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Update on Universal Preschool
More than 1,000 applications have been submitted in Mesa County for Universal Preschool in preparation for its launch in August. This program provides a tuition credit for nine months of high-quality preschool.
“We’re excited that so many families have signed up for this great opportunity,” said Stephanie Bivins, the Director of Mesa County Partnership for Children and Families. “Access to quality early childhood education ensures children have the foundation they need to enter kindergarten.”
Approximately 68% of the available slots have been filled, however, there is still time to apply.
The program will save child care costs for families so they can apply the cost savings to other living expenses. The program also injects millions of dollars into our community, helping build a stronger economy in Mesa County. Local providers, such as school districts, centers, and home-based child care facilities will get approximately 7 million dollars in tuition credits. The funding goes straight to the provider, including small businesses owners. Some of the providers participating have never had access to this type of funding. There is even a new Universal Preschool Provider Grant that helps with start-up costs for things like curriculum and equipment.
How to Apply
Families can apply at upk.colorado.gov. Once on the site, click on register for UPK services. It is a short application process, and families can choose multiple providers that they prefer. For those who do not have a current provider, or do not who is participating, they are able to browse the system. After applying, families will receive a notification if they are eligible. They will also receive a notification once they have been matched with a provider, and can then accept or decline the match.
Mesa County Partnership for Children and Families, or PCF, is coordinating Universal Preschool in Mesa County. The team is available to guide families through the process and answer questions along the way. Call them at 970-248-2811 or visit their website.
Universal Preschool Background
Universal Preschool is a tuition credit for nine months of preschool starting this August. It’s a voluntary program that you can access at any participating provider; school districts, private providers, and home facilities. The program expands access to preschool and is a cost savings for local families.
Along with cost savings, it provides significant long-term benefits for children. “Early childhood is the most rapid time in human development and sets the stage for children’s futures, ” said Bivins. “Research shows children accessing high-quality preschool in the first few years of life are more likely to complete higher levels of education.”
All children in Colorado can apply the year before kindergarten and are eligible for 15 hours of preschool. Some 4-year-olds might qualify for more hours and some 3-year-olds can access the program with a school district. There are other programs that might cover additional costs and extended hours.