The DC Leading Educators toward Advanced Degrees (DC LEAD) scholarship program aims to provide child care educators with the knowledge, skills and education to support DC’s youngest learners and increase the number of high-quality early childhood professionals in the District. Upon program completion, scholars will earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (ECE) to meet the minimum education requirements set by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for the early childhood workforce in DC. The DC LEAD program is administered by Southeast Children’s Fund (SCF) on behalf of OSSE.
The DC LEAD scholarship program is a scholarship opportunity that will cover the cost of tuition and books for child care educators who work in licensed child development facilities in DC to support staff in meeting the child care facility minimum education requirements set by OSSE.
Child care educators can apply through the SCF website or complete a hard copy of the application. Hard copies of the DC LEAD application form will be distributed to child development facilities, DC Child Care Connections (DC CCC) service centers and partnering institutions of higher education (IHEs). Child care educators may also request a hard copy of the application via email at DCLEAD@sechildrensfund.org.
Eligibility is determined on an individual basis for both the scholarship and incentive program. Child care educators enrolled in a CDA, associate or bachelor’s degree program may be eligible for the incentive. Additional information on eligibility can be found here.
A child care educator who is not enrolled in an IHE but wishes to pursue postsecondary studies in early childhood can still complete the DC LEAD application. A DC LEAD program advisor will follow-up within seven-14 days of the submission of the application. If the educator is found eligible, a DC LEAD program advisor will support the applicant in applying to a partner IHE (see question 5).
Bowie State University
Central Texas College
Northern Virginia Community College
Prince George’s Community College
Trinity Washington University
University of the District of Columbia
University of the District of Columbia Community College
University of the Potomac
For more information regarding partner IHEs, please visit SCF’s website.
No, the funds will be disbursed every semester directly to the IHE that the scholar attends.
No, scholars will only be funded after their application has been approved and they have signed an annual scholarship agreement.
Yes, PKEEP teachers and assistant teachers are eligible for the DC LEAD scholarship program, provided they meet other program eligibility criteria.
Yes, group leaders and assistant group leaders in OST programs may apply if they are in a child development facility licensed by OSSE and are interested in meeting credential requirements to become a lead or assistant teacher of infants, toddlers or preschool-aged children in licensed child development facilities in the District.
Yes, Montessori teachers in OSSE-licensed facilities are eligible for the scholarship program. Note: Scholarships may only be used at partnering IHEs (see question 5) for programs of study leading to an associate or bachelor’s degree. At this time, DC LEAD cannot support Montessori studies outside an associate or bachelor’s degree program at a partner institution.
Eligible applicants will receive scholarship funding following DC LEAD program acceptance, completion of a signed annual scholarship agreement and enrollment in pre-approved classes. Please note, payment for tuition and fees will be disbursed directly to the IHE.
Applicants will receive a decision letter via email and mail.