Full Scholarships Available to Students in Early Childhood Education Programs

Starting in the fall semester, students who transfer to or already are enrolled in one of two early childhood programs at Pittsburg State University will be eligible for full scholarships, to be provided through a $600,000 contribution made by three Oklahoma tribes.

Full scholarships now available to students in early childhood programs

Starting in the fall semester, students who transfer to or already are enrolled in one of two early childhood programs at Pittsburg State University will be eligible for full scholarships, to be paid for with an annual $600,000 contribution three Oklahoma tribes will make through 2023.

To be considered for the Tribes Scholars program, students must apply by June 7 and must already have completed at least 45 credit hours at any higher education institution, including community colleges throughout the region.

“The goal is that each student receives $7,000 to $9,000 per semester for two years,” said Amber Tankersley, who coordinates PSU’s early childhood programming, part of the Family & Consumer Sciences Department. “The intent is that it covers everything. This is all about removing barriers.”

When sophomore Hannah Robertson, of Quapaw, heard the news at a meeting held for current early childhood students, she cried.

“I was in tears. I tried to hold it together in front of everyone else, but I’ve been so overworked and stressed, I’ve been praying for something to come along,” she said.

Robertson, who works 35 hours a week as a nail tech while juggling her course load as an Early Childhood Unified major, has struggled financially and emotionally during the pandemic.

“Getting this scholarship would help tremendously because I could focus on my education and my goal, which is to work at a tribe childcare center after graduating,” she said.

The partnership between the Miami Tribe, Ottawa Tribe, and Shawnee Tribe and PSU was prompted by a shortage of childcare providers in the Four State Area, largely due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on the American economy and few businesses have been more impacted than those who provide childcare,” said Carol Essex, who directs the Child Care Development Fund, a federal grant program, for the Ottawa Tribe.

The passage of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) provides the resources necessary to respond to the Covid-19 health emergency; funds are to be used for a variety of activities related to preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19.

Tracy Beckwith, CCDF Director for the Miami Tribe stated:  “Operating a tribally licensed child care center we understand the importance of having available, high quality, affordable child care  and that cannot be overstated.” Diana Baker, CCDF Director for the Shawnee Tribe added, “Parents want to know their children are in a safe, healthy learning environment while they are at work. Particularly during the Covid-19 crisis those parents deemed essential workers were dependent on reliable child care to continue work.”

Offering scholarships to those who enroll in or already are enrolled in PSU’s Early Childhood Unified or Child Development programs was a way to boost the number of qualified, reliable childcare providers in the near future, Essex said.

In addition to full scholarships, students will have to intern or job shadow in a variety of childcare settings with the hope of encouraging them to consider operating their own family childcare homes or centers when they graduate.

“This is such a unique and life-changing opportunity,” said Tankersly. “It’s an opportunity for students to go to school for free, and then we’ll wind up having some great early childhood professionals in the workforce. We are completely in awe and dumbfounded — it’s incredible.”

Recipients will be chosen by the end of June. They must maintain full-time status; part-time students taking a minimum of six hours would be eligible for partial assistance. Recipients must meet residency requirements in one of 41 counties in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, or Oklahoma.

Students need not be a member of the Miami, Ottawa, or Shawnee tribes

Via Pittsburg State University


More News

Oct 6, 2023


“LET’S LOOK CLOSER”  Tonya Tipton is a Shawnee citizen and has been serving as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) in a full-time capacity for the past two years. Tonya joined the tribe’s staff as Enrollment Officer in 2016, but she also helped coordinate the tribe’s responses to the numerous requests for consultation that pour […]

Read More
Oct 6, 2023

Commemorations Planned for Ohio’s First World Heritage Site

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – The National Park Service and the Ohio History Connection are planning multiple events to commemorate the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks being inscribed as Ohio’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site on Sept. 19. World Heritage inscription brings recognition to places of exceptional interest and value. There are only about 1,000 World Heritage Sites around […]

Read More
Sep 28, 2023

2023 Election Results

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF BUSINESS COUNCIL SEAT 1 BUSINESS COUNCIL SEAT 2 SPECIAL QUESTION Shall the monthly stipends for the Business Council Treasure and Secretary be increased to $2,100 per month and shall the At-Large Council members stipends be increase to $1,400 per month, effective October 1, 2023?

Read More
Sep 22, 2023

Shawnee Tribe Breaks Ground on Expansion at Golden Mesa Casino

$70 million project includes hotel, RV park, restaurant, larger gaming floor GUYMON, Okla. – Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes, along with tribal and local leaders and officials with Global Gaming Solutions, LLC (GGS), participated today in the official groundbreaking ceremony for a $70 million expansion of Golden Mesa Casino. The expansion project will include a […]

Read More
Aug 31, 2023

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Project

The 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be harvested from Monongahela National Forest, which is part of the Shawnee ancestral homeland. The tribe’s THPO is teaming up with National Forest staff to ensure the Capitol Tree includes representation of the Shawnee Tribe. On Friday, September 15 at our General Council dinner & stomp festivities in […]

Read More
Aug 28, 2023

Voted Absentee ballots due to Election Committee by September 14

Early voting by absentee ballot (vote-by-mail) is offered in 2023. All voted ballots must be received by the Election Committee by 5:00 PM (Central) on the Thursday before the election, September 14. Voters may return their ballots by mail or deliver the ballot in person to the Election Committee. Any citizen participating in early or […]

Read More
Aug 23, 2023


CHIEF BEN BARNES As the celebration of Independence Day fades into the background, this is the time of year that the Business Council begins to look toward the next fiscal year and plan programming for Shawnee families. We generally have two sorts of programs: those that come from federal funding sources and those that are […]

Read More
Aug 18, 2023

Elections Act Amendment & 2023 Election Information

In February of 2023, the Shawnee Tribe Business Council approved a revision to Title 6, The Shawnee Tribe Elections Act. This amendment of…

Read More
See All News