSource (800-342-9647) or a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach (by sending a message from the spouse’s Message Box) to request assistance finding other financial resources
  • Contact their school Career Services Office or school Financial Aid Office
  • Visit the following websites:
    • https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal/Content/General/295
    • www.nmfa.org
    • www.careeronestop.org
    • www.ed.gov (Pell Grants)
    • https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp or call 800-827-1000 or 888-442-4451

What if a spouse has more than one source of funding to pay for a class?

Spouses can use two sources of federal education benefits to pay for the same course or program. The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funds must be applied to the tuition costs only and spouses may NOT receive a refund of My Career Advancement Account Scholarship monies.

Is the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding taxable?

No, the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding is considered a scholarship and is not subject to taxation.

Who can spouses contact if they want to make a complaint?

If spouses have issues or complaints with approved schools and are a My Career Advancement Account Scholarship recipient, they can report misleading or unfair actions using the Postsecondary Education Complaint System located at https://pecs.militaryonesource.mil/pecs.

If spouses have concerns regarding the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship policy or service delivery issues, contact a career coach (800-342-9647). Coaches do not have the authority to make policy changes, but they can provide spouses with policy waiver request information

Spouses can send an email to MyCAAFeedback@militaryonesource.mil to provide feedback to the Department of Defense on the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program.

What happens when a spouse fails or withdraws from a course?

Spouses will have to demonstrate successful completion of their courses to continue using the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding. If a spouse receives a failing grade or withdraws from a class for which the government is charged any money, their ability to apply for additional funds will be stopped. The spouse will need to contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach for education coaching regarding how the spouse can prevent recurrences, complete incomplete courses, and continue successfully pursuing their career.

Spouses who fail or receive an incomplete for a course for the first time may request grade waivers. In such cases, spouses must contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach to discuss the situation and develop a plan to prevent reoccurrences.

What if I don't complete my course or program by the course end date on my financial assistance document? 

Spouses must follow their respective school’s policy. Each school has their own policy. However, if the school does not post the grade by 180 days after the course end date, the course or program will be marked as non-complete.

How does a military spouse get started with SECO and the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship?

Spouses should call a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach at 800-342-9647 to get started.

Can a spouse’s My Career Advancement Account Scholarship be suspended?

Yes, for the following reasons:

  • If a spouse fails to adhere to the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Spouse Terms and Conditions Agreement, including if a spouse knowingly allows another person to create or manage his or her account
  • If a spouse impersonates or misrepresents another person, or provides fraudulent information to the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship system, which may cause serious legal and financial consequences
  • If a spouse fails or withdraws from a second course, which may result in permanently locking the account and discontinuing further financial assistance to the spouse
  • If a spouse creates more than one account

NOTE: Spouses are ultimately responsible for ensuring that schools post their grades and submit invoices in a timely fashion.

If spouses fail or withdraw from a course, they must contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach to discuss the course failure or withdrawal and to develop a plan for future success. The spouse’s account will be suspended until this requirement is met. If there are additional course failures or withdrawals, the spouse’s account may be permanently locked.

Hardship waivers are available to spouses in extreme situations. Only Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches can provide additional information and assistance for hardship waivers

My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Education and Training Plans

What is a My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Education and Training Plan?

An Education and Training Plan must be completed by the school or institution. An ETP provides a detailed summary of the courses a spouse must take to complete the program/degree. Spouses will load the document into their MyCAA Account for review. The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities staff will review the plan to ensure it supports the spouse’s career goals. The review process can take up to 14 business days.  Spouses will NOT be able to apply for My Career Advancement Account financial assistance until the ETP has been approved. 

Education and Training Plan Guidance and Template are located at (https://mycaa.militaryonesource.mil/mycaa/school-resources/quick-reference-guide. Once approved by Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches, the Education and Training Plan is locked and can only be edited by a coach. Spouses can only change their stated Career Goal once.

Coursework changes will require a coach’s assistance if needed after the Education and Training Plan is approved.

Spouses can only have a maximum of five Education and Training Plans over the three-year funding lifetime of their My Career Advancement Account Scholarship.

If incorrect information is provided, the spouse will need to call a SECO career coach at 800-342-9647 to see if an edit can be made to the document. Spouses must electronically re-sign any edited financial assistance documents.

How can military spouses get assistance with their Education and Training Plan(s)?

Spouses can contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach for assistance at 800-342-9647.

Coaches can help spouses:

  • Explore career interests, evaluate school options, and compare programs of study, including costs
  • Review and approve spouse Education and Training Plan(s)
  • Make allowable changes to Career Goals and coursework

What CANNOT be included in an Education and Training Plan?

  • Courses for a bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Courses toward a doctorate degree
  • Courses on an audit basis or being repeated, unless the My Career Advancement Account has received a full refund from the school

Who can make changes to an Education and Training Plan?

Prior to approval, only spouses may make changes to their My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Education and Training Plan. However, once a plan is approved, spouses must contact a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach to make any changes. Contact a career coach at 800-342-9647 or send a message using the My Career Advancement Account Message Box to request assistance.

Spouses can only change their Education and Training Plan four times over the three-year funding lifetime of their My Career Advancement Account Scholarship, for a maximum of five plans.

Will the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship pay for the same course more than one time?

No, if a spouse needs to repeat a course, the spouse will need to do so at his or her own expense, unless the My Career Advancement Account receives a full refund from the school. The My Career Advancement Account Scholarship does not pay for a course that is being audited or for ungraded or nonacademic courses.

Will the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship pay for fees?

No, the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship only pays for tuition costs for courses and programs of study that lead to an associate degree, license, or certification. It also pays for the cost of the license or certification test or examination.

Will the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship pay for study abroad programs?

No, the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship only pays tuition costs for courses and programs of study offered by participating schools within the United States and for those offered by these same institutions on military installations overseas.

What happens if a spouse fails a course?

A hold for additional funding will be placed on the spouse’s account until he or she talks to a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coach and develops a plan for successfully completing future courses using the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding. A second course failure or withdrawal may result in the spouse’s My Career Advancement Account Scholarship being permanently suspended

Can a spouse’s associate degree be in any subject?

The associate degree must have a clear major or concentration supporting the career field noted on the Education and Training Plan. The concentration or major for the associate degree cannot be in general studies or liberal arts, unless there is a specific concentration, such as general studies-teaching.

My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Financial Assistance

When can a spouse apply for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship financial assistance?

After spouses create an Education and Training Plan and receive My Career Advancement Account Scholarship approval, they can request financial assistance on a course by-course basis no earlier than 60 days before the start of the course. Courses that have different start and end dates must be on separate financial assistance requests.

How does the fiscal year cap affect My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding?

The funds for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program align with the government fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, to Sept. 30. It is important for spouses to plan how they will pay for school throughout the year. Here is some important information about the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program’s fiscal year:

  • There is a $2,000 fiscal year spending cap (a maximum of $2,000 can be used per fiscal year).
  • The $2,000 fiscal year cap is based on the start date of the course or program, not the date the financial assistance request is submitted or approved.
  • Spouses should pay close attention to the fiscal year dates, so they can plan accordingly for the next fiscal year.
  • If all of a spouse’s My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funds are not used within three years from the start date of the first course on their first financial assistance request, those funds will be forfeited. Additionally, spouses must complete all courses by the end of the three-year period.
  • The examples below show how the fiscal year cap can impact spouses’ My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding. Examples are based on a new My Career Advancement Account Scholarship with $4,000:
    • Example 1: If only $1,000 is used in the first fiscal year of the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship, then $2,000 can be used in the second fiscal year, and $1,000 can be used in the third fiscal year, not to exceed $4,000.
    • Example 2: If only $300 is requested at the end of the first fiscal year, another $2,000 of My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding can be used in the second fiscal year. The remaining $1,700 cannot be used until the third fiscal year.
    • Example 3: If only $500 is used in the first fiscal year of the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship and $500 is used in the second fiscal year, only $2,000 would be available to use in the third fiscal year. If $2,000 is used in the third fiscal year, the remaining $1,000 left in the account would be forfeited since it was not used during the first and second fiscal years.
  • If additional educational funding is needed, spouses can search for financial assistance resources on the MySECO site at https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal/Content/ General/295 or contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 for information on other financial assistance programs.

What if a spouse plans to pursue a certification that will cost more than $2,000 up front? Can the $2,000 per year cap be exceeded?

Yes, annual cap waivers are available for licensure and certification programs if there is an upfront tuition cost that exceeds $2,000. There is a process built into the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship program to request a waiver from My Career Advancement Account Scholarship policy requirements.

When does the three-year time limit begin?

The three-year time limit to use the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship funding begins on the start date of the first course taken.