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Financial Assistance

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) offers several ways for early childhood and school-age professionals to receive assistance in paying for professional development through tuition assistance, financial aid, and scholarship programs.

Free and Low Cost Professional Development

Use the Pennsylvania Professional Development Registry to locate and register for free and low cost training offered across the state and on-line. Users must create an account to search and register for courses. Many courses are subsidized using PA OCDEL funds. 

To learn more about the PD Registry, including tip sheets, click here.

Scholarships and Tuition Assistance

OCDEL supports scholarships and tuition assistance through two options, Rising STARS Tuition Assistance and T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Pennsylvania Scholarships. To decide which one is right for you, click here, to view a tip sheet. As of July 1, 2017, all applicants eligible for T.E.A.C.H. ® must elect that option. Only those applicants not meeting T.E.A.C.H. ® eligibility requirements will be considered for Rising STARS Tuition Assistance.

T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA Scholarship Program works with early childhood providers, colleges and child care staff to offer scholarship programs and support systems that improve the education and compensation of child care workers. T.E.A.C.H. pays for a percentage of the cost of tuition and books, provides a travel stipend each semester, reimburses the center for a percentage of release timegiven, and provides counseling and administrative support for the program.

To learn more about T.E.A.C.H. eligibility, requirements and to apply, click here.

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program

The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program pays 95% of tuition costs for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $6,000 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). The program covers tuition costs only and does not include books, materials, or fees. Tuition costs net of other funding sources such as scholarships, stipends, discounts or grants (except the Pell Grant) are used to determine the amount of assistance. It is recommended completed applications be submitted at least four weeks prior to the start of the course, or prior to the tuition due date, whichever is first.

To learn more about the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program, including eligibility requirements, click here.

CDA Voucher

The CDA Assessment Fee Voucher Program supplies payment for the CDA Assessment Fee that is required to complete the CDA Assessment process. The full CDA Assessment Fee of $425 is paid directly to the Council for Professional Recognition. The Voucher Program for the CDA Assessment Fee is a two-step process. The first step is to apply for a voucher and submit the application to the PA Key. Applications are then reviewed. Individuals whose applications are approved receive a voucher in the mail, which they must send to the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, DC, along with the CDA Application. The Council is then paid directly by the PA Key.

To learn more or to apply for the CDA Assessment Fee Voucher, click here.

Additional Financial Aid and Scholarship Resources

Financial Aid Home Page: www.finaid.org
Federal Student Aid: www.fafsa.ed.gov
National Student Loans: www.nslds.ed.gov
Scholarship Search Engine: www.fastweb.com
Financial Aid and Scholarship Search Engine: www.collegeboard.com
U.S. Department of Post-Secondary Education: www2.ed.gov/students/prep/college/index.html