SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Indiana's pre-K program is expanding to 20 counties across the state thanks to a $22 million expansion lawmakers passed last year.
The South Bend Tribune reports that On My Way Pre-K officials hope to enroll about 3,700 children for the program's rollout this fall.
The program covers preschools that are accredited or at least rated Level 3 in the state's Paths to Quality rating. Tuition is covered up to the market rate for each county, plus 10 percent. Parents pay any remaining fees.
A family's income must be below 127 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. Children must be at least 4 years old by Aug. 1 to enroll in the program.
Support comes from the state, the federal government and private dollars, including the United Way.
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The 20 pilot counties are Allen, Bartholomew, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Floyd, Grant, Harrison, Howard, Jackson, Kosciusko, Lake, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh and Vigo.
You can find much more information at OnMyWayPreK.org. Here is some of what you'll find:
On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4 year olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program.
March 1, 2018: On My Way Pre-K applications are now available for grants to eligible children who will be 4 years old, but not yet 5 years old on August 1, 2018, and will be attending kindergarten in the 2019-20 school year. These grants will be good for pre-K programs starting in August 2018. Grants will be awarded until all available slots have been filled - families are encouraged to apply early!
Families must be living in one of the 20 pilot counties (Allen, Bartholomew, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Floyd, Grant, Harrison, Howard, Jackson, Kosciusko, Lake, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties) and must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Child must be 4 but not yet 5 years old by August 1, 2018.
Child must be a resident of Indiana.
Parents/guardians in the household must have a service need (working, going to school, attending job training).
Families must earn less than 127 percent of federal poverty level (FPL). FPL information is available by clicking here.
** Family applications in Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties will be accepted up to 185 percent FPL; however, all families at or below 127 percent must be enrolled first before families at higher income levels will be considered.