Early Learning Scholarships Program
Early Learning Scholarships Program
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce that the Early Learning Scholarships Program is now available for Minnesota families! The scholarships will increase access to high-quality early childhood programs for three- to five-year-old children with the highest needs in order to improve school readiness for all young children. Priority for scholarships will be given based on family income, child poverty and geographic region. Up to $5,000 per scholarship will be awarded. MDE estimates that 4,000 scholarships per year will be awarded to families with young children throughout the state. This represents approximately 9 percent of the eligible children in Minnesota.

Eligible children will be able to access the Early Learning Scholarships in one of two ways:

Early Learning Scholarships Pathway I: These Early Learning Scholarships are awarded directly to families who meet eligibility requirements including having a child between the ages of three to four as of September 1 of the current year, and who meet other eligibility requirements as outlined in Minnesota 2013 Session Law Article 8, section 124D.165.

Eligible families will receive an Early Learning Scholarships Pathway I award, and the scholarships funds will be paid to the early childhood program that the family chooses. Scholarships to families may be used in any early childhood program participating in the Parent Aware Quality Rating and Improvement System. The Parent Aware participating programs a family may choose include Head Start, school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, and child care programs. Pathway I scholarships “follow the child” and are awarded to the family for up to 12 months.

Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II: The Pathway II scholarships are awarded to families through an eligible Four-Star Parent Aware rated program. Four-Star Parent Aware rated programs include Head Start, school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, and child care programs within geographic regions identified by MDE. Programs participating as a Pathway II site receive Pathway II scholarships funds for up to 12 months.
 
  • Early Learning Scholarships FAQ 
    The FAQ document provides answers to commonly asked questions and contact information for local scholarship administrators.
  • Map - Geographic Distribution of Pathway I Early Learning Scholarships 
    Map of Pathway I Early Learning Scholarships which will be awarded to eligible children residing in these identified counties in each of the 13 Governor’s Economic Development Regions.
  • Minnesota Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II Guidance 
    Four –Star parent Aware rated school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, Head Start, child care centers and family child care programs within selected school district boundaries are eligible to apply to become an Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II site. This guidance document provides preliminary detail about the Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II application process for eligible programs.
  • Geographic Distribution of Pathway I Early Learning Scholarships. 
    Pathway I Early Learning Scholarships will be awarded to eligible children residing in these identified counties in each of the 13 Governor’s Economic Development Regions.
  • Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II Eligible Sites (Calculations). 
    This document provides a complete listing of areas eligible for Pathway II scholarships. Early Learning Scholarships are available to families through Pathway II sites. This document includes the formula calculations used by MDE to determine eligibility within school district attendance areas in each of the 13 Governor’s Economic Development Regions. Calculated Pathway II scholarship amounts by school district attendance areas is included. Four-Star Parent Aware rated programs (including child care, school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, and Head Start) within a school district attenda