DENVER, Colo., November 5, 2020 — The Denver Preschool Program (DPP), a voter-approved nonprofit that helps Denver families find and pay for high-quality preschool, announced a new initiative that will cover the full cost of preschool for eligible families that earn 300% or less of the federal poverty level. This initiative is in addition to the existing universal tuition support that the Denver Preschool Program has provided to families since 2007.
According to Elsa Holguín, Denver Preschool Program President and CEO, the launch of this initiative comes at an opportune time as families continue to struggle with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our goal has always been to provide Denver families with access to affordable, quality preschool options,” says Holguín. She adds, “The opportunity to cover up to 100% of tuition costs for families removes the financial barrier some families face when they enroll their 4-year-olds in a quality-rated preschool.”
All families in the city and county of Denver enrolled in one of the Denver Preschool Program’s 250+ participating preschools are eligible for tuition support during their child’s last year of preschool. The tuition support provided to families by the Denver Preschool Program is based on a number of factors including income, the number of hours the child is enrolled at the school and the quality rating of the selected preschool.
In order to receive free preschool, a family of four must make $47,638 per year or less, enroll their 4-year-old full time in a participating preschool and not receive any other financial assistance for early childhood education. Feedback from an initial pilot conducted last school year that provided more than 50 families with expanded tuition support has been favorable. In addition to giving families greater choices, the additional funding enhanced their overall economic position. Says the mother of one participant, “DPP, thank you! Thank you! You have helped me incredibly during a transitional year for our family. Our child is receiving an outstanding preschool education we would not have otherwise afforded. Without this program, we would have likely pulled her out of [preschool] and her education would have been compromised.”
Research shows that high-quality preschool programs can have a lasting impact on a child’s life. Not only do they promote academic, social and emotional growth, but they also give families and teachers an opportunity to identify and treat potential learning problems early. The Denver Preschool Program aims to help families manage the $1,277 per month average cost1 of preschool at DPP-participating schools, while also assisting preschools enrolled in the program achieve and maintain high-quality ratings. This support is particularly important today as families struggle with rising unemployment rates and limited job opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Denver Preschool Program
Denver Preschool Program (DPP) makes quality preschool possible for all Denver families with a 4-year-old through a dedicated sales tax first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed and extended in 2014. Through the 2019-2020 program year, DPP provided nearly $138 million in tuition support to help 60,000 Denver children attend the preschool of their family’s choice, establishing each child’s foundation for lifelong learning and success. Learn more at www.dpp.org, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
1 According to an Economic Policy Institute study reported on in 2019, the average cost in Colorado was $1,277: https://patch.com/colorado/across-co/child-care-costs-more-college-colorado