Hundreds of Applicants for Pre-K Pilot Program
December 18, 2014 — The numbers show there is early demand for a statewide program focused on early education.
Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) has received more than 1,800 applications from families in Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties who would like to enroll their 4-year-old children in the first phase of the On My Way Pre-K program beginning in January of 2015.
“I am truly grateful to the many community partners who helped us reach out to families and open doors of opportunity for quality pre-k education to 1,800 disadvantaged children in our state,” said Governor Pence. “The initial response to our pilot program confirms the need for high-quality early education for our most disadvantaged kids, and our Administration will continue to faithfully implement this program and determine how we might best serve more Indiana children in the years ahead.”
The goal for the first phase of On My Way Pre-K, which starts in January 2015, was to enroll a total of 350 children; however, with the demand being so great, OECOSL is looking to enroll 100 additional children in January for a target enrollment of 450. After a careful review of the existing capacity of the newly-approved On My Way Pre-K providers in the four counties, OECOSL will determine a target enrollment for each county by the end of this week. A randomized lottery will determine which children will be selected for the available provider slots.
The full rollout of On My Way Pre-K, which will include these four counties as well as Jackson County, will take place in time for the start of the 2015-2016 school year and is expected to include between 1,600 and 2,000 4-year-olds in the five counties.
Families who are selected as recipients of the On My Way Pre-K grants in the randomized lottery will be notified via a letter that will be mailed by the end of this week. Next week these families will be contacted to complete the enrollment process.
These families will then be able to search for an approved On My Way Pre-K provider at www.onmywayprek.org or by speaking with a referral specialist at 1-800-299-1627.
The chart below shows the number of applications received and how many were deemed eligible in the four counties. Reasons some applications were found to be ineligible included that the family did not meet the income guidelines (below 127 percent of the federal poverty level), or that their child was not age-eligible for the program, many of them because they are still too young. OECOSL will keep any applications from families whose children will become eligible for the program beginning in August to process in the spring.
The following is a chart breakdown of applications received by county:
On My Way Pre-K is the name of Indiana’s first state-funded prekindergarten program, which was approved as a five-county pilot by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014. The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is a division of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).