As part of the 2016-17 state budget, OCDEL, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA), will fund more than 1,000 T.E.A.C.H. scholarships for eligible professionals in DHS-certified Keystone STARS programs.

T.E.A.C.H. scholarships are a partnership between the sponsoring child care program, scholarship recipient, and OCDEL so that:

  • Scholarship recipients receive funding for tuition, books, travel, paid release time (from their sponsoring early childhood education program) and a bonus or raise after each successful scholarship year.
  • Sponsoring early childhood education programs receive funding for substitutes so the student can attend class or study, and a commitment from the student to stay at the program for an additional year after each scholarship year. Sponsoring programs agree to cover the cost of the bonus or raise.
  • The early childhood field gains, higher retention and higher compensation for a more educated workforce.

Eligible applicants:

  • work approximately 25-30 hours per week directly with children in a DHS-certified child care program participating in Keystone STARS;
  • make $19 or less an hour ($25 or less per hour for directors) and
  • are interested in pursuing coursework at a participating college (at least 9 credits per year) toward a degree or credential in early childhood education. Applicant may apply for scholarships for a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential; CDA Assessment, Associate’s degree; Bachelor’s degree; or PA Teacher Certification.

For more information and to apply, visit PACCA’s website. Retroactive scholarships are available for students already enrolled for Fall 2016. Scholarships are also available for the upcoming Spring and Summer 2017 semesters.

Applicants cannot participate in both the T.E.A.C.H. and the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has released Supports for ECE Professionals in Keystone STARS Programs which reflects funding for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood ® PENNSYLVANIA Scholarship and the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program in 2016-17. This document can help early childhood education directors and staff in Keystone STARS programs identify eligibility and what it covered under each program.

T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Funding Update for 2018-2019

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is deeply committed to investing in the early care and education workforce’s educational attainment.  OCDEL’s tuition assistance funds both the T.E.A.C.H. (administered by PACCA) and Rising STARS (administered by the PA Key) programs. Although OCDEL expanded funding for T.E.A.C.H. and Rising Stars this fiscal year, the demand for scholarships has steadily increased over the new investments.  PACCA has awarded new T.E.A.C.H. scholarships for Spring 2019 and has filled all of their scholarship slots available for the upcoming semester.  As a result some applicants have been wait listed until additional funding becomes available.

To help students still enroll for the Spring 2019 semester, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has indicated that any T.E.A.C.H. applicant who is eligible, but waiting for funding can apply for Rising STARS Tuition Assistance (through the PA Key) in the interim.  Applicants can apply for tuition assistance for semester(s) occurring between now and June 30, 2019.

IMPORTANT:  This temporary access to Rising STARS Tuition Assistance will only be made available to individuals who have applied to T.E.A.C.H. and who are eligible, but wait listed for funding.  Any staff interested in applying for T.E.A.C.H. for upcoming semesters, should still submit an application ASAP.  Submitting an application helps PACCA to demonstrate the need for scholarships and make the case for additional funding from new sources.  It also helps students to arrange for their financial assistance needs prior to their desired semester.