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Numerous studies from the past few decades verify that children the ages of three and four benefit significantly from receiving prekindergarten education. Such advantages result in a variety of aspects, such as improved mathematical abilities, strong language skills, and higher literacy rates. One long-term study from Chicago even demonstrated that children who participated in the program from preschool through third grade were less likely to be involved in or commit a crime and they were more likely to receive a full education than those who did not participate in the program.
Where to Find Scholarships
Early childhood education (ECE) scholarships can be found nearly anywhere, from your local grocer to international professional associations. You will find teaching scholarships specifically for men, women, minorities, and disabled individuals. The majority of scholarships are for graduating high school seniors or those who have completed their GED and are about to begin their first year of higher learning. It is also possible to find scholarships dedicated to graduate programs, licensure programs, and continuing education. However, there are significantly fewer of these scholarships. <
Some scholarships will be recurring or renewable each year until you graduate as long as you maintain a certain grade point average (GPA); however, other scholarships will be limited to a one-time award. It is a great idea to begin at the local level. Small towns and rural communities will offer a wide variety of scholarships for intended majors, success in extracurricular activities, community involvement, and much more. The same is true of school districts in larger towns and cities; however, the competition is significantly higher in larger areas. You can also look to religious affiliations in your community.
Your state and prospective school will also offer scholarships. The same is true of nonprofits, local and multinational businesses, and charities. It is important to apply to as many as you can because fewer people take the time to apply for scholarships than you think. The most they can do is say no. Just be sure to meet the application deadlines, complete the requirements, and try to only apply to those scholarships which are meant for someone in your position. If you do not qualify for a scholarship, do not waste your time. Only apply for scholarships for which you are qualified.
A professional association is a dedicated group of teaching professionals who either meet in person or network online to share in professional development and industry support. Some associations will have conferences, online courses, live stream interviews, and networking events. Other associations will have job boards, community activities, industry blogs and monthly meetings.
Each association you join adds credibility to your resume and potentially will improve your pay during performance reviews. It can also help you learn about new job opportunities and acquire stronger references and letters of recommendations as well as to stay on top of current trends. Many education-focused professional associations offer scholarships, such as the Joanne P. Hammes Scholarship Fund offered through the American Montessori Society.
The federal government provides financial assistance in a number of ways for all students. In some instances, scholarship exclusively is reserved specifically for future teachers. The scholarships that are offered by the federal government are directly related to financial need in most cases. In some cases, they might be offered to minority groups pursuing an education career. Each state has a T.E.A.C.H. branch that offers scholarships to aspiring teachers. The government also offers Pell Grants to eligible applicants for students pursuing any degree.
Colleges also provide scholarships to incoming students for early education majors. These scholarships are often recurring with varying degrees of exceptions and requirements. You must maintain a certain GPA throughout the time you are pursuing the degree course. You must major in the degree program for which the scholarship is dedicated if there is a specific degree requirement.
Many scholarships are reserved for education students who require financial assistance. And if you transfer schools, the scholarship does not transfer with you in most cases. One such example is that Iowa State University has over 30 scholarships dedicated to education majors and many are specific to early childhood education majors.
Non-profits are yet another source of scholarship support. Many non-profits understand the importance of early childhood education and future teachers. Non-profits are known to help those in need. Most scholarships focus on prospective early childhood education teachers that require financial assistance, those who are minorities or those who are proven to have a remarkable track record in academics, social contributions, and moral character. These types of organizations work to give back to communities and one of the best ways they can do so is to help contribute to teachers who will make a positive impact.
Businesses are also invested in exceptional teachers to provide them with a superior talent pool from which to select their future employees. As such, many small businesses and medium-sized businesses invest in education scholarships. And many corporate enterprises give back to prospective educators through scholarships, including the Apple Distinguished Educators Program and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.
Early Childhood Education Degree Scholarships
You will find potentially hundreds or thousands of early childhood education degree scholarships. Some of these scholarships will be dedicated to ECE specifically; whereas, others will be dedicated to future teachers in general. Be sure to look at all scholarships for education majors no matter whether the scholarship is for college and university expenses, licensures, or for conferences. Every scholarship will help provide you with a brighter future and to help you become a better teacher.
Deadline: April 01
The Inspire Our Future Scholarship is provided by Teacher.org. This organization advocates for prospective teachers and other education positions. Some of the majors of people who qualify for the $500 scholarship include early childhood education, child development, special education, and a general degree in education. You can be in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a doctoral degree. Applicants must be at least 18, a legal US resident, and hold a minimum 3.5 GPA. US territories and Puerto Rico residents do not qualify. The same is true of any person, family member, or persons with the same residence of any Teacher.org employee or those with any affiliation to the organization.
Amount: Varies (Average of $3,000)
The American Montessori Society (AMS) recently provided $70,000+ in scholarships to roughly 24 aspiring teachers, many of whom are early childhood education majors. The AMS consists of a wide variety of teachers, families, friends, schools, and teacher education programs working to make education stronger and more effective throughout the world. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in affiliated teacher education programs of AMS. You might also already be accepted or about to be accepted to an approved program. You will be required to submit your need for financial assistance, your acceptance letter, and three letters of recommendation. The final recipients will be chosen by an unbiased committee.
Amount: Up to $1,000
Deadline: June 09
Bright Futures Scholarship for Early Childhood Teachers provides several scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000 for prospective ECE teachers. The organization is dedicated to providing a better start to all children and they believe that starts with the teachers of young children. You have to be enrolled full-time into an accredited program to apply. Eligible applicants must have experience working with children younger than the age of six for at least nine months, proven excellence in major coursework, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Qualified applicants must also have at least 15 completed credits in an associate degree program, 30 completed credits in a bachelor’s degree program, or acceptance into a master’s degree program when the application is submitted.
The scholarships available from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation are available through three programs that are nationally recognized. Out of the nearly 96,000 applicants, only 150 will receive a scholarship from the annual endowment. Applicants should demonstrate their ability to serve and lead their communities as well as a commitment to impacting communities and schools in a positive manner today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Eligible applicants must be students graduating from high school, a home-schooled program, or attending specific DoD schools. These students must be in pursuit of a degree at a US accredited higher learning institution. If you are the child or grandchild of an employee of any Coca-Cola division, you are not eligible. The same is true of those already graduated from high school, temporary residents, or international students outside of the approved DoD schools.
The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is to provide support to all American citizens. The program is designed to create an equal playing field to those typically underserved in higher learning institutions, such as outstanding students who are African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans. One thousand students will be awarded each year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Applicants in pursuit of an undergraduate degree can pursue these scholarships. If you are pursuing a few specific areas, including education, you can also apply for funding for a graduate degree.
Deadline: December 31
Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship dedicates $1,000 to one student who exemplifies the superior principles and high professional standards similar to those for whom the scholarship was founded. Applicants can be undergraduate or graduate students of US higher learning institutions. Employees, officers, directors, and family members of the National Right to Work Committee, Members of the Selection Review Committee, and the National Institute for Labor Relations Research are not eligible to apply. You will be required to complete an essay, a transcript, and a formal application. Applicants will also be required to prove their understanding that you do not have to join a union and the dangers of teacher unions to the education system.
Amount: $8,000 (4, 4-year Awards); $1,000 (10, 1-time Awards)
Deadline: March 31
The AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program will provide four $8,000 scholarships for 4 years to those applicants who are children or legal dependents of members of the AFT. An additional 10 members of AFT will receive $1,000 grants to each to be used for continuing education or to strengthen their unions. Eligible students for the $8,000 must be graduating high school seniors. A legal guardian or one parent must be an active member of the AFT. The children and dependents of union staff do not qualify for these scholarships. Recipients will be required to maintain a 2.75 GPA to continue receiving the renewal of the scholarship. To be awarded the scholarship, students must demonstrate involvement in the community and school activities, leadership, special skills, and work experience.
Amount: Varies (55-70 Awardees/year)
Deadline: Last Tuesday in August
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program offers financial assistance to up to 70 recipients, and many scholarships are recurring. These scholarships are dedicated to teachers who wish to teach science, math, technology or engineering to students between the grades of kindergarten and year twelve. The program is designed to assist teachers in school districts that have a high demand for STEM teachers. Program recipients are required to work with various associations to help determine the best strategies and practices for selecting, attracting, and preparing new elementary and secondary teachers to be able to be effective as STEM teachers.
Amount: Entrance into Conferences
Deadline: September 28
The annual Lasting Legacy Scholarship Awards are provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Applicants must be student members in the need of professional and skill development as an early childhood education professional. You will have to complete an application online and provide a letter of recommendation, a resume, and essays. You will have to demonstrate your accomplishments directly related to your work with children who are younger than eight. As a recipient, you will also be compensated for expenses related to the National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development the year in which you receive the award.
Deadline: April 15
The National Education Association (NEA) sponsors the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship valued at $2,500 to be awarded each year to a worthy recipient. Applicants must demonstrate their financial need and interest in becoming a dynamic educator. You must enroll in an accredited education degree program as a full-time student, maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and provide a transcript, an essay, and letters of recommendation. All applicants must actively participate in student activities for the NEA.
Amount: Up to $4,000
Deadline: October 31
Each state has their own program for a Teacher Education Assistance College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. To qualify, you must enroll in a TEACH grant program. The program requires that you complete specific types of classes to prevent the grant from converting into a loan as dictated by the US Department of Education in 2018. If you become a recipient, you will earn up to $4,000 each year. You will be required to teach in a lower income area or an area in need. You can work at an elementary school, secondary school, or an agency serving families in need. And you must work in these areas for at least four years within eight years of degree completion.
Amount: $5,000/Semester (Max. $20,000)
Deadline: June 1 (Fall and Spring Semesters); October 1 (Spring Semester Only)
Five students who are enrolled in a graduate degree program full-time will be eligible for the Jewish Community Centers of North America Graduate Education Scholarship Program. Each student will qualify for the semester-based $5,000 scholarship. This award will either be dedicated for one to four semesters to each recipient. For those applying and pursuing a degree in education, you must be pursuing a master’s degree in either health, physical education, or early childhood education. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be expected to participate in and complete a field placement position at a Jewish Community Center.
Scholarships by State
Deadline: December 1
The CSUB Adele Davis Scholarship Endowment was created by the chair of the CSUB Music Department in 2005 on behalf of his wife and her love of being a first-grade teacher. This scholarship is dedicated to those who intend to become an elementary school teacher and study at California State University, Bakersfield. You will have to complete a general application to be considered for the scholarship.
The Boundless Opportunity Scholarship (BOS) is provided to non-traditional students enrolled at two-year and four-year higher learning institutions in Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. You must demonstrate your need for financial support and meet one of the following requirements: be an adult returning to higher education or entering college for the first time, a GED recipient, a former youth of foster care, a former juvenile justice youth, returning military, a person pursuing paramedics or EMT training, or a person pursuing a certificate in early childhood education. Scholarship money can be distributed to both direct and indirect expenses, from tuition to health insurance.
Amount: $4,000 ($2,000 per semester)
Deadline: July 1 (Fall), November 30 (Spring)
The Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program is a statewide initiative that extends to 35 institutions. The scholarship is dedicated to various minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. The participating higher learning institutions also vary, from private to public colleges and universities with teacher programs that have been approved by the state. Applicants must be a junior with 60 credit hours or have an associate’s degree without any previous bachelor degrees of completion.
Amount: 80% of tuition costs (depends on PELL aid and what type of institution you are in; public or private, bachelor’s or master’s) with a $200-$500 stipend
Deadline: June 30
The Georgia DECAL Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Department of Early Care and Learning. You can earn a scholarship that covers up to 80% of tuition expenses. This scholarship also provides a much-needed $500 stipend to be used as you see fit. You must be in pursuit of an early childhood education degree or a degree in child care administration. Your school of choice must be accredited, and you must be a US citizen or have legal permanent residency. Applicants must be employed with a licensed child care learning center and have six months of consecutive childcare experience. You must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA for the scholarship to qualify for renewal.
Amount: $750 per round (3 rounds per year)
Deadline: January 15, May 31, August 31
The PATCH Early Childhood Education Scholarship partners with the Hawaii Community Foundation to provide a $750 scholarship three times a year. This scholarship award is dedicated to early childhood education professionals in pursuit of continuing education. The scholarship is to be used for tuition reimbursement. Applicants will be required to enroll at an accredited Hawaii college and complete courses in early childhood education. You must also be a full-time employee at a licensed child care facility in Hawaii. Out-of-state courses will not be reimbursed.
Amount: $2,500 - $5,000
Deadline: March 1
The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois gives preference to minority students who intend to pursue a degree in education and work in schools that struggle to keep teachers. You must be working toward a teacher certification through any higher learning course of action, such as an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. You must have at least a 2.5 GPA. You could receive up to $23,000 in total during your higher education experience and receive paid summer institutes that offer hands-on experience. Scholarships are awarded to students at every level, from freshman to seniors.
Deadline: December 1
The Sally Gearhart Strottman Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to students at the University of Northern Iowa who are enrolled in the College of Education. Scholarship winners will receive up to $10,000 to be distributed throughout their undergraduate degree for up to four years. You must be an elementary education major, have a minimum ACT score of 27, and enroll in 30 credit hours each year. You will also have to provide references. Students who are incoming freshmen from Northeastern Iowa counties will be given preference.
Amount: $2,500 (renewable)
Deadline: February 1 (KS State scholarship application), March 1 (Tomorrow’s Teacher application)
The Tomorrow’s Teacher Scholarships are dedicated to Kansas resident high school seniors who wish to pursue a degree in education at Kansas State University. You will be required to write a 1,000-word essay to receive $2,500 each year during your undergraduate degree. Eligible applicants will be active in community service, have well-rounded life experience and common sense, and have a simple knowledge base of business.
Deadline: November 15 (Spring), April 15 (Summer), July 15 (Fall)
The Kentucky Early Childhood Development Scholarship is designed to provide some financial relief to students in Kentucky who are pursuing a career in child development or early childhood education. This might be in the manner of a child development associate credential, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or another similar program that has been approved by the Kentucky Early Childhood Development Authority. The scholarship is designed to guide the professional development of individuals who wish to work in ECE and early care. The scholarship is part of the KIDS NOW initiative for early childhood.
Deadline: October 1
The Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship is awarded by the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA). Each year, they provide $500 to an outstanding student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited degree program in child development or early childhood education. Applicants must be enrolled in either a two-year or four-year higher learning institution in Louisiana to qualify. You must also be a member of the LECA, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, enroll as a full-time student, and provide a statement pertaining to your educational philosophy. You will be reviewed based on your leadership abilities, professionalism, communication skills, academics, moral character, and knowledge base of early childhood education issues.
Amount: Pays for 9 credit hours at your school of choice (Based on credit hour cost)
Deadline: June 1
The Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship program is offered through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The idea behind the scholarship is to encourage more highly qualified students to work with young children. You must be a Massachusetts resident and a US citizen and be enrolled in an accredited degree program as an undergraduate. You cannot have completed a bachelor’s degree in the past. However, you should have been employed for at least 12 months in a licensed early childhood education care program. You will also be required to continue your employment, or you will be required to repay the scholarship money.
Amount: Varies based on FAFSA info
Deadline: FAFSA deadline
The North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (ELS) is committed to providing tuition assistance to students who are planning to attend eligible colleges and universities within North Carolina. These can be students either enrolled in two-year or four-year degree programs for a minimum of six credit hours. You must be a North Carolina resident and meet satisfactory progress in academic standings as stated by the college or university. You must also be an undergraduate student who has never before earned a bachelor’s degree with an expected family contribution of less than $5,000 for your degree.
Amount: $6,000 for Tuition and $1,000 for books (per year)
Deadline: FAFSA deadline
The Early Achievers Scholarships are dedicated to students who work at any Early Achievers facility. You must be pursuing an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or a certificate in early childhood education. A number of different scholarships are available for various career paths. This scholarship is sponsored by the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. It awards up to $6,000 each year to those who reside within the state of Washington. You must also have experience working in childhood education, at least a 2.0 GPA, and enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours each year. You will also have to continue working for Early Achievers for at least one year upon completion of your degree program.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Deadline: March 1
The Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program is dedicated to students in West Virginia who will pursue a degree in teaching. You will qualify if you are in pursuit of a degree in any level of education, from pre-k to secondary school. You will improve your chances if you are a junior, senior, or a graduate student. Applicants must be residents of West Virginia and must commit to teaching in West Virginia upon graduation for at least two years. All scholarships are dependent upon continued funding by the West Virginia State Legislature.
K12 Scholarships in Education/Teaching
College bound high school students planning to earn an Early Childhood Education degree can benefit from the number of teaching degree scholarships available to help finance their education.
Quality Early Childhood Education is vital to ensuring that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed, not only in the first years of school but throughout their entire lives. Studies have shown that children who do not receive such quality education are more than 60% more likely to not attend college and more than 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
Those college bound high school students with a calling to work with young children to help them develop the social and academic skills they need for success will find ten Early Childhood Teaching Degree Scholarships below:
Deadline: April 3
Thirty Prospective Education Scholarships in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 are awarded each year to high school seniors or current undergraduates who are members of Phi Delta Kappa (or whose parents are members).
Amount: Up to $1,000
Scholarships up to $1,000 will be awarded to applicants with a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of young children. A GPA of 3.0, essay, and recommendations are required.
Deadline: April 15
Jack Kinnaman was the vice president and former advisory council member of NEA-Retired. Jack cared deeply about his students and this scholarship was created in his honor to be awarded to those who need financial assistance to further their studies in Early Childhood Education. $2,500 scholarships are awarded to eligible students who are members of the National Education Association's NEA Student Program.
Amount: (Average award was around $3,000 previously)
Deadline: May 1
Each year the American Montessori Society grants a number of scholarships to aspiring Montessori teachers with demonstrated need. Scholarship amounts vary; in 2018 the AMS granted 24 scholarships for a total of $71,200. Qualified candidates must be enrolled or accepted in an AMS affiliated teacher education program, submit a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.
Amount: $1,200-$2,500 (or 80% of tuition costs, depending on the award)
Deadline: June 30
Funded by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the DECAL Scholarship Program provides students enrolled in a Georgia public or private institution the opportunity to receive 80% of tuition costs plus a $500 stipend. This program is intended to increase the number of credentialed and highly qualified early educators in Georgia.
Deadline: July 1
TEACH Grants are federally funded grants of up to $4,000 per year for students who agree to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area after receiving their degree. High-need fields include foreign language, English as a Second Language, Mathematics, Science, Special Education, as well as other high-need areas as determined by state and local authorities. These grants require a specific work commitment after earning a degree so be sure to closely read the requirements.
Amount: Up to 100% of Tuition
Deadline: August 31
Students attending schools in the Florida State University system may qualify for three tiers of scholarships which are based on high academic achievement: Florida Academic Scholars will receive 100% of tuition and related fees; Florida Medallion Scholars will receive 75% of tuition and applicable fees; the Academic Top Scholars Award is $44 per credit hour.
Deadline: June 1
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education grants a number of scholarships from between $2,250 to $4,500 per semester to Massachusetts residents enrolled in a qualified public or private institution in the field of Early Childhood Education; these scholarships are intended to increase the quality and number of educators available to work with young children. Students who accept this scholarship must agree to work after receiving a degree in ECE for a specified amount of time in a program that is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).
Amount: Up to $2,500/semester
Deadline: May 1
The KHEAA Teacher Scholarship Program provides up to $2,500 per semester for Kentucky residents pursuing a degree in teaching who demonstrate financial need. In exchange for this scholarship, graduates agree to teach for one semester at a school certified by the Kentucky Board of Education for each semester of scholarship money received.
Amount: $1,500-$2,500 (Renewable for 4 years)
Deadline: April 30
The Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship is open to any US Citizen or Permanent Resident who is pursuing a degree and who has experienced challenging circumstances. The Scholarship was created to assist motivated, hardworking individuals with the financial burdens of higher education with the goal of helping deserving students reach their full potential. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $2,500 and are renewable for up to four years.
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