Qualifying Factors


Colorado Universal Preschool


Eligibility and Qualifying Factors for Additional Hours

Who is eligible for universal preschool? 

Children in Colorado can register for up to 15 hours per week of free, high-quality preschool in their year before kindergarten through Colorado’s Universal Preschool Program, also known as Universal Pre-K (UPK).

  • Families may qualify for more free hours based on a number of qualifying factors, per available funding. 
  • Depending on the provider, families have the option of paying for additional hours if desired.
  • This school year, school districts will resume primary registration for 3-year-olds through their targeted 3-year-old program. If your child is more than one year away from being eligible for kindergarten, please reach out to your school district for potential preschool services. 
  • Special Education Administrative Units (AUs) and school districts will place preschool aged children eligible for special education according to their Individualized Education Program (IEP) throughout the school year.

Who is eligible for additional hours? 

Dependent upon available funding, additional hours may be available for children who are “low-income” (defined as household income at or below 270% of the federal poverty guidelines) and have a “qualifying factor” listed below.

These qualifying factors include:

  • Child is identified as homeless and/or unhoused.
  • Child is a multilingual, meaning a child who is learning two or more languages at the same time, or a child who is learning a second language while continuing to develop their first language.
  • Child is eligible for special education with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  • Child is “in poverty,” defined as household income less than 100% of the federal poverty guidelines. 
  • Child is currently in the custody of a state supervised and county administered foster care home or in non-certified kinship care, meaning a child is being cared for by a relative or kin pursuant to 19-1-103(102), C.R.S., who has a significant relationship with the child in circumstances when there is a safety concern by a county department of human or social services and where the relative or kin has not met the foster care certification requirements for a kinship foster care home or has chosen not to pursue that certification process.

Who is eligible for additional hours? Income Eligibility

Dependent upon available funding, age eligible children may qualify for additional hours if they are low income and have at least one qualifying factor. Low income is defined as the annual household income at or below 270% federal poverty. The low income eligibility qualifications described below.

  • Annual household income is defined as: 
    • the total combined pre-tax income received by all members of a household within a 12 month period. 
    • this includes pre-tax wages, salaries, self-employment earnings, Social Security benefits, pensions, retirement income welfare payments, and income from other sources.
  • Household size is defined as: 
    • the number of people who occupy a housing unit as their usual place of residence.  
    • For example, if you are a household with 2 adults and 1 child, your household size is "3.” 
      If your household consists of 3 adults and 3 children, please enter "6".

Income Eligibility Table

  • To be considered ‘low-income,’ a child’s parent or guardian’s gross monthly income must not exceed 270% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG), based on household size as illustrated in the table below. 
  • To be considered ‘in poverty,” , a child’s parent or guardian’s gross monthly income must not exceed 100% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG), based on the household size as illustrated in the table below.  
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Note: These are the 2023 FPG guidelines because of the timing of the federal and state rulemaking process. 2024 FPG numbers are not finalized until September. Therefore, CDEC rules will follow 2023 rules for the 2024-2025 School Year.

More Information

Have more questions or need help with Universal Preschool Colorado? Contact us using this short form or call 303-866-5223. 

Tiene mas preguntas o necesita ayuda con Preescolar Universal de Colorado? Contáctenos usando este breve formulario o llámenos al 303-866-5223