The Catholic University of America will offer scholarships and a reduced tuition rate to some childcare workers in the District of Columbia as part of a District-wide effort to bolster the academic qualifications of those who care for young children.
The university's Metropolitan School of Professional Studies has received a grant that will cover most or all of the tuition costs for up to 40 students a year in its new associate’s degree in early childhood education, which addresses skills educators need to effectively teach children from birth to age three.
“This grant from the District of Columbia will enable childcare professionals across the District to more effectively teach the very youngest and most impressionable of the District’s children,” said Vincent Kiernan, Dean of the Metropolitan School. “We are very glad to be part of this effort.”
The Catholic University's new degree program in early childhood education provides a new educational option for teachers in childcare centers in the District, who must earn an associate's degree in early childhood education, or an associate’s degree in another field with 24 credits in early childhood education, by December 2023.
The coursework in the associate's degree helps a student develop both the theoretical foundation and the practical skills required for the teacher to make a positive impact in the lives of the children under his or her charge. Classes are offered in the evening and online.
The grant will pay for up to $750 per course, plus $200 for textbooks. When combined with a Pell Grant and a reduced tuition rate approved by the university, many students will be able to attend class at no cost.
To qualify for a scholarship under the grant, an individual must work in the District of Columbia with children between birth and age eight, either at a licensed in-home facility; at a licensed day care facility; public or charter school program, Head Start or Early Head Start program, or at a before-and after-care provider/facility. (For individuals who do not qualify for the grant-funded scholarship, other aid may be available.)
Catholic University’s grant is part of the District of Columbia’s Higher Education Incentive grant program administered through the University of the District of Columbia.
The grant will cover $750 per each three credit course. The amount of the award is based on the amount that the federal Pell grant will not cover. The scholarship funds are considered "last dollar" awards. Additionally, eligible students can be awarded up to $200.00 to cover the cost of textbooks only.
Scholarship recipients must work with children aged birth to eight years old. The student must work in the District of Columbia either at a licensed in-home facility; at a licensed day care facility; public or charter school program, Head Start or Early Head Start program, or at a before-and after-care provider/facility. Continued employment with children in the District of Columbia is required for the maintenance of the scholarship award.
The student must apply for financial aid. The amount of the award is not based on the amount of loans that the student will receive.