Northland Foundation Special Initiatives

Early Learning Scholarships

The Northland Foundation is helping connect families in our region with state Early Learning Scholarships to help pay for high-quality child care and early education for young children.

Children ages 3 to 4 years old who live in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis County, Minnesota, may qualify for scholarships up to $8,500 per year based on household income.

Children ages birth to 5 years whose parents are under the age of 21, have experienced homelessness within the past 24 months, are in foster care, or receiving child protective services also may qualify for scholarships up to $12,000 per child, per year and will receive priority for funds.

The money is paid directly to the Parent Aware-rated setting of the family’s choice, to help families cover the cost. The setting must be part of Parent Aware. It may be a licensed family child care, child care center, Head Start program, preschool, or school-based prekindergarten program.

Forms and FAQs for Child Care Providers

If you are a northeast Minnesota child care provider and have Minnesota Early Learning Scholarship questions, you can contact the Northland Foundation at 218-260-2736.

Below are links for (1) Provider's Frequently Asked Questions, (2) Invoice Form in Excel or as a PDF - you may use whichever format it easiest for you, (3) Award Planning Agreement with sample answers filled in as a guide, and (4) Blank Award Planning Agreement fillable PDF. You can download the Blank Award Planning Agreement PDF and type into the blue boxes to replace the sample text with the correct information for your own program.

  1. Providers' Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
  2. Invoice Form (PDF) or Invoice Form (Excel file) - use whatever format works best for you
  3. Example of Award Planning Agreement (PDF) - to use as a guide
  4. Blank Award Planning Agreement (fillable PDF) - to complete for your program

Application, Directions, and Help for Families of Young Children

If you have questions about the scholarships or the application, or to ask us to mail you the application, please call the Northland Foundation at:


Below are links for (1) directions to help you fill out the application, and (2) the application form itself. Be sure to fill out all of the pages and sign it.

The application is a pdf form that you can fill out on the computer if you want to, or you can print it and fill it out by hand. To fill it out on a computer, you need to have Adobe Acrobat installed. Click the download icon and open the file in Adobe Acrobat. You will then be able to type in your answers. If you need to install it on your computer first, you can get Adobe Acrobat Reader for free.

Whether you fill this form out in Adobe Acrobat or print it and fill it out by hand, you need access to a printer (the application is 14 pages total). If you cannot print out a copy yourself, please contact us. We can email or mail you the application and instructions.

  1. Directions for the Application
  2. Early Learning Scholarship Application

Please send your completed applications via email to, FAX to 218-723-4048 or mail to:

Northland Foundation
202 W Superior Street, Suite 800
Duluth, MN 55802

You can also find out more at the Minnesota Department of Education website or the Parent Aware website.

Minnesota Dept of Education logo

Early Childhood Screening

To learn more about Early Childhood Screening in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Education web page: Early Childhood Screening Information.

To find out about Early Childhood Screening in your community, click on the following link and contact the coordinator in the school district where you live/your child will attend school: Early Childhood Screening Coordinators by School District.

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