Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA)

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) manages the Early Learning Scholarships Program under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165.

The Early Learning Scholarships Program is an initiative to expand access to high-quality early childhood education programs for children ages 3 to 5 with high needs, and younger children in priority categories, to improve school readiness for all young children. Please visit the Early Learning Scholarships Program webpage for more information.

The Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA) is a secure system that was created to support implementation and oversight of the Early Learning Scholarships Program. Grantees of the state who are administrators of scholarships, MDE staff with direct program involvement, and resident school district staff with a State Student Identification Number (SSID) Maintainer role in a partner system work within ELSA.

Please refer to the policy memo Student ID Validations for Early Learners for guidance related to the assignment of SSID numbers to child records in ELSA by resident school district staff. Resident school districts are responsible for assigning SSID numbers to the ELSA records of resident early learning scholarship recipients, regardless of program of attendance, with limited exception. Full details are provided in the policy memo.

For more complete system information, please refer to the ELSA User Manual and release notes posted in the Resources section below. Contact MDE.ELSA@state.mn.us if additional support is needed.

ELSA System Access

> Enter the Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA)

Effective September 20, 2019: ELSA user access moved to the Education Identity and Access Management (EDIAM) Security System. All system users must have an EDIAM user account with an assigned ELSA access role in place. The Identified Official with Authority (IOwA) of an organization, using their EDIAM account, must assign individual system access roles to the EDIAM accounts of staff who require access to ELSA for their work.

See the
Data Submissions page for more details on EDIAM. Contact useraccess.mde@state.mn.us for EDIAM support.

ELSA user access roles include: 

Scholarship Administrator [SA]:
Individuals with this access role enter Pathway II scholarship child, parent/guardian, and award information into ELSA and initiate payment requests to be sent to MDE.

Area Administrator [AA]: Individuals with this access role enter Pathway I or Pathway II scholarship child, parent/guardian, and award information into ELSA and initiate payment requests to be sent to MDE.
Payment Approver: This role reviews payment requests initiated by a colleague in the SA or AA role, finalizing those that should be sent forward for processing through MDE payment systems. An individual may not have access as both SA/AA and Payment Approver.
SSID Maintainer: This role is automatically granted to all school district staff with existing SSID Maintainer access to the state Student ID Validation System (SIVS).


Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA) User Manual - September 2020

  • ELSA Release Notes: September 2020 - 9/14/20
    The update released September 11, 2020, included a new file export feature for the Award List, a processing enhancement to aid in SSID number assignment, as well as other changes and minor bug fixes.
  • ELSA Release Notes: June 2020 - 6/19/20
    The update released June 19, 2020, included a reversion to system enforcement of the 105-day payment submission window, expanded collection of family information, addition of the Parent Under 21 priority population indicator, and Demographics report improvements.
  • ELSA Release Notes: January 2020 - 1/24/20
    The update released January 10, 2020, included new page and section titles related to payments, added functionality to allow for editing of previously finalized attendance data, and other changes. A smaller update was released on January 24, 2020.
  • ELSA Release Notes: May 2019 - 6/3/19
    The update released May 31, 2019, introduced the new "Award Verification Date" required field.
  • ELSA Release Notes: March 2019 - 4/1/19
    Releases in the month of March 2019 included reintroduction of the address auto-complete feature and changes to do with the close of a funding fiscal year.
  • ELSA Release Notes: January 2019 - 1/31/19
    Releases in the month of January 2019 included a reintroduction of the "Reactivate" award action as well as other updates and fixes.
  • ELSA Release Notes: December 2018 - 1/16/19
    Notes for the December 21, 2018, system release include details of the changes to program selection as well as other updates.