Financial support for early learning professionals
Prepared and knowledgeable professionals provide high-quality care and instruction to children, which helps children be prepared for success in school and life.
Early Achievers Opportunity Grants
Child care providers who participate in Early Achievers, Washington’s child care quality rating and improvement system, receive support and incentives to improve the quality of care they offer children and families.
Early Achievers Opportunity Grants help employees at eligible child care facilities pursue Early Childhood Education credits.
In order to be eligible for a grant, participants must:
- Be employed for at least three months at a child care facility that participates in Early Achievers and work a minimum of 10 hours per week or 40 hours per month.
- Be Washington resident, as defined in RCW 28B.15.012.
- Submit a federal financial aid application.
- Remain in good standing with financial aid requirements
- Have family income that is at or below 200 percent of the current federal poverty level according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Family income guidelines
|Number of family members
||Annual income limit
|Each additional person
Expectations for students:
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Make loan repayments to remain in good standing.
- May receive funds up to 47 credits; if student has completed a one-year ECE credential and is pursuing an ECE associate’s degree, the student is eligible for grant funding for an additional 45 credits.
- Grant funds are limited to $1,000 per year for books/supplies; combined with other forms of aid, grant funds may not exceed student's calculated need; and students may not receive funds that exceed the total tuition and fees.
- ECE stackable certificates
- Associate's degree in ECE
- Academic and career advising
- Emergency child care and/or transportation
Contact your college's financial aid department for information on how to apply.
- Must be employed at a child care facility that participates in Early Achievers.
- Must have been employee with current employer for six months or more.
- Must work at least 30 hours per week in a DEL-licensed or certified child care facility.
- Must be U.S. resident, citizen and lived in Washington for at least 12 months.
- Must be enrolled in 12-20 ECE credits annually.
- Must earn less than $14.45/hour.
- Pre-college-level coursework
- Child Development Associate (CDA) and CDA assessment fee
- ECE stackable certificates
- Associate’s degree in ECE
- Bachelor’s degree in ECE
- Tuition and books (up to 90 percent); students must pay 10 percent of tuition and book expenses.
- Family home child care: 90 percent of CDA assessment fee; child care center: 75 percent of CDA assessment fee.
- Travel stipend: $50/quarter
- Release time: up to $28.50/week while in classes
Complete the Washington Scholarships application or learn more about Washington Scholarships for child care professionals from Child Care Aware Washington.
State-Approved Training Reimbursement
DEL offers reimbursements for training taken from Washington state-approved trainers. Professionals who work in DEL-licensed or certified child care facilities can access reimbursement information through their MERIT professional record. Previously, this was offered through a contract with the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC). Read more about who is eligible and how to apply.
Career Lattice Awards
ECE and school-age professionals who are placed on the Washington state career lattice for early care and education professionals and school-age professionals are able to earn monetary awards, made available with Washington's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant. The awards recognize professionals' education, employment and training accomplishments.
DEL supports state-approved trainers who provide quality educational opportunities to Washington’s early care and education and school-age professionals. Financial resources are available to support trainiers' career growth. This application is available in MERIT.