As more emphasis is being placed on language and literacy development at a younger age to minimize the "achievement gap" of at-risk children, early childhood education scholarships are becoming increasingly easier to find. After all, studies by Ounce of Prevention have found that children who don't receive high-quality early childhood education are 60% more likely to never attend college and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
Earning an early childhood education degree will provide future teachers and administrators with the skills needed to develop early learning experiences that set children up for lifelong intellectual and social success.
If you've received the calling to work with youthful children from birth through age 8, below are 20 lucrative scholarships that can be used to finance your undergraduate or graduate degree in early childhood education.
1. Ann Eddy Early Childhood Education Scholarship
Deadline: April 7th
In honor of her distinguished career as an elementary school teacher, curriculum coordinator, reading specialist, and pre-kindergarten program supervisor, the Ann Eddy Early Childhood Education Scholarship has been created to provide $500 annually through the Public Education Foundation of Marion County (PEFMC). Qualified recipients must be graduating high school seniors, reside within Marion County, plan to major in early childhood education, and be enrolling full-time in an accredited four-year institution in Florida. All applications must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation, grade/test report, and 300-word essay describing why candidates' have chosen to be early childhood teachers.
Ann Eddy Early Childhood Education Scholarship
1239 NW 4th Street
Ocala, FL 34475
2. Bright Futures National Scholarships
Deadline: June 11th
Ranging in value from $250 to $1,000 apiece, the Bright Futures National Scholarships are awarded annually to provide financial support to future teachers pursuing their dreams of caring for and teaching young children. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. institution, be working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in early childhood education, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have completed at least 30 credits of college coursework, demonstrate potential as a teacher of children under the age of 8, and have at least nine months of experience working with this age group. Preference will be given to non-traditional students, career changes, people of color, and students overcoming obstacles.
3. Daniels Boundless Opportunities Scholarships
Deadline: June 1st
Built on the legacy of cable television pioneer Bill Daniels at partnering universities, the Daniels Boundless Opportunities Scholarship is designed to provide funding to highly motivated non-traditional students who are investing in higher education to better life for themselves and their families. Participating two and four-year colleges across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming provide up to $5,000 to cover tuition, fees, campus-provided health insurance, room and board, textbooks, and transportation expenses. Qualified applicants must be adults returning to college, GED recipients, foster care youth, juvenile justice youth, returning military veterans, individuals pursuing EMT training, and/or individuals pursuing early childhood education (ECE) certification.
4. Diane Trister Dodge Scholarship Award
Deadline: March 1st
Sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Diane Trister Dodge Scholarship Award is granted annually for student members who are pursuing professional development to further their skills in the area of early childhood education. To qualify, candidates must submit a completed online application, current resume, letter of recommendation, and five 300-word essay responses describing their professional accomplishments working with young children under the age of 8. Recipients will also receive full reimbursement for registration, travel, meals, and accommodations to attend the National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development that year.
5. Georgia DECAL Scholarship Program
Deadline: June 30th
Through the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), Georgia hosts a statewide scholarship program to cover 80% of tuition costs with a $500 stipend to students pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in early childhood education or child care administration. Applicants must be enrolled in a public or private Georgia institution accredited by the SACS, be at least 18 years old, have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency, be currently employed with a child care learning center licensed by Bright from the Start, and have at least six consecutive months of childcare experience. To renew funds, recipients must successfully maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5.
6. Early Achievers Scholarships
Funded by the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant, the Early Achievers Scholarships are granted for up to $6,000 annually to students currently pursuing a CDA certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Eligible candidates must be employed at an Early Achievers participating facility, reside within Washington, have at least six months of experience in childhood education, enroll in at least 12 credits each academic year, and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.0. Recipients will need to agree to remain employed by an Early Achievers facility for one year following graduation.
7. Ernest C. Ball Scholarship Fund
Deadline: January 26th
At the University of Memphis, the College of Education, Health and Human Services (CEHHS) has created the Ernest C. Ball Scholarship Fund to provide $500 to $1,000 each year to honor his 21-year career as the superintendent of Memphis City Schools. Qualified applicants must be seeking a bachelor's or master's degree in education, have formally declared a concentration in early childhood education, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, reside within Tennessee, maintain full-time enrollment, and have at least sophomore-level status. Selection will be based upon academic ability, financial need, community involvement, and leadership qualities.
8. Excellence in Early Childhood Scholarships
Deadline: March 17th and July 15th
Within the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, Walden University offers the Excellence in Early Childhood Scholarships to give $20,000 to four incoming students interested in enrolling full-time in the university's online early childhood academic programs. Eligible applicants must be planning to pursue the B.S. in Child Development, M.S. in Early Childhood Studies, Ed.S. in Early Childhood, Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education, or Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood. Candidates must submit a letter of reference, current resume, official scholarship application form, and 1,000-word essay describing how they've demonstrated excellence in the early childhood field.
9. Idaho STARS Academic Scholarships
Deadline: September 30th
Designed to cover 100% of tuition costs, the Idaho STARS Academic Scholarships are awarded annually for childcare professionals statewide who are taking post-secondary courses towards a technical certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree in early childhood education or development at an accredited Idaho college. Qualified candidates must work in a state licensed child care program that operates hours beyond the school day, work with young children at least 25 hours per week, be enrolled in the Professional Development System Registry, and have completed at least one year of employment at a sponsoring early childhood program.
10. Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Established by the National Education Association (NEA) in memory of the former Advisory Council member who's fondly remembered as Cat in the Hat, the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship is granted annually for $2,000 to financially needy college students who need a helping hand to afford becoming an educator. Qualified members must participate in NEA student activities, be enrolling full-time in an accredited teacher education program in the United States, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and exhibit financial need. Applicants must submit an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a 200-word personal statement describing their career goals in teaching.
11. Jean Taylor Lyman Scholarship
Deadline: March 27th
At Eastern Michigan University, the College of Education offers the Jean Taylor Lyman Scholarship each year for up to $1,500 to support students currently enrolled in the bachelor's or master's degree programs in early childhood education. Qualified applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or a graduate GPA of 3.7, have at least junior-level status, exhibit financial need, reside in Michigan, and show potential for working with young children. For consideration, students must attach one professional letter of recommendation, their financial aid report, and a personal essay discussing their vocational aspirations.
Jean Taylor Lyman Scholarship
313 Porter Building
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
12. Joanne P. Hammes Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 1st
Through the American Montessori Society (AMS), the Joanne P. Hammes Scholarship Fund was established to honor her lifelong work as a Montessori educator by providing one $1,000 award each year. Qualified candidates must be accepted or already enrolled in an AMS-affiliated teacher education program, plan to specialize in early childhood or elementary education, aspire to become a Montessori teacher, and exhibit financial need. Along with the application, young educators should submit three letters of recommendation, proof of enrollment, income tax forms, and a compelling 1,000-word personal statement describing how they'll build developmentally appropriate relationships with young children.
13. KHEAA Early Childhood Development Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
Administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), the Early Childhood Development Scholarship is presented annually for $1,800 to students pursuing an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or CAD credential with a clear concentration in early childhood education. Eligible applicants must be Kentucky residents, be attending one of the participating in-state colleges, have U.S. citizenship, enroll in no more than nine credits per term, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and be employed at least 20 hours weekly in an early childhood care facility. Recipients will need to agree to a service commitment based on their credentials being pursued after graduation.
14. Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship
Deadline: October 1st
Since 1994, the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA) has awarded the Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship annually for $600 to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing an accredited degree in early childhood education or childhood development from a two or four-year institution in Louisiana. Eligible applicants must have LAECA membership for at least six months, possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, maintain full-time enrollment, and submit a personal statement discussing their educational philosophy. Recipients will be chosen based on their professionalism, moral character, leadership qualities, communicative abilities, academic achievement, and knowledge of contemporary early childhood education issues.
Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship
P.O. Box 121
Lacassine, LA 70650
15. Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
Ranging in value from $2,250 to $4,500 per semester, the Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship program is piloted through the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OFSA) to increase the availability of quality teachers for working with the state's young children. Qualified applicants must reside in Massachusetts, be U.S. citizens, be matriculated in an accredited undergraduate degree program in early childhood education, have not previously earned a bachelor's degree, and have been employed at a licensed early education care program for at least 12 months. Recipients must sign an agreement to continue employment as an early childhood educator in Massachusetts or repay their funds.
16. NCECP Future Educators Scholarship
Deadline: May 26th
To honor the initial mission of the National Coalition for Educational and Cultural Programs (NCECP) focused on early childhood education, the Future Educators Scholarship is distributed annually for $1,000 to deserving Massachusetts high school seniors who will be enrolling full-time in an accredited in-state college. Eligible candidates must be pursuing a career within the education field, be actively involved in community service, exhibit financial need, and have prior work or volunteer experience working with young children. In addition to the completed application form, students must submit proof of community service, verification of college acceptance, three letters of recommendation, and a four-part essay displaying their potential for a career teaching the state's next generation of leaders.
17. PATCH Early Childhood Education Scholarships
Deadline: January 15th, May 31st, and August 31st
In collaboration with the Hawaii Community Foundation, the PATCH Early Childhood Education Scholarships are awarded three times a year for $750 as tuition reimbursement for early childhood education professionals pursuing college coursework to increase their knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices. Eligible applicants must be taking coursework at an accredited Hawaii college, complete college credits related to early childhood education, and be currently employed full-time at a licensed child care facility in Hawaii. Preference will be given to individuals using the scholarship to pursue their CDA credential.
18. Ruth Hart Blanchard Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
In honor of the president of the Class of 1923, the first class to attend Commencement in Old Main, the Ruth Hart Blanchard Scholarship is awarded annually by SUNY Cortland to an outstanding incoming freshman student who has been accepted for full-time enrollment within the university's early childhood education program. Qualified applicants must demonstrate high academic achievement, have significant financial need verified by a FAFSA form, and plan to pursue a career as an early childhood educator after their bachelor's degree. Continued funding is available for recipients who maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.7 and remain an early childhood education major.
19. TEACH Grant Program
Deadline: July 1st
Administered through the U.S. Department of Education, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program is designed to provide up to $4,000 annually to incoming and current college students who are completing undergraduate or graduate coursework needed to begin a career in teaching. Qualified students must be enrolled in a grant-eligible degree program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, demonstrate significant financial need, and be U.S. citizens. Recipients must sign an agreement to work at an elementary school, secondary school, child care center, or other educational service agency serving low-income families upon graduation.
TEACH Grant Program
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
20. Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
As part of the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV), the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship is offered annually to provide $5,000 to assist undergraduate and graduate students pursuing an education degree to teach at the preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school levels. Applicants must be West Virginia residents, be enrolled full-time in an accredited in-state teacher education program, be in good academic standing, and show promise for a career in education. Scholarship recipients must sign an agreement to work at least two years for every year of financial support in an economically disadvantaged area of West Virginia.
Earning a degree in early childhood education is a smart move for individuals looking to learn about major childhood development milestones to teach young children, but hefty higher education costs can sometimes make this difficult to accomplish. In order to ensure you have enough financial funding, check out these top-notch early childhood education scholarships for achieving your teaching aspirations with our nation's youngest learners.