July 23, 2010 in Nation/World

Military limiting education grants

Russ Bynum Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Defense Department will revive an education grant program for military spouses that was suspended after an overwhelming surge of applicants, but new restrictions that exclude families of higher-ranking officers are being attacked as unfair.

Defense officials had to temporarily halt the program in February after an unexpected spike in applications threatened to bust its $174 million budget.

The department on Tuesday announced plans to resume the Military Career Advancement Accounts, or MyCAA, for new applicants in October.

But new eligibility limitations aimed at cutting costs are prompting a renewed uproar among spouses who protested when the grants were suddenly halted.

Defense officials say eligibility will now be limited to spouses of servicemen and women in the five lowest enlisted ranks as well as junior officers. There were no rank limitations previously.

Grants previously capped at $6,000 now will pay only up to $4,000. Also, the money will only go toward two-year associate degrees and programs for professional licensing and certification. The program will no longer pay for courses toward bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

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