For the last several years, I’ve wanted to go back to school for a Master’s in psychology. However, I didn’t have a work schedule or funds that were conducive to starting. When we got orders to Germany, my husband and I discussed the possibility that our time overseas might be a good time for me to make the attempt. At the time, I looked up the universities in the Heidelberg area that offered courses taught in English. I didn’t see psychology among them. So, I shelved the idea for the time being.
A couple months after we got here, I found out about MyCAA (Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts). MyCAA is a Department of Defense program that provides up to $4000 in financial assistance ($2000 limit per year except by waiver) for military spouses pursuing degree programs, licenses, or credentials leading to employment in portable career fields. My husband suggested I look into nursing because they need nurses here and would anywhere we might go. I wasn’t sure that was a field I could see myself in, but I decided to consider it.
While searching to see if a nursing program was even available over here in English, I found UMUC-Europe. They didn’t have nursing, but they did have offer a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology through Bowie State University. I checked the portable careers MyCAA approves and found Mental Health/Substance Abuse/Behavior Counselor among them. I was excited because $4000 would cover a little more than four graduate level classes at UMUC. I figured I could enroll for fall for at least three classes and cover the amount left over after MyCAA paid $2000 and then do the same in the spring.
There were a lot of steps (which I’ll write about a little later) between finding out about MyCAA and UMUC-Europe and actually applying. Unfortunately, one of those included finding out that I could not use MyCAA after all. I’ll explain more about how I went about finding this out later, but the important thing is that they don’t cover courses toward receiving a Master’s, which meant I was out of luck as far as that funding went.
I decided to apply anyhow. While it would be a little more difficult without MyCAA, once enrolled I could apply for scholarships and hope to earn some that would cover what I couldn’t. While my FASFA indicated I would at least qualify for a direct Stafford Loan, I wanted to avoid taking out a loan if I could. I figured, worst case, if I didn’t earn any scholarships, I could at least get started and attempt to transfer my credits if we had to leave Europe before I could finish. At least I’d be headed in the right direction. As of now, I’m a couple of weeks away from starting my second semester. I hope you’ll join me on my graduate school adventure.