Student Loan Repayment
You got your degree in early childhood education because you believe young children deserve a strong start.
Cut down your debt to build up their future.
The Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Early Childhood Educators provides up to $4,000 annually to reduce the student debt of full-time educators who earned an early childhood related degree.
This is Vermont’s first student loan debt relief program for early childhood educators. It was originally established in May 2021 when Vermont Act 45 was signed into law.
This Program is designed to recruit and retain early childhood educators who have earned degrees in the early childhood field. Individuals actively working in ECE have the opportunity to receive up to $4000 annually to defray the cost of monthly student loan payments and/or reduce their amount of overall student loan debt.
Participants must commit to work in a Vermont regulated center-based or family child care home program for 12 months. Payments will be made directly to the individual on a quarterly or one-time basis.
Recipient and Total Statistics
Participants must work in one of the following settings:
Participants must meet the following salary requirements:
Participants must meet the following degree criteria:
Participants must meet the remaining eligibility criteria:
One-Time Retroactive Payment
VTAEYC is awarding a one-time retroactive payment to early childhood educators whose student loan debt would have met the new eligibility criteria between January 1, 2022 and June 1, 2023, and did not meet the old eligibility criteria at the time. Eligible early childhood educators will receive one payment of up to $4,000.
An eligible applicant must:
In order to receive the one-time retroactive payment, you must complete an application by following the steps below. If you still have existing debt after this payment, you can complete the full application to continue receiving student loan repayment assistance.
How to Apply
Applications for the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program are accepted year-round. Awards are given on a first come first serve basis and are limited to available grant funds. We recommend applying as soon as possible to receive the maximum award available
The Program Policy Guidance includes details about the Program and should be read before applying for the Program.
Prepare to Apply:
You will receive a confirmation email letting you know it has been successfully submitted. Once submitted, VTAEYC staff will review your application and may request additional information or clarification if necessary. VTAEYC aims to review all completed applications within 35 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not found in the Program Guidance document or the section below, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Vermont Act 45, eligible Early Childhood Educators must be employed in a privately licensed and operated, CDD regulated center-based program or family child care home. If the licensee of a program is a public school or supervisory union, then that program would not qualify as privately operated. Head Start Programs are privately operated.
- Early childhood
- Child and human development
- Elementary education
- Special education with a birth to age 8 focus
- Child and family services
- Earned a degree that contributes to an Early Childhood Career Ladder Certificate Level IIIB or higher through Northern Lights at CCV
- Visit the BFIS website and scroll down to click on “Log In for Credentialing Account”
- On the next page select the Login button for Quality-Credentialing Account and login to the system using your username and password
- Once logged in, click on the Education tab to see the degree and transcript documents that have been added to your account
The application form has an option for you to let us know your information has been submitted but is not yet showing. You need to check that option, and then let us know the date of when you submitted your information. We will follow up with Northern Lights to verify that your degree information has been received.
If you have not submitted your degree information, you will need to submit your documents to Northern Lights. The required documents include an official or unofficial transcript issued by the college registrar along with a completed and signed verification cover sheet. Visit https://zendto.vsc.edu/ and select “Drop-off” to securely upload and submit your documents.
Visit Northern Lights at CCV’s page about the Early Childhood Career Ladder: https://northernlightsccv.org/career-development/early-childhood-career-ladder/. You will find detailed information about Level IIIB and higher as well as links to the individual applications.
Your loan servicer is the best resource for documentation and information on your specific loans.
For each loan you list in your application, you must provide documentation that includes your name, statement date, lender name, monthly payment amount, total loan balance, and type of loan. Submitting a lender statement and/or a studentaid.gov report are usually sufficient.
- Federal Perkins
- Federal Consolidation
- VSAC private loan
- Other Private loan
- Other Federal Loan
- A defaulted student loan of the type listed above may still qualify with an active rehabilitation contract between the applicant and loan service provider.
- A loan in default with no rehabilitation contract
- Federal PLUS loans
- Personal lines of credit
- Refinanced loans that include non-qualifying degree related debt. (i.e. if you refinanced your student loans with a private lender and rolled credit card debt into the same loan, then we cannot approve that particular loan)
If you are unsure if one or more of your loans are on an Income Driven Repayment Plan, you need to contact your loan servicer and make sure you report this information accurately on your application.
Yes, you can use the funds to pay down your total loan balance. All funds awarded to you by the Student Loan Repayment Program must be paid toward your loan debt.
No, you do not have to be a Vermont resident but you must be working in a regulated Vermont program. Any participants that are out-of-state residents need to check with their own tax advisor on any possible tax implications of the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program funding. VTAEYC does not provide tax advice on tax obligations for any program participants.
No, the $60,000 or below salary requirement only applies to your income from working in privately operated CDD regulated child care programs. You do not need to report income from your spouse or other household income, or income from another job you may have outside the field of child care.
You can work in multiple settings as long as they are privately operated CDD regulated programs. The minimum of 30 hours per week can be split between multiple programs, i.e. 15 hours in one and 15 or more hours in another. You will be able to enter multiple employers in your application.
If you stop working in a CDD regulated program for more than 4 weeks of the year, or that program closes permanently, you need to notify VTAEYC. Your Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program Award payments will stop.
If you change your job, but remain working in a CDD-regulated program, you need to notify VTAEYC, but there will not be a change to your award amount. Payments will continue as scheduled. It is important that you update us to ensure our records are accurate.
If you miss a deadline for a Quarterly Report, please turn it in as soon as possible. You will be contacted via email. If you miss the deadline, your payment may be delayed. If you fail to return 2 Quarterly Reports within the annual award period, you will receive a notification of removal from the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program. After being removed, you can reapply, but would have to start as a new applicant.
Your award payment is determined based on your monthly payment plan and/or overall debt. The program application will ask you questions to help determine if you qualify for funds above your monthly loan payment. All additional funds must be paid to your loan service provider to help reduce your loan debt.
Payments are distributed on a quarterly schedule and/or as one-time retroactive payment. Your award letter(s) will detail your payment schedule. Payments will be direct deposited into your bank account unless you request otherwise.
VTAEYC does not provide legal advice on possible tax obligations resulting from participation in the Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Recipients of Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program Awards are responsible for, and should consult with their tax advisors for advice on any tax obligations resulting from awards.
Should the program continue an additional year, yes as long as you still have qualifying loan debt you would be able to apply again. You would be required to provide loan statements showing that you made regular payments to your loan servicer and applied Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program funds from the previous year, to your student loan debt.
Ready to Lower Your Debt?
The Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Early Childhood Educators can help.