Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program

The Department of Higher Education (DHE) and Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), in consultation with early childhood and child development professionals and academicians, developed quality assurance guidelines for early childhood programs enrolling students in Massachusetts Early Educator Preparation programs. The guidelines, which include both quality standards and the program review process, are periodically reviewed and updated to ensure continued effectiveness and quality.

The guidelines were informed by several underlying principles:

PDF Guidelines for MA Early Educator Preparation Programs Participating in ECES June 2013

2017-2018 Updates

After a ten year history of this program, the fields needs have changed and much has been learned. In an effort to ensure efficacy, a joint working group that included DHE’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), Academic Affairs and Student Success, and EEC’s Educator Provider Support and Workforce and Professional Development was formed in 2014. Stakeholders in higher education and early education and care provided extensive feedback to DHE and EEC staff over the period between 2014-2016.  This feedback was shared with the Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Carlos Santiago, and the Commissioner of Early Education and Care, Tom Weber, who provided further revisions in November 2016, and jointly recommended changes to the BHE. The Massachusetts’ Board of Higher Education (BHE) voted unanimously on improvements to the Early Childhood Educators Scholarships on January 24, 2017.

Several planned changes will occur this April 1, 2017 when the Early Childhood Scholarship goes live for the coming scholarship period. Implementation details will be made available in early spring following EEC’s EPS FY18 grant process and prior to the April 1st scholarships application release. A summary of the changes are as follows:

  1. Eliminate the language ‘or related degree’ for the 2017-2018 applications. The proposed change to this requirement beginning in FY 2017-2018 would be: “Enroll, as a matriculated student, in an undergraduate degree program, full or part-time, in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Family Studies, Child Care Administration or fields that directly name early child development and its specific areas of inquiry.
  2. Increase the completion of certificates and degrees by requiring applicants to work with the regional EEC Educator Provider Support (EPS) network when submitting the scholarship application to OSFA.
  3. Require participating institutions to offer advising and to work collaboratively with the EPS network in the region, such that scholarship students must be advised as to what courses and learning experiences will enable them to complete certificate and degree programs efficiently and without exceeding the required number of credits to do so.
  4. Limit eligible degree programs and colleges to those who provide evidence of compliance with the ECE Scholarship 2014 Guidelines for institutions when requested to do so.
  5. Identify Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) programs and staff that currently participate in the ECE Scholarship program to determine scholarship eligibility at the program level. This will have no impact for DHE/OSFA and will be in the purview of EEC.

PDF Early Childhood Educator Scholarships Guideline Improvements January 2017

Interested in applying to the Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program? Visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance website.