Early Learning Scholarships Program
Apply for a Scholarship
To apply for an Early Learning Scholarship – Pathway I, contact the Area Administrator serving your county. List of Area Administrators and eligibility criteria.
Note: We do not accept scholarship applications at the Minnesota Department of Education.
What is an Early Learning Scholarship?
The Early Learning Scholarships increase access to high-quality early childhood programs for 3- and 4-year-old children with the highest needs to improve school readiness for all young children. Children birth to 2 years old are eligible if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Child of a teen parent.
- Currently in foster care.
- In need of child protective services.
- Experienced homelessness in the last 24 months.
In accordance with the statutory language, the annual scholarship maximum amount (cap) is higher for children who have a priority status of being the child of a teen parent under the age of 21 pursuing a high school diploma or GED; in foster care; in need of child protection services; or experiencing homelessness within the last 24 months. The scholarship cap is $12,000 for a Four-Star Parent Aware Rated program and $9,000 for a Three-Star Parent Aware Rated program for just scholars with priority status. With incremental increases based on available funding, the goal is to increase the scholarship cap to eventually align with the Child Care Market Rate study at the 75th percentile.
Where can my child use a Pathway I early learning scholarship?
Families interested in applying for an Early Learning Scholarship through Pathway I should contact the Area Administrator serving their county. Learn more about Area Administrators and eligibility.
Where can my child use a Pathway II early learning scholarship?
Pathway II scholarships are awarded to families through Four-Star Parent Aware Rated programs that have Pathway II funding. These include Head Start, school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, and child care programs. Programs participating as a Pathway II scholarship administrator receive Pathway II scholarship funds for up to 12 months.
For more detailed information about Early Learning Scholarships Program policies and participation, including changes due to COVID-19, visit our other Early Learning Scholarships webpage.