Preschool for Every Colorado Child in the Year Before Kindergarten

The Colorado Universal Preschool Program offers up to 15 hours per week of state funding for preschool for all children in the year before kindergarten (August-May). Some families may choose a part-time or 10-hours-per-week option. 

Last year, families who participated in the program saved an average of $600 a month, or $6,000 a year, on preschool costs!

Depending on available funding, children eligible for UPK may qualify for additional hours if they are low-income AND have at least one qualifying factor.

Some 3-year-olds may also qualify for funded part-time preschool (10 hours) if they meet certain qualifying factors.

IMPORTANT LINKS

UPK Information Sessions for Families

Get your questions answered! The Triad Bright Futures team is here to help you navigate the UPK program and application.

April 23 at 6 pm in English
April 25 at 6 pm in Spanish
May 8 at 6 pm in English
May 9 at 6 pm in Spanish

No need to register. Click the button to join the Zoom meeting.

Does Your Child Have an IEP?

Children with an active Individualized Education Plan or IEP will be served within the public school district (Jeffco, Gilpin or Clear Creek).

Families will need to complete a UPK application AND the AU/ Special Education Staff will complete the placement to the program where the child will receive services.

2024-25 UPK Family Handbook

A comprehensive guide to the Universal Preschool program for families!

Information on eligibility, how to enroll, selecting providers, how the matching process works, answers to common questions, and more.

2024-25 UPK Timeline for Families

  • 2024-25 UPK application opens for all families – Feb. 29, 2024
  • Pre-Registration Period – Feb. 29-March 28, 2024 (Only those families with children currently enrolled, children with siblings currently enrolled, or with a family member currently employed by a participating provider will be matched with their provider during this period)
  • General Family Matching Round takes place in April & July – families looking for a new provider are matched with a ‘just-right fit’ provider based on their top choices from a variety of high-quality, licensed providers, including home-based providers, school-district preschool programs and community-based preschool programs
  • Walk-In Direct Enrollment – Closer to the start of the school year, families who have yet to enroll will work directly with a provider of choice to enroll as space allows.
  • Students with an IEP – children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are supported through direct application, registration, and enrollment year round through their Administrative Unit (AU).

Ready to sign your child up for UPK?

You can search for providers, select your top choices, and rank them in order of preference.

We encourage you to contact the providers you are considering for your application to make sure they meet your child care needs and would be a good fit for your family.

Need Help With Your UPK Application?

The Triad Bright Futures Help Desk can assist families in English and Spanish.

Submitting a ticket is the fastest way to get assistance. Click here for help If you need help submitting a help ticket, please click here

If you are ready to submit a ticket, click the button. 

STEPS TO APPLY FOR UPK OR CHANGE PROGRAMS: 2023-24 SCHOOL YEAR

For the remainder of the 2023-24 school year, families who want to apply for UPK or change preschool programs should follow the below steps for direct enrollment:

  1. Search for participating providers in the Universal Preschool Portal.
  2. Contact the providers that meet your needs to confirm a seat is available, register, and enroll in their program.
  3. Work with the chosen provider to complete an application in the Universal Preschool Portal. You will select the provider you enrolled with to ensure funding is in place before attending school.
  4. Providers should follow the instructions below to complete a Direct Placement.
  5. Families can begin care with their provider the same day they complete enrollment.
  6. Providers will need to complete the Enrollment Form in order to receiving funding for the direct placement.

Questions? Contact Triad Bright Futures UPK Help Desk

Does Your Family Participate in CCCAP?

CCCAP and UPK are a great combination!

Sign up for both UPK and CCCAP to get the maximum number of hours of child care each week and reduce or eliminate parent fees!

For a UPK and CCCAP comparison chart, click HERE.

Learn More About UPK Qualifying Factors

Some children may be eligible for more than 15 hours a week of funded preschool if they are low-income AND have one additional qualifying factor.

Learn more about qualifying factors and income eligibility.

No, UPK applications are accepted and matched with providers on a rolling basis throughout the year.

You will still be able to enroll in a program of your choosing and the first 15 hours per week will be free and then you can pay for the additional hours or often the program can work with you to see if you might qualify for other programs to help subsidize the cost. You will be able to review the costs of each program on their page in the application program and decide which program is best for your family.

You will only need to show proof if your family income is less than 270% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. At the end of the application you will need to upload proof of your income. If you don’t have it when you first apply you will be able to log back in and add it to your application.

  • If you have a job(s): Paycheck stub or pay envelope that shows the amount and how often pay is received; letter from employer stating gross wages and how often you are paid; or, if you work for yourself, business or farming papers, such as ledger or tax books.
  • If you receive Social Security, Pensions, or Retirement: Social Security retirement benefit letter, statement of benefits received, or pension award notice.
  • If you receive Unemployment, Disability, or Worker’s Compensation: Notice of eligibility from State employment security office, check stub, or letter from the Worker’s Compensation office.
  • If you receive TANF Payments: Benefit letter from Colorado Human Services office.
  • If you receive: Child Support or Alimony: Court decree, agreement, or copies of checks received.
  • Military Housing Privatization Initiative: Letter or rental contract showing that your housing is part of the Military Privatized Housing Initiative.
  • For All Other Income (Such as Rental Income): Information that shows the amount of the income, name of the person who received the income, the date it was received, and how often it was received.
  • If you do not have income, you can include a brief note explaining how you provide food, clothing, and housing for your household, and when you expect an income.

All children are eligible to receive universal preschool services. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), partnering with your local school district is essential in ensuring aligned resources. School districts have responsibility for ensuring a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in accordance with IDEA and ECEA.
If your child does not have an IEP, and you have concern of a potential developmental delay, go to www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/childfinddirectory for information on next steps.

If the provider of your choice is licensed and participating in UPK, it’s possible that your child will be matched with that program, but not guaranteed.

To participate in UPK, families will apply online and rank their preferences for participating preschool providers. The system then matches the child with an available UPK slot at a participating preschool program.

UPK funding is given directly to participating preschool providers. UPK providers must be licensed by the State of Colorado. Licensed preschool programs participating in UPK could include:

  • Licensed Family Child Care Homes
  • Licensed Community Based Centers
  • Licensed School District Based Programs
  • Licensed Charter School Programs
  • Licensed Head Start Programs

While many preschool programs will participate in UPK, the program is voluntary and not all programs will sign on to receive state UPK funding.

Families cannot use UPK funding to support the costs of an unlicensed provider, such as a family member, friend or neighbor.