Pursuing higher education is not only stimulating and exciting; it also opens the door to rewarding opportunities. Especially when it comes to military life.
A common misconception is that Higher Education only refers to college. But it actually includes many different types of postsecondary education (after High School) like GED classes, English as a second language(ESOL) classes, licensing and certification programs, and trade or vocational programs.
Many service members and military spouses assume the unpredictable nature of military life would make it impossible to complete one of these programs, but it’s not true! When it comes to the Higher Education, the military makes it a lot easier than you think! –
Since the move to an all-volunteer force, the U.S. military has worked hard to create an array of programs, services, and facilities to support military families. One of the most underused of these programs is the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), a scholarship for assisting military spouses in reaching their educational and employment goals. A recent report released by Rand Corporation for Research* cited that only one in five eligible spouses actually used their MyCAA and more than half of nonusers were unaware that the scholarship even existed.
Released by the Rand Corporation for Research this year, the report titled “Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses: An Assessment of Education and Employment Goals and Barriers Facing Military Spouses Eligible for MyCAA” analyzes data collected from November 2012 to March 2013 on the 2012 Active Duty Spouse Survey to examine MyCAA Scholarship use and barriers faced by recent MyCAA users and nonusers.
Key Findings of the MyCAA Report Include:
- Approximately One In Five Eligible Spouses Had Recently Used MyCAA
- Recent MyCAA users were more likely than nonusers to be in school
- Recent MyCAA users were half as likely as nonusers to report that they wanted to be in school but were not (25 percent compared to 51 percent).
- More than half of recent nonusers were unaware of the scholarship.
- Key reasons for nonuse among those who were aware of it included perceived ineligibility and lack of time for education.
- Almost one-third of spouses working part-time wanted to be working full-time.
- The cost was cited as a key reason for not pursuing higher education.
- Competing family responsibilities and difficulties with child care were often cited as barriers to both education and employment.
The authors of the report, Esther M. Friedman, Laura L. Miller, and Sarah Evans concluded with recommendations for improving and complementing the existing MyCAA scholarship to help military spouses achieve their educational and career objectives.
Online Education Reportedly Breaks The Barrier Of Time, Cost & Place
As part of these recommendations, military spouses were encouraged to explore the many benefits of online learning as a solution to overcome the barriers of time, cost and place:
- Online programs break the barrier of time because classes are tailored to the life of the busy adult students. Students learn at their own pace, make their own schedule and learn faster. This makes it possible to earn a certificate online in as little as 8 months. Similarly, students can also slow the pace while they PCS, the kids are off from school or to understand better the material.
- Online programs break the barrier of cost because they are usually less expensive than traditional college. All that’s needed to attend class is an Internet connection, a personal computer and you. The lower the tuition costs are at an accredited online college, the more likely there will be no out-of-pocket expense and no student loans needed to earn a certificate, thanks to MYCAA. And that’s right, NO STUDENT DEBT.
- Online programs helps break the barrier of place by eliminating the need for transportation, gas and childcare for military spouses returning to school. Learning online means parents can continue being great parents and those employed can continue to work, while also using the power of online education to build a better life for themselves and their the family.
- Online programs also allow military spouses to study wherever they are stationed. No need to change your life to pursue your education. An online college accredited to teach Medical Office Administration or Surgical Instrument Processing may be thousands of miles away, but online learning puts the classes instantly at your fingertips.
Going back to school does not have to be complicated, and it does not mean time away from your role as a parent or military spouse. The key is to do your research and take your time when picking the right program and school for you. And whatever you do, make sure make the accredited choice! Enrolling in an accredited program at a reputable college helps ensure your MyCAA is put to good use. In fact many programs require that the school is accredited because it helps ensure that the education you receive meets the standards required by potential employers or to go on and pursue further educational opportunities.
*Friedman, Esther M., Laura L. Miller and Sarah Evans. Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses: An Assessment of Education and Employment Goals and Barriers Facing Military Spouses Eligible for MyCAA. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015. http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR784.
What Is Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)
What Every New Military Spouse Needs To Know
Secret to Creating Your Own Success
5 Tips For Military Moms Going Back-to-School
Military Spouses- Your Time Is Valuable, Invest It Wisely
Weekend Reboot For Better Online Learning
Military Parents Experience New Model For College Education