Early Learning Scholarships*

There are two ways families can access Early Learning Scholarships: Pathway I and Pathway II.
Families can access Pathway I scholarships by applying through Regional Administrators.
Early care and education programs that have applied and been awarded Pathway II scholarships can award those scholarships to families.
For the latest information on Early Learning Scholarships, please visit the Minnesota Department of Education website: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/early/sch/

Learn more about administering scholarships with the Early Learning Scholarships Program Guide and Early Learning Scholarship Program Manual.

For specific questions on children experiencing homelessness or in Foster Care, please see the **Supplemental Guide for Children in Foster Care or Experiencing Homelessness

Early Learning Scholarships Pathway I

These scholarships are awarded directly to families who meet eligibility requirements. Families must have a child between the ages of three to four as of September 1 of the current year, and must meet other eligibility requirements outlined in Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.165.

Pathway I scholarship funds are paid to the early childhood program that the family chooses. The program must participate in the Parent Aware Quality Rating and Improvement System and may include Head Start, school district pre-kindergarten and preschool programs, and child care programs. Pathway I scholarships “follow the child” and are awarded to the family for up to 12 months. As of July 1, 2016, the program must have and maintain a Three- or Four-Star Parent Aware Rating in order to continue to receive scholarships.

Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II

Pathway II scholarships are awarded to families through an eligible Four-Star Parent Aware Rated program. These include Head Start, school district prekindergarten and preschool programs, and child care programs. Programs participating as a Pathway II site receive Pathway II scholarships funds for up to 12 months. If your program is awarded as a recipient of Pathway II Early Learning Scholarship funds, please refer to MDE's resource page for more information: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/early/sch/pathII/ (from MDE website)

The application for Pathway II funding is currently closed.

Intro to Pathway II Webinars

Intro to Pathway II Funding webinars are required for all Pathway II funded programs by September 30, 2016. There are currently no scheduled webinars. Additional opportunities will be available throughout the funding period. Please refer to the below PowerPoints and use the Program Guide and Manual to supplement information.

School District and Head Start Intro to Pathway II PowerPoint
Child care Intro to Pathway II PowerPoint

Pathway II Award Forms

If you are a Pathway II funded program, you will use the below applications to support family's in applying for an Early Learning Scholarship. Note: 2018 Award Form is available in English. Spanish, Hmong and Somali are currently being translated. In the interim you may use the FY2017 version
English: Application;Renewal Form
Somali: Award Form; Supplemental Packet; Renewal Form
Spanish: Award Form; Supplemental Packet; Renewal Form
Hmong: Award Form; Supplemental Packet; Renewal Form

Parent Notification Letters
These letters are templates available for programs to communicate Pathway II Early Learning Scholarship awards with parents. They are intended to be modified by programs and available in four languages.
Parent Notification Letter- English
Parent Notification Letter- Hmong
Parent Notification Letter- Somali
Parent Notification Letter- Spanish

Invoice Form and Data Practices Resources

Invoicing: Programs are reimbursed for expenditures incurred. Service periods become available in ELSA the day after the period ends. E.g. July 1st – July 15th service period will open for entry on July 16th. Programs may start a payment request any time after the period becomes open. The expectation is that payment must be submitted on a monthly basis and no payment request may be submitted after 105 days from the last day of the service period.

MDE will be monitoring awards and expenditures on a quarterly basis. You may be asked for further detail regarding current and projected expenditures periodically throughout the year based on your awards and expenditures. MDE does reserve the right to adjust current Pathway II Early Learning Scholarships funds based on a provider’s ability to fully expend funds. Future Pathway II funds may also be contingent on a provider’s ability to fully expend current funds.

Pathway II Early Learning Scholarship Invoice/Claims Form

All programs must adhere to data privacy standards, learn more by reading this Document on Data Practices.

*Always refer to the [http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/early/sch/] website for official information.