Suggested Financial Assistance Options for Degree Attainment

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) supports degree attainment for early childhood education (ECE) professionals through several programs. At this time, OCDEL would like to recognize the following financial assistance options for degree attainment:

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance (RSTA) Teacher Education And Compensation Helps Early Childhood® Pennsylvania Scholarship (T.E.A.C.H.)* Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organizations (ECE PDOs)** Federal Pell Grant Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form
Programs of study eligible to be funded: Director Credential (DC)

School-Age Professional Credential (SAPC)

Associate (AA) Degree

Bachelor’s (BA) Degree

PK-4 Certification Level I & II

Child Development Associate (CDA)

Associate (AA) Degree

Bachelor’s (BA) Degree

Credentials that stack into degree programs or advance career pathways, may also include apprenticeship

Undergraduate programs of study Any undergraduate or graduate programs of study
Does NOT fund: Degree programs Non-certification Master’s, related degrees, non-degree coursework Graduate programs, credentials that do not stack into degree programs Graduate programs of study Non-degree coursework
Items covered: Tuition (95%), book reimbursement, facility support Tuition & most fees (95%), book reimbursement, travel stipend, paid release time, compensation (raise and/or bonus) Tuition and additional items; coverage is comprehensive and based on individual needs. Items covered can include but are not limited to tutoring, travel, childcare, etc. Amount awarded depends on number and level of degrees previously obtained, financial need, cost of attendance at your institute of higher education (IHE), etc. Covers any billable items. Awards depend on income, tax filing status, cost of attendance at your institute of higher education (IHE), etc. Covers any billable items.
Will I have to pay it back? No, if student remains in a DHS licensed center for 2 years. No, but there is an employment commitment required. No, as long as student remains in ECE Field (any setting serving children birth though 8) in Pennsylvania for 2 years after completing PDO coursework. No, in most circumstances. Yes. This is a traditional student loan.
Annual Maximum up to $8,000 up to 15-18 credits Individually determined. N/A N/A
May be adjusted/reapply on an annual basis: Reapply each semester. No. Reapply annually. Renew application annually. Renew application annually.
Eligibility Requirements Yes. Yes. Pennsylvania resident working 25 hours/week in a DHS licensed program. Yes. Yes.
Learn More Visit the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance page. Visit Pennsylvania Child Care Associations (PACCA)’s website. Contact your ECE PDO. Visit the website. Visit the website.
Contact PHMC (Southeast Region) or

PASSHE (All Other Regions)


*NOTE:T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships require employer sponsorship; sponsoring employers agree to pay a percentage of tuition/fees (typically 5%), provide paid release time and a raise and/or bonus at the end of each scholarship year.

**NOTE: This option may have a recipient priority.

Other Options To Consider:

  • Scholarship Opportunities
  • Membership-Based Organizations (Rotary Clubs, etc.)
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Employer Sponsored Tuition Assistance
  • Specialization Scholarships

Navigating Financial Assistance with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

featuring Colin Day, Director of Communications

Watch this video on Youtube.