Local officials and service members are reacting to the Department of Defense's decision to abruptly suspended a program that offered military spouses as much as $6,000 for college or career training.
The federal government said there was too much demand after nearly 100,000 people were enrolled and another 38,000 had applied for the program.
There's no word when the program might resume and that has triggered a lot of anger and frustration from military spouses, who say they need the help because relocating hurts their careers. More than 1,200 military spouses have joined a Facebook group to vent their outrage and share letters to their congressmen. Others are proposing a protest rally in Washington or Norfolk, Va.
The program, called Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts or MyCAA, started in March 2009. Spouses of active-duty military service members and reservists could apply for up to $6,000 to pay for college tuition or costs associated with professional licenses and certificates.
The North County Times reported that Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said his office has received several inquiries from spouses who want to know what will happen with the program.
"This is a good program and we have the largest Navy and Marine Corps population in the nation," he told the paper on Thursday during a telephone interview. "This is a relatively small amount of funds, and I think this is something that we need to keep doing for our military spouses."
"Military families move all the time and it's hard to start over," she said. "As a former military spouse, I know that having a degree or certificate that can transfer with you is very important."
The Department of Defense suggested alternatives to paying for college, such as the new GI bill, but military spouses say that option is limited.