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Scholarships for Early Childhood Education Teachers

Chandler Harrison

Featuring advice for winning scholarships from teacher Chandler Harrison

Early childhood education (ECE)—which encompasses all forms of education provided to children from infancy up to 8 years old—can be one of the most gratifying careers. Typically with an associate degree in ECE or a certificate, you can find jobs teaching young children at daycare centers, private schools, and in the home.

With a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in early childhood education, your career options become more varied—you can teach at public schools, become a daycare center director, design curriculum, and conduct research.

The following scholarships can help you pay for an education that prepares you for early childhood education careers, no matter what your degree level or career goals.

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The Nancy Larson Foundation College Scholarship
Apply by Fall $1,000

The Nancy Larson Foundation offers scholarships for students who have declared an elementary education major. Juniors, seniors, and high school graduates are welcome to apply for the scholarships, which are awarded based on the candidate’s passion for and commitment to education.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by Nancy Larson Foundation

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 5 to 10
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

Students who are 25 years of age or older who are planning to teach at the elementary school level are eligible for this award. Applicants must be at least a college sophomore. The award is based on academic merit.

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Provided by Daughters of the American Revolution

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.5

This scholarship is renewable.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program offers three different scholarship options that embrace leadership and commitment to schools and communities. Applicants must be current high school (or home-schooled) students who will be graduating during the 2020-2021 academic school year and are planning to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution.

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Provided by Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Over 1,400
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) offers four scholarships per year to students who are dependents of AFT members. Applicants must be seniors in high school. They also offer 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members to assist with their continuing education and/or fund their proposed ideas to strengthen and grow their union.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Federation of Teachers

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 4
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: None, but to continue receiving funds you must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA

This scholarship is renewable.

The mission of this scholarship program is to increase the number of K-12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge in high-need districts. The funds are provided directly to institutions of higher learning, and the winning scholars are required to complete two years of teaching in a high-need school district for each year of support.

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Provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 55-70
Essay Required: Varies by Institution
GPA Required: Varies by Institution

This scholarship is renewable.

Jack Kinnaman was a teacher who was devoted to the cause of education for over three decades. Applicants must be members of the National Education Association Student Program. In addition to an essay, they will need to submit a brief paragraph demonstrating financial need, and how winning the scholarship would help them complete their degree in teacher education.

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Provided by National Education Association

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 2.5

This scholarship is not renewable.

This scholarship is open to students who are already accepted to or enrolled in an American Montessori Society (AMS) affiliated teacher education program at any of the following levels: Infant & Toddler, Early Childhood, Elementary (I, I–II, II), or Secondary (I, I–II). Winners are selected based on a written personal statement and financial need.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by American Montessori Society

Working Toward: Undergraduate degree
Awards Available: 20
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

College students who are pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants can be from anywhere in the world, but must be at least 18 years of age and currently enrolled in an accredited college or university, as listed on the U.S. Department of Education website.

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Provided by Teacher.org

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: 1
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.5

This scholarship is not renewable.

The Bright Futures Scholarship is for students who plan to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. Due to COVID-19, this scholarship program is on hold until 2021. However, the foundation encourages students to check the website in early 2021 for further details.

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Provided by Bright Horizons

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: 32 awarded in 2019
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this scholarship program awards scholarships to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students who wish to pursue an undergraduate education in any discipline. Continuing Gates Millennium Scholars who want to apply for a graduate program in education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, science, computer science can request additional funds.

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Provided by Gates Millennium Scholars

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: 1000
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: 3.3

This scholarship is renewable.

The National Institute of Labor Relations Research awards this scholarship to education majors who demonstrate an interest and understanding of the Right to Work principle. Applicants must be graduate or undergraduate students majoring in education.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by National Institute for Labor Relations Research

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: 4
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

The Federal government’s TEACH grants are awarded to students who plan to become teachers in a low-income area or high-need field. Students must meet eligibility requirements for federal student aid—which means demonstrating financial need—and be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student at a school that participates in the TEACH Grant Program.

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Provided by Federal Student Aid

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: Multiple
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: 3.25

This scholarship is renewable.

This scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a career in education, who are also members of one of the following organizations: Educators Rising, Educators Rising Collegiate, Pi Lambda Theta, and/or the PDK Association. Applicants must also be enrolled in an institution of higher education on a full- or part-time basis for the fall semester of the application year.

Apply for this scholarship
Provided by PDK International

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: About 100
Essay Required: No
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is renewable.

This scholarship is intended for graduate or undergraduate level students who are enrolled in a degree program in either elementary or secondary education. If granted, the awards are paid directly to the institution.

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Provided by Zeta National Educational Foundation

Working Toward: Undergraduate and Graduate degree
Awards Available: Up to 3
Essay Required: Yes
GPA Required: No

This scholarship is not renewable.

Q&A with Chandler Harrison

Chandler Harrison

Chandler Harrison is a fourth-grade teacher entering her seventh year of teaching. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Technology at Pittsburg State University. She hopes one day to work as a Technology Integration Specialist or a Curriculum Specialist. Besides teaching children, her favorite part of her job is creating and planning new, engaging lessons for her students. She strives to make meaningful relationships with her students and make learning relevant to them. Teaching is her passion!/p>

What type of scholarships did you get? Was it specific to education?

I received two scholarships. The first one I received was from the university I was attending and it was based on my ACT score. I continued to receive this scholarship every year of my undergraduate degree as long as I maintained a certain GPA. This was a scholarship that I had to apply for. It wasn’t automatically given to students if they had the ACT score needed for it.

The second scholarship I received was from my mother’s work. Every year they have an essay contest and three winners receive a scholarship for that academic year. This was a scholarship you could only apply for once. There was a first place scholarship amount, second place, and third place.

Did you apply/get scholarships for your bachelor’s program, master’s program, or both?

I applied and got scholarships for only my bachelor’s program. I did not apply for any scholarships for my master’s program, although I did receive a small tuition reimbursement from my employer for my master’s program.

I didn’t look into scholarships for my master’s program only because I didn’t feel I had the extra time to look into finding and applying for them. Looking back, I wish I had. I know that many students typically work for the university as a grad assistant or in another capacity and are then able to get their master’s program partially or fully paid for. This is certainly something I would have done or looked into if I had gotten my master’s directly after my bachelor’s and hadn’t started my career already.

Did you apply for more than one scholarship? Would you recommend that students do so?

I applied for many scholarships. I highly recommend that students do this. It can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but you are sometimes able to use similar content for many different scholarships. So, once you write a scholarship essay, you will be able to use that same essay to apply for many different scholarships.

I suggest that students apply for scholarships even if they feel it is out of their reach or if it is for a smaller amount. Many scholarships go unused because they may be for smaller amounts or aren’t as well known. I have known students that were able to get their schooling fully paid for from receiving many different scholarships of all different amounts. In the end, they all add up and make a difference.

Would you recommend that students apply every year of their education, rather than just at the start?

Yes! There are so many scholarships out there and new ones are created all the time.

Was applying easier or harder than you expected? In what ways?

Applying for scholarships was much easier than I expected it to be. Some take more time than others, but some scholarships are as simple as submitting your ACT score or a short application. I feel that the time that it takes to find scholarships is the hard part. If I wasn’t taking the College Preparedness course my senior year of high school, I don’t know that I would have applied for any scholarships. The help and time I was given in that course helped me tremendously. I think that is one of the reasons I didn’t continue to apply for scholarships every year of my education or for my master’s program. I simply didn’t have the resources or take the time to find them.

What tips would you give other students for applying and winning an ECE (or K–12 education) scholarship?

As mentioned above, I suggest that students apply for multiple scholarships. To find these scholarships, I recommend they ask their employer, their parents’ employers, family members, their school district, and the guidance counselor for their high school or their college advisor. It can be helpful to find smaller less popular scholarships and apply for many of those, as your odds of winning them will be greater.

I also recommend that students have at least one other person look over their scholarship applications/essays before they submit them. Having an extra set of eyes can help with small mistakes they could have made.

Lastly, I suggest that students be themselves, be honest, and use their own unique qualities and skills to set themselves apart from other applicants.