New limits on grants for military spouses

By Russ Bynum
Associated Press / July 23, 2010

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Defense Department will revive an education grant program for military spouses that had been 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 Spouse Career Advancement Accounts, or MyCAA, in October for new applicants.

But new limitations aimed at cutting costs are prompting a renewed uproar. 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. .

Grants previously capped at $6,000 now will pay only up to $4,000. Also, the money will only go toward associate’s degrees and programs for professional licensing and certification. Courses toward bachelor’s and graduate degrees will no longer be eligible.

“It really doesn’t seem fair,’’ said Lori Martin, 39, who was approved for a grant last year but has been told she will lose it under the new rules in October. top stories on Twitter

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