In a Keynote address at the ECE Summit, Governor Corbett officially announced the new Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program, which will replace the College Tuition Voucher Program. $5.25 million has been allocated to this program for 2013/14; this is an increase of over $3 million from the Voucher Program.
The Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program aims to address the barriers most frequently cited by providers with regard to the Voucher Program, and to provide strong support to move STARS Participants up to the high quality levels of STAR 3 and STAR 4.
Highlights of Program features:
-95% of tuition will be paid up front for college-level CDA courses, Director Credential courses, AA or BA in Early Childhood Education (all classes eligible, including general education courses), ECE credits taken in order to obtain Level II (“permanent”) teacher certification or in order to move up on the Career Lattice (these credits may be at the AA, BA, or Master’s level).
- Maximum total assistance per fiscal year is $4,500
- Recipients must agree to remain employed at a Keystone STARS facility for at least two months for each credit paid for by the program.
- Recipients must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
- Must be employed for at least a year at a Keystone STARS facility (Currently this includes child care centers, group homes, and family homes, or Head Start participating in STARS)
- Must have a base wage of less than $20/hour
- Must be working in an early learning program at least 20 hours/week
- Must be a resident of PA
- Must be taking courses from an accredited PA institution of higher education or an accredited distance learning institution.
2013/2014 will provide a transition year from the Voucher program to the Tuition Assistance program.
- Individuals who have submitted and are approved for the Voucher program will receive reimbursement of 95% of the tuition cost without needing to submit any additional information. There will not be an adjustment made for those individuals who took summer courses and have already received their Voucher reimbursement money.
- Individuals who are currently taking classes but have not yet applied for the Voucher program may apply for the Tuition Assistance Program
- Moving into the spring, individuals who submit complete applications and documentation at least 4 weeks prior to the start of their class will receive a check made out to the institution of higher learning, which they will then submit to the Bursar’s office as 95% payment for their coursework.
- Looking forward to 14/15, the goal is to have payments made directly to the colleges. Work will be happening this year with the most frequently utilized colleges to facilitate payments, cohort classes, etc.
For more details, visit OCDEL.