The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program Application is now part of Pennsylvania’s PD Registry.
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About 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 $8,000 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). 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. Submit your completed application by June 15 for consideration.

T.E.A.C.H. may be a better financial assistance option for you.

This program has several important changes for Fiscal Year 2020-21:

  • Grandfathered funding for degree program applicants ended on June 30, 2020. Rising STARS Tuition Assistance program no longer funds degree programs including Associates outside of the CDA, Bachelors, Masters or Teacher Certification coursework.
  • For approved CDA or Credential Coursework, individuals will receive 95% of tuition costs and fees net of other funding sources for approved credential or CDA coursework up to eighteen (18) credits.
  • Additionally, new applicants for approved CDA or Credential Coursework can submit a request form (fill out both the request form (PDF) and W-9 (PDF) and include your required book list and receipt) for reimbursement for books after purchase.

Eligibility Requirements for the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program  

To be eligible for funding consideration, applicants must meet all the following requirements. Meeting eligibility requirements does not guarantee funding.

  1. Pennsylvania resident;
  2. Working in a child care facility that holds a current (in good standing) Child Care License under the Department of Human Services (DHS) and demonstrates continuous employment for at least 12 months;
  3. Working a minimum of twenty (20) hours weekly in a classroom setting or as the director, assistant director or education coordinator;
  4. Aides, Assistant Teachers, Teachers: Earning less than $40,000 annually;
  5. Child Care Center Directors, Assistant Directors, Family or Group Child Care Home Owners/Operators: Earning less than $50,000 annually;
  6. Agreeing to continue to work in a Keystone STARS facility for two months for every credit supported by the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program with two months beginning at the conclusion of the course for which funding was received. (Total time due will not exceed 24 months following the conclusion of the most recent course completed);
  7. Enrolled in credit-bearing courses at an in-state accredited institution toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) or an approved credential; and
  8. Maintaining a 3.0 GPA for the credit-bearing coursework toward a CDA or  a credential in which the student is enrolled.

Required Documents for Application Submission

The following documents must be submitted with your application. Incomplete applications or those submitted with missing documents may result in delayed or rejected funding.

  • The Type of Coursework, which may be listed on your transcripts, degree audit or other documentation from your institute of higher learning
  • Course information including Course Number, Course Title, Begin/End Dates of Course, Number of Credits.  A course description is required for courses toward the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, Director Credential.
  • Itemized Financial Billing Statement showing the cost of tuition for the course.  The Billing Statement must indicate that the applicant has been registered for the course, and must state the course name and the tuition cost for that specific course.   Fees or other costs should not be included in the tuition cost line.
  • Transcript showing current GPA as of most recent completed semester.  Official transcript with raised seal not required.  (Not required only if this is the first course taken for this degree/certificate)
  • Employer Attestation Form (PDF) completed by your Director.
  • DHS Certificate of Compliance (obtained from Director/Owner of current employer) – See Sample (PDF)

Additional information, helpful for completing your application.

Submit all documentation with application or via fax to 717-213-0585 or email to pakeyvoucherprogram@pakeys.org.

If you have not received an email indicating approval, denial, or the need for more documentation to complete your application within two weeks of submission of your application, please contact pakeysvoucherprogram@pakeys.org to ensure the application has been received and processed.

Determining Fiscal Year

The start date of the course determines the Fiscal Year.

  • The deadline for Fiscal Year 2019-20 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) has passed and is no longer eligible for funding.
  • For Fiscal Year 2020-2021, documentation for courses with a start date of July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 must be submitted with completed application and all supporting documentation by June 15, 2021.
  • See the Samples of Acceptable Documentation for Courses (PDF)

Apply for Rising STARS Tuition Assistance

Beginning July 1, 2019, all applications for Rising STARS Tuition Assistance will be submitted and reviewed in Pennsylvania’s PD Registry. No paper applications will be processed. Use the tipsheet below for in-depth details on how to apply.

In order to apply for Rising STARS Tuition Assistance

Important Rising STARS Tuition Forms

**Application through the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance is through Pennsylvania’s Professional Development (PD) Registry. No paper applications will be processed.