Oklahoma child care providers, are you aware of the opportunities available to you through the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care program? Oklahoma child care providers can earn their associate degree in early childhood and the Scholars program will pay for most of the expense. Eligible providers can also apply for PELL and other financial aid to help offset costs. Linda Sutherlin, Scholars coordinator for Northern Oklahoma College answers some questions about the program:
What exactly is the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care program?
Linda: The Scholars Program awards scholarships to eligible child care professionals to complete coursework in the area of child development or early childhood education, as well as the Child Development Associate (CDA) or Certified Child Care Professional (CCP) Credential Assessment. These scholarships enable child care providers in Oklahoma to improve their skills through education, receive an educational stipend and continue the availability of quality child care in local communities. The mission of the Scholars Program is to ensure that eligible child care professionals in the state of Oklahoma have an opportunity to attend a community college to further their education while earning a CDA, Certificate of Mastery, Director’s Certificate of Completion, School Age Certificate of Completion, and/or an associate degree in child development or early childhood education.
To qualify for the Scholars Program providers must work in a one-star plus or above OKDHS or tribal-licensed child care facility with a minimum of 10 % subsidy children at the time of application; work as a teacher, family child care provider or director at least 30 hours per week earning $15.50 or less per hour and be employed at a child care facility at least six months before beginning coursework.
What opportunities are available for child care providers through the Scholars program?
Linda: If eligible, the provider receives a scholarship that will pay 70% of the tuition and fees plus books are paid for 100%. The Scholar will also receive the assistance of the Scholar Coordinator. The SC gives support and technical assistance, assistance with paperwork for Pell grants, college admission, Scholars Program, REWARD Oklahoma, and CDA Credential as well as academic support.
If a provider is not eligible to attend college (owe money to another institution of higher learning, loan default, or academic suspension), the Scholars Program offers Pathway to CDA. Through the Pathway program, a provider can enroll in training for the CDA offered at many career technology centers in Oklahoma. In the northwest area of Oklahoma, many providers participate in the program by doing the training online through the career tech. The Program will pay 70% of tuition plus provide the textbook and CDA packet.
Is there a minimum number of college hours that must be taken each semester to stay in the program?
Linda: A Scholar, once accepted, can take one course a semester. A Scholar is allowed to skip a semester. Summer is a time when Scholars may not enroll in a course. A new Scholar can only take two courses a semester during the first year in the Program. After the first year, more courses may be taken per semester with the guidance of the Scholar Coordinator.
What other colleges in the state participate in the Scholars program?
Linda: Carl Albert State College, Murray State College, Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College, Oklahoma City Community College, OSU-Oklahoma City, Redlands Community College, Rose State College, Seminole State College, Tulsa Community College, and Western Oklahoma State College.
How does a provider go about getting more information about the program?
Linda: Providers can contact Linda Sutherlin at 580.548.2360 or 580.747.1056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also visit www.okhighered.org/scholars.