Penn State offers $12,500 scholarships for special education studies

University Park, Pa. -- In response to growing national demand for special education teachers, Penn State is offering scholarships up to $12,500 for 15 months of study in early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE).

Participants can earn both a master’s degree in early childhood special education and special education certification concurrently. The program is designed to prepare graduates to fulfill employment roles related to working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers who have disabilities and their families.

The program, titled “Preparing 21st Century Early Childhood Intervention Professionals at Penn State University to Serve Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families,” is entering its second year of funding. It is supported by an $800,000 grant from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

“Here's a wonderful opportunity for educators to enhance their skills in working with learners who have special needs and receive some financial support while doing so,” said Kathleen McKinnon, assistant professor of special education and director of the EI/ECSE training grant.

Student applications are now being accepted for the next available session, which begins this summer and runs through summer 2011. Any person with field experience in early childhood and school-age classrooms serving children who have exceptional learning needs is encouraged to apply.

For applicants whose undergraduate degree is not in an education field, the coursework may take longer than 15 months. To obtain more information about the application process, please visit or e-mail McKinnon at

Last Updated June 15, 2010