Grants and Awards

Grants and awards support the implementation of quality programming at all STAR levels. Allowable expenses include purchasing of curricula and learning materials, attending professional development, improving technology or business systems and increasing staff benefits. All grants and awards are subject to availability of funds and the following minimum eligibility criteria:

  • serve a minimum of 10 percent child care subsidy or children with special needs;
  • meet the eligibility requirements specific to each grant type; and
  • completed grant request that outlines both appropriate and allowable expenses.

The 2018-2019 Merit and ERA Request paperwork is now available below. 

Please review all of the information and documents below, and contact your Quality Coach with any questions.

Again this year, you must complete and submit a request form and a budget form(s). Please note there are two versions of the budget form. One is an Excel Workbook to be used for electronic submission. One is a PDF to be used if faxing. If using the PDF format, Attachment #2 is used for Merit requests and there is also an Attachment #2  used for ERA requests. 

Submit your Merit and/or ERA request via:

  • *Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Include your MPI# and your location name in the "Subject" line of your email message
  • OR  Fax to 267-765-2397

*Electronic submission is highly recommended to expedite the processing of your grant request.


Types of Awards

Merit Awards - Funds available to centers/groups at STAR 2 and family child care homes at STAR 2 through 4. These funds are intended to implement quality improvement activities including purchasing of curricula and learning materials, attending professional development, or improving technology or business systems. Award amounts are based on facility type, size, and STAR level.

Click on the links below to download the appropriate MERIT forms:

2018-2019 STARS Merit Award Request Center Group REVISED (Word Document)

2018- 2019 STARS Merit  Award Request Family (Word Document)

Attachment #1 Keystone STARS MERIT Budget Workbook (electronic submission)


Attachment #2 Keystone  STARS Merit Budget Worksheet  (PDF paper submission)


Education and Retention Awards - Funds available to teachers and directors with qualifications in the field of early childhood education working in a STAR 2 through 4 facility. Award amounts are based on staff position, Career Lattice level, number of hours worked, and STAR level of the facility. Funds go directly to the staff person, paid out through the program.

Click on the links below to download the appropriate Education and Retention Award (ERA) forms:

2018 -2019 STARS ERA Award Request Center Group (Word Document)

2018 -2019 STARS ERA Award Request Family (Word Document)
Attachment #1 Keystone STARS ERA Budget Workbook (electronic submission)


Attachment #2 Keystone STARS ERA Budget Worksheet (PDF paper submission)


Rising STARS Support Grants - Targeted limited-time grant program for STAR 1 providers that serve high-risk and hard-to-reach families and that demonstrate a commitment to moving to STAR 2. This grant is also available to STAR 2 providers who moved up in a specific time frame after receiving a Rising STARS Support Grant as a STAR 1. Additional eligibility requirements apply. This is a competitive grant process and requests are scored using a rubric that evaluates the grant criteria. Rising STARS Support Grants paperwork will be posted when it becomes available.



Grant Support Resources

FY19 MERIT Guidance
FY19 ERA Guidance
Best Practices in Keystone STARS Financial Award Spending
Closing Guidelines for Merit Awards
Closing Guidelines for Education and Retention Awards
Closing Guidelines for Rising STARS Support Awards
Allowable Expenditure Documentation
Sample Bonus Policy
Sample Education and Retention Award Policy


Direct Deposit
The Philadelphia Regional Key wants to help practitioners receive their grant payments as quickly as possible, in part through direct deposit payment. Payments will be transferred directly to your bank accounts and providers will be notified by email when the transaction occurs. Click here to download the direct deposit request form.

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