Since children are our nation's future, many organizations have created child development scholarships for college students studying the best practices to nurture healthy, productive youth.
From infancy through adolescence, child development majors become experts in the biological, psychological, intellectual, and social stages of growth in childhood.
Graduates with a degree in child development are qualified for numerous careers, including teaching, child care administration, juvenile justice, child protective services, family counseling, social work, curriculum development, psychology, special education, and more.
According to the BLS, employment of child development graduates in preschool and child care centers is expected to grow much faster than average at 17 percent before 2022!
If you're ready to leap into an in-demand career with extensive knowledge about childhood development, below are 20 of the best scholarships available to finance your education.
1. Altra Howse Hamman Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
At the University of Southern Mississippi, the Altra Howse Hamman Graduate Scholarship is given annually by the Department of Child and Family Studies to full-time graduate students who have declared a major in Family Life or Child Development. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of graduate work, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.75, have no grade less than "B" in any course, display high moral character, and be native-born U.S. citizens. Candidates don't necessarily have to be native to Mississippi, but those who are can also apply for the Carrie Herring Bennett Scholarship.
2. Ann-Marie Ogletree Child Development Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Through the Cleveland Foundation, the Ann-Marie Ogletree Child Development Scholarship is awarded annually for $1,200 to residents of the Greater Cleveland area who are pursuing study in early childhood education, child development, human development, counseling, or a related field. Eligible applicants must be enrolling full-time in an accredited U.S. university, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, exhibit financial need for assistance, and show a sincere desire to work with children and/or adolescents. Underserved or underrepresented minority students from low to moderate-income families will be given preference.
3. Bethesda Lutheran Scholastic and Service Scholarships
Deadline: May 1st
For Lutheran students, the Bethesda Lutheran Communities (BLC) offers two Scholastic and Service Scholarships annually for $3,000 apiece to finance the freshman, sophomore, or junior year of college for students choosing to major in an approved field, including child development. Qualified candidates must be active communicant members of a Lutheran congregation, be accepted at an accredited U.S. institution, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and wish to pursue a career in supporting children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Applications must include documentation of 100 hours of volunteer service, four letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a 300-word personal essay.
4. Betty Gray Childhood Development Scholarship
Deadline: March 13th, June 9th, September 8, and December 19th
Each term, the Betty Gray Childhood Development Scholarship is made available to provide up to $1,000 in financial support to students pursuing a degree in child development or early childhood education at all 17 of Oregon's community colleges. Qualified applicants must be enrolled in an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program, work directly with children at least 20 hours a week in a licensed Oregon childcare center, already have an Oregon Registry STEP 3 or above, and maintain good academic standing.
5. Bright Futures Scholarship Program
Deadline: June 10th
Ranging in value from $250 to $1,000, the Bright Futures Scholarship Program is hosted each year to distribute multiple awards to students who are pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in early childhood education, child development, or another early learning field to become child care providers. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have completed at least 15 college credits, and demonstrate achievement in field-based experiences working directly with young children under the age of eight. Applicants must submit an online application with two letters of recommendation and two essay responses.
6. Cameron and Tyler Holman Child Development Scholarship
Deadline: February 20th
At Mt. San Jacinto College, the Cameron and Tyler Holman Child Development Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to full-time or part-time students who are currently enrolled in the child development program to become preschool teachers, teacher assistants, site supervisors, childcare administrators, or master teachers. Eligible students must carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have unmet financial need, attach copies of unofficial college transcripts, submit two current applicant evaluation forms, and write a 500-word personal essay highlighting their future career plans in child development.
7. Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: November 15th
Sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation (APF), the Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Graduate Scholarship is granted each year for $25,000 to full-time graduate students earning a doctoral degree in child psychology, child development, pediatric psychology, or developmental psychology. Eligible recipients must be attending an accredited U.S. institution, demonstrate research competence, be working on scholarly works related to child development, and maintain exemplary academic standing. Applications won't be complete without a five-page project proposal, detailed budget plan, current CV or resume, copy of IRB approval, and two signed letters of recommendation.
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Graduate Scholarship
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
8. Excellence in Early Childhood Scholarships
Deadline: March 17th and July 15th
Funded by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Excellence in Early Childhood Scholarships are awarded for $20,000 each semester to four incoming students who are enrolling in the online early childhood academic programs at Walden University. Qualified individuals must be pursuing the B.S. in Child Development, M.S. in Early Childhood Studies, Ed.S. in Early Childhood, Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education, or Ed.D. in Early Childhood. For consideration, applicants must submit one letter of recommendation, a current resume, and a 1,000-word essay describing their early childhood development efforts.
9. Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program
Deadline: July 1st
As part of the Illinois Professional Development System, the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program is available to cover the tuition costs for up to 15 college credits per year over a three-term period to students pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education or child development. Qualified applicants must be enrolling at least part-time in an accredited Illinois college, be working towards the Gateways to Opportunity credential, and maintain good academic standing. Recipients will be obligated to work at least one year full-time in an approved child care center with Illinois preschool-aged children.
Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program
1226 Towanda Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61701
10. IdahoSTARS Academic Degree Scholarships
Through the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC), the IdahoSTARS Academic Degree Scholarships are designed to cover full tuition costs for students working towards a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, technical certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Eligible candidates must work at a licensed child care center in Idaho, have worked at least one year full-time, continue working a minimum of 25 hours per week, and submit one letter of recommendation from their child care supervisor. Recipients will earn 100% of tuition costs with academic counseling and up to 80 hours of paid release time.
11. Jeanne Gilley Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: October 1st
Since 1994, the Jeanne Gilley Graduate Scholarship has been offered by the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA) to give $600 annually to full-time or part-time graduate students who are earning a degree in child development, early childhood education, or another closely related field. Qualified students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have had LAECA membership for at least six months, and submit three letters of recommendation. Selection will be based upon candidates' academic achievement, professionalism, communicative abilities, knowledge of contemporary child development issues, career aspirations, leadership potential, moral character, and overall philosophies.
Jeanne Gilley Graduate Scholarship
P.O. Box 121
Lacassine, LA 70650
12. Kentucky Early Childhood Development Scholarships
Deadline: November 15th and April 15th
Every semester, the KHEAA offers the Kentucky Early Childhood Development Scholarships to grant up to $1,800 in financial support to students who are pursuing an associate's degree in early childhood education, bachelor's degree in early childhood education, or the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Eligible students must reside in Kentucky, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, be enrolled in no more than nine credits, attend a participating Kentucky institution, maintain good academic standing, be employed at least 20 hours per week in an early childhood facility, and agree to a service commitment.
13. Kimberly Perkins Scholarship Award
Deadline: March 1st
At California State University Fullerton, the Kimberly Perkins Scholarship Award is presented annually with a $1,500 stipend by the Child and Adolescent Studies (CAS) Department to full-time undergraduate students who are currently enrolled with a major in child and adolescent development or early childhood development. Qualified candidates must exhibit outstanding academic performance with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, be committed to professional development in challenging circumstances, and be nominated by faculty for their persistence. Students may also be interested in applying for the Robert B. McLaren Award in Children's Moral Development.
14. Maine Roads Scholarship Program
Deadline: July 1st and November 1st
As a financial incentive to support those employed in the child care field, the Maine Roads Scholarship Program is offered annually to give up to $3,500 to students who are pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in early childhood education, child development, or child care administration. Eligible applicants must reside in Maine, attend an accredited in-state institution, work in a licensed Maine child care center, have a total family income that doesn't exceed 300% poverty level, and be enrolled at least half-time. All applications must include proof of acceptance, income documentation, a recent college transcript, and a goals statement.
15. Mary McCorriston Child Development Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Within the School of Education (SOE), Ferris State University grants the Mary McCorriston Child Development Scholarship annually to students who have been enrolled as child development majors for two consecutive semesters full-time. Qualified candidates must possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, demonstrate financial need, and exhibit the potential to be an outstanding teacher of young children under eight years old. Applications must include proof of full-time enrollment, an unofficial transcript, a current resume, and at least one reference letter from an FSU faculty member.
16. McQuagge Child Development Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
In honor of Dr. Carl McQuagge, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Delta State University has created the McQuagge Child Development Scholarship to award up to $1,000 each year to currently enrolled undergraduate majors who have chosen a concentration in child development. Eligible recipients must reside in Mississippi, display good moral character, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, be actively involved in FCS activities, have unmet financial need and showcase a professional attitude. Child development majors could be qualified to earn the Hamilton Child Development Scholarship for $600 too.
17. Nancy Bartlett Hitch Student Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st
Administered by the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), the Nancy Bartlett Hitch Student Scholarship is bestowed annually for $1,000 to students who have excelled academically with a major in early childhood education or child development at an accredited college in the United States. Eligible applicants must be ACEI members, show promise as emerging educators, be actively involved in extra-curricular activities, exhibit need for financial assistance, and have professional goals in early childhood education. Applications must include a personal statement, three reference letters, and a current resume of experience.
18. PATCH Early Childhood Development Scholarships
Deadline: August 31st, January 15th, and May 31st
Given for $750 through three annual rounds, the PATCH Early Childhood Development Scholarships are designed for Hawaii residents who are taking courses focused in early childhood education or child development either on-campus or online. Eligible candidates must enrolling at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Hawaii West Oahu, Kauai Community College, Maui Community College, Honolulu Community College, Hawaii Community College, Chaminade University, Hawaii Pacific University, or the University of Phoenix. Preference will be given to students who are taking PACE classes or are pursuing the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
19. Patty Hamilton Child Development Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
In the amount of $2,500, the Patty Hamilton Child Development Scholarship is awarded each year by the University of Alaska Foundation (UAF) to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program for early childhood education, child development, or a related major. Qualified candidates must have junior or senior-level standing, reside within Alaska, attend an approved in-state institution, maintain good academic progress, and have career aspirations within the field of early childhood development. Applicants will be asked to write a detailed paragraph highlighting their experience working or volunteering with young children.
20. Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program
Deadline: July 15th, December 15th, and May 15th
Through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program is available to cover 30% of tuition costs for students pursuing an associate's degree in child development or early childhood education as well as those earning the Certificate of Mastery in Child Development (CoM) or Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. Eligible candidates must work in a one-star plus or above licensed child care facility in Oklahoma, work at least 30 hours per week earning $15.50 or less per hour, and have at least six months of full-time experience in child care.
Whether you're majoring in child development at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, or even certificate level, you'll still need to overcome rising tuition costs to finance your educational endeavors. It's advised that you search for scholarships and grants that won't need to be repaid to ensure you're not strapped with loads of student loan debt upon completion. Consider applying for some of these great child development scholarships to make your degree more affordable and help you reach your career aspirations working with growing kids.