Northland Foundation Special Initiatives

Early Learning Scholarships

Parents and guardians who meet state guidelines can apply for Minnesota Early Learning Scholarships to help them pay for high-quality child care and early education for their young children.

The Northland Foundation works with families and early care and education providers in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis County, Minnesota. We are here to provide information, answer questions, accept applications, and help with the process and payments.

Children ages 3 to 4 years old who live in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis County may qualify for scholarships up to $12,000 for family child care and up to $15,000 for center-based child care.

Priority for scholarships will be given to children who meet the following criteria:

  • A parent of the child is under the age of 21 and currently pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • The child is in foster care or in need of child protective services.
  • The family has experienced homelessness in the previous 24 months.
  • The child has a sibling who has already been awarded a scholarship and both children are attending the same program.

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.

Information and Forms 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 to FAQs and the forms you’ll need. With fillable PDFs, simply click the link and type into the blue boxes then select Print or Save.

  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
  5. Family Update Form (fillable PDF)

Application, Directions, and Help for Families of Young Children

If you have questions about the scholarships or the application, or to have us mail you the application, please call the Northland Foundation at 218-260-2736.

Below are links for directions to help you know how to fill out the application, and the application form itself. Be sure to fill out all the pages and don’t forget to sign it.

The application is a PDF form you can open and fill out online or print a copy and fill out by hand.

The application is 15 pages. If you do not have access to a printer or are having trouble filling out the form, please contact us and we will work with you.

  1. Directions for the Application
  2. Early Learning Scholarship Application
  3. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free.

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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