Pathway II Program Resources for Awardees

This page has been created specifically for programs receiving Pathway II funding to support implementation.

Start with the Introduction to Pathway II Scholarships for School Districts, Charters and Head Starts webinars to gain an understanding of how the program works. Find webinar links below.

Part I
discusses the purpose of scholarships, eligibility requirements and the application for families to complete. Part II discusses implementation requirements for programs and funding requirements. Part III provides a high-level overview of the Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA). The webinars should be supplemented with information in the State Early Learning Scholarships Manual and Early Learning Guide to Scholarships. Part IV discusses appropriate management of funding and documentation, including the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)'s monitoring process for awarded programs. 

Parent Aware Ratings for Public School Districts
This webinar provides an overview for public school districts on applying to Parent Aware, Minnesota's quality rating and improvement system. It provides support explaining each requirement to receive and maintain your Four-Star Rating. For more information on applying to Parent Aware, review the Accelerated Pathway to Rating information on the Parent Aware website.
MDE hosts virtual monthly office hours for questions regarding Parent Aware. The open call line is hosted the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. Call-in information is sent to programs with Parent Aware expiration dates in the next six months. For more information or to join, please contact the MDE team for Parent Aware support. (

Applications are collected by programs from parents and/or guardians applying for a Pathway II Scholarship on behalf of their child. Programs are responsible for verifying the eligibility of each awarded child, and sending the family an award letter. All documents must be maintained for seven years.
Early learning scholarships are managed using the Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA), which is available to authorized scholarship administrators and school district State Student Identification Number (SSID) Maintainers. School districts, charters and Head Start programs are responsible for working within ELSA to enter child and parent/guardian information, manage child awards, and request scholarship payments to the program. A statewide administrator accesses ELSA on behalf of Pathway II-funded child care programs. Learn more on the ELSA system homepage.

The Statewide Administrator
 helps implement early learning scholarships for Pathway II funded child care programs. Child care programs send copies of applications to the statewide administrator after verifying the eligibility of awarded children. The statewide administrator enters that information into ELSA. For child care, invoices are submitted to the statewide administrator for payment. The statewide administrator provides all child care programs with application forms, the invoice template, and guidance on payment processes. The statewide administrator will provide regular financial updates to child care program receiving Pathway II funds. Learn more about other administrators of scholarships, including the Statewide Administrator of Pathway II child care programs and Area Administrators.

Questions? Contact

FY 2020 and FY 2021 Pathway II Application

The FY 2020 and FY 2021 application for Pathway II funding is now closed. The application opened on Monday, February 4, 2019, and closed on Monday, February 25, 2019. Programs will be notified of their funding status by March 30, 2019, pending any changes in the 2019 legislative session.

Please view the following documents for an overview of the application process and common questions and answers (Q & A).


Applications and Letters

Guidance Documents

Translated Documents

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Resources For Pathway II Early Learning Scholarship Programs

Related MDE resources: