The Early Learning Scholarship Program increases access to high-quality early childhood programs for 3- and 4-year-old children with the highest needs to improve school readiness. Children birth to 2 years old are eligible as long as 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
  • Sibling of a current awarded child

An Early Learning Scholarship can help families pay for high-quality child care, parent co-pays, additional fees, transportation and additional eligible early education costs to help children get ready for school. Families may use the Pathway I Early Learning Scholarship at any eligible child care or early education program in Minnesota with a Parent Aware Rating; family child care, center based, Head Start, and School Readiness programs. Priority for scholarships will be given based on one of the special populations as noted previously.  Families must meet eligibility requirements as outlined in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165.

Pathway l Scholarships are awarded directly to families who meet these eligibility requirements and the funds are paid to the Parent Aware-Rated early childhood program that the family chooses. Pathway l Scholarships are awarded to the family for up to 12 months and renewable until kindergarten eligible. Scholarship amounts are based on the Parent Aware rating level of the program you choose; up to $7,500 per scholarship can be awarded. Early Learning Scholarships are provided through a grant from the MDE with funds from Minnesota State Appropriation 124D.165.

FY19 Early Learning Scholarships – Pathway I Application

*Starting July 1, 2020, Early Learning Scholarships – Pathway I can only be used at programs with a Three- or Four-Star rating.