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Pierce County Human Services Scholarship

For current and aspiring child care professionals in Pierce County, WA

Child Care Aware of Washington provides scholarships to current and aspiring child care professionals who live or work in Pierce County, WA. The purpose of this funding is to help increase child care in Pierce County and to support current child care providers or those who wish to become child care providers interested in obtaining degrees or certificates in early learning.

Are you a current Pierce County Human Services scholar? Access the PCHS forms.

Pierce County Human Services Scholarship

Click here to view all details

Scholarship Benefits

  • Full Tuition and Tuition-Related Fees Paid
  • Stipend for Books, Materials and Equipment
  • Tutors and Academic Support Paid
  • Paid Release Time (Payment to Employer for Scholar’s missed work)
  • Student Teaching Stipend (To offset salary loss while completing degree requirements)
  • Eligibility

    • Live or work in Pierce County
    • Intend or currently attend a Washington state based program to complete a degree or certificate in early childhood education or business administration
    • This funding is available during the 2024 calendar year only.
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Scholarship Terms

Academic Support – (Includes but not limited to): Washington Educator skills test – basic (west-b) Placement, GED & Certification tests; Certifications; Prior Learning Assessments; Application & Graduation Fees; ESL Classes; Translation Services; Mentors and Tutors from public and private agencies.

Books, Materials and Equipment: (Includes but not limited to): Required or suggested books related to courses; Notebooks, writing utensils or suggested materials for courses; Math class access fees, calculators, laptops, and cameras.

Paid Release Time (Reimbursement to Employer): Release Time is paid time off from work at the employing child care facility that scholars need to take to complete class-related activities. It is most used to attend class, study, or to meet with campus services such as academic advisors, registration, and other administrative offices.

Student Teaching Stipend (STS)

  • Definition – A stipend is a set amount of money given to an individual to help defray living expenses (such as room and board) or other expenses related to the specific purpose for which the stipend is given. Stipends do not include taxes withheld but must be reported by the individual receiving the stipend as part of their taxable income.
  • How it’s used for this scholarship – The STS will be issued on a quarterly basis to Scholars who are required by their early childhood education program to work in an early learning setting other than that of their employer. The stipend can be used for 1-3 quarters based on the needs of the academic program.

Tuition & Tuition Related Fees: Cost of classes; Candela Fees (Set-up fees for online books provided by institutions); Mandatory fees required by the institution such as transportation & security, etc.

Scholar:  An applicant who has been awarded and has accepted the scholarship.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) – Consists of activities and/or experiences that are intended to aid in the cognitive and social development of children before they enter elementary school.

Early Learning: Learning for children from birth through 5 years of age.

Early Learning Higher Education: Early childhood education obtained at colleges and universities.

Early Learning Stackable Certificates: These are certificates that build on one another that can lead into an Associate Degree in ECE:

  • ECE Initial Certificate (12 Credits Total)
  • Short Certificate of Specialization (20 Credits Total)

State ECE Certificate (47-52 Credits Total)


Q: How much does it cost to apply for the scholarship, and do I have to apply each quarter?

There is no cost to apply for this scholarship and you do not have to reapply each quarter, however Scholars are required to contact the Scholarships Team each quarter.

Q: Can I attend any ECE program at any college in the state of WA?

Yes, if you live or work in Pierce County, however some colleges do not meet the scholarship requirement due to having their main campus based outside of WA State (even if they have a satellite campus in WA state).

Q: How will I know if I have been awarded this scholarship?

You will receive a “Scholar Award” email that will include your next steps to complete before any funding is issued. Please make sure to check your email often for updates and important information as failure to do so may hinder your award status.

Q: Is it required to be employed at a child care facility in order to apply for this scholarship?

No, it is not a requirement to apply, however if you are not currently employed you must be living in Pierce county in order to be eligible.

Q: What GPA do I need to maintain to keep my scholarship?

Your minimum required GPA to maintain is based on your school’s program grade requirement. Please check with your school’s Program Advisor for those requirements.

Q: Can I use this scholarship in conjunction with financial aid, Workforce or other grants and scholarships?

Yes, you can use this scholarship with other funding sources and this scholarship will be used as the first source of payment.

Q: If I am awarded, how do I receive the scholarship funds to pay for my classes, books, and other fees?

Tuition and tuition-related fees will be funded by submitting the following to scholarships@childcareawarewa.org:

  • A PDF or screenshot of your quarter schedule (include your enrolled coursework as well as tuition and fees)
  • For reimbursement: an itemized list of your courses and detailed charges (can be obtained from the Cashier at your institution)

Your school will then receive a voucher to cover the cost of tuition and tuition-related fees.

  • If you receive a bill from your institution for tuition or tuition-related fees that you have already paid, you should be eligible for reimbursement and should contact us immediately at scholarships@childcareawarewa.org

For books, materials, and equipment your stipend of $700 will be processed by February 1st for winter quarter. For future quarters, the stipend will be processed the second week of the start of that calendar quarter.

For tutoring and other academic support, you will need to submit your receipts to scholarships@childcareawarewa.org for reimbursement.

Q: Under this scholarship, can I just take general education classes (like math and English) during my first few quarters?

Yes, but you must take at least one Early Childhood Education class along with those general education classes. The exception is if you have already completed the required ECE courses for your program, then you are able to take just the general education classes needed.

Q: Can I apply for this scholarship even if I won’t finish my certificate or degree by fall quarter 2024?

Yes, you can still apply.

Q: Regarding the “Paid Release Time”, what is the maximum number of hours that you will pay my employer when I’m away from work at my licensed child care facility due to school obligations?

The maximum number is 3 hours per week for every quarter enrolled.

Q: Can I still be awarded if I am behind in payments to FAFSA or to a college?”

Yes, you can still be awarded (provided that you meet the eligibility requirements and provide the required documentation).

Q: What is the “Student Teaching Stipend” and how does it work?

The stipend is a $3,000 quarterly benefit that will be issued to Scholars to help supplement their loss of income while they’re doing their student teaching. This stipend is only for Scholars who are required by their early childhood education program to work in an early learning setting other than that of their employer. This stipend can be used for 1-3 quarters and Scholars must send the required documentation to our Scholarships Team each quarter. **Please take note that this stipend must be reported by the Scholar on their taxes as taxable inc

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