The State of Colorado supports at least 15 hours of preschool for every four-year-old

Licensed preschool providers can participate in Colorado Universal Preschool (UPK); the program is voluntary for both providers and families. UPK provides up to 15 hours per week of preschool services for children in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten.

Four-year-olds with qualifying factors may be eligible for additional hours of preschool per week. Three-year-olds may also be eligible for UPK if they meet certain qualifying factors.


Tools to Promote Your UPK Program to Families

The materials in this shared folder are designed to help providers promote their program to families.

Resources include printable flyers that you can share with families to let them know that you are a participating UPK provider and how they can enroll their child. There are also emails that providers can customize and send to families.

Licensed Providers Can Participate in UPK

UPK is available for nine months during the school year. The funding for each child’s preschool tuition goes directly to the participating preschool provider.

Providers that can participate in UPK include licensed family child care homes, licensed community-based centers, licensed school district programs, licensed charter school programs, and licensed Head Start programs. Licensed faith-based preschools can participate, but UPK funds cannot be applied during hours of religious programming.

Preschool providers participating in UPK may serve the number of preschool students allowed for by their current child care license. 

Important Quality Standards Action Items for Providers

These phased action items are meant to help providers meet the UPK quality standards that will be phased in starting July 1, 2024.

Have and implement policies and procedures (on their website or handbook distributed to families) which ensure:

  • The use of interpreters or other language resources to effectively communicate in families’ home language;
  • Seeking input from participating families on priorities, interests, home routines, and cultural and social practices;
  • Engaging with families on goals which inform the provider’s interactions and instruction with children, including with multilingual learners;
  • Engaging families and community partners in decision-making on preschool operations;
  • Involving families in the transition of children into and out of the Preschool Program, including the transition into Kindergarten;
  • Ensuring the quality of program-family and program-staff interactions.
  • Additionally, there is a requirement to notify families of the opportunity to participate in an annual Family Survey conducted by CDEC.


  • Preschool providers will not be required to submit documentation to demonstrate compliance.
  • Information gathered in the 2024-25 school year will not be used for determination of compliance.

Triad Bright Futures Help Desk for Providers

Support for providers to navigate the UPK portal, review rosters, and make requests to CDEC for seat adjustments.

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Please take 3 minutes to rate your experience working with Triad Bright Futures.

We are committed to continuing to improve the support we provide to providers and families, and we welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have.

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Questions About UPK Payments?

Please email or submit a ticket to the Payments Help Desk.

UPK Provider Information

CCCAP & UPK Work Together for Families

Signing up for UPK allows families that participate in CCCAP to get the maximum number of hours of child care each week and reduce or eliminate parent fees!

Understanding Qualifying Factors

Some children may be eligible for more than 15 hours a week of free preschool if they meet income eligibility requirements AND have one additional qualifying factor.

UPK Intersections with Special Ed, EI and IEP

Understand how Universal Preschool intersects with preschool special education, Early Intervention, and the Individualized Education Plan, or IEP.

Consolidated Guidance for Providers from CDEC

Includes information on payments, qualifying factors, multi-age settings and seat flexibility, Special Education/IEPs, funding, application, and the matching process.

Only currently licensed providers are eligible to participate in UPK. If you do not currently have a license through the state, begin that process today.

To begin the UPK registration process, you will go to Licensed providers will be able to claim their accounts. To claim your account, you will need the email associated with your license. This is the same email you use to login to Provider Hub.

Once you create and account, you will go through a brief registration process. After your registration has been sent, your LCO will send you a provider participation agreement to sign through the system. After entering your digital signature, you will then be able to manage your provider profile. This profile is how you will be displayed to families as they are searching and applying for the UPK Colorado Program for the 2024-25 school year.

Click here for the UPK Provider Hanbook, a resource to help providers understand and navigate Colorado’s UPK system.

Learn more about qualifying factors here.

Yes. Children will continue to qualify for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), Head Start and other funding sources. These programs can be “stacked” on top of the universal preschool hours to provide a child with additional hours per week. Providers participating in UPK are encouraged to blend and braid UPK tuition credits with other available funding sources including Head Start and CCCAP for eligible families.

The initial 15 hours of UPK funding should be applied first to a child’s tuition costs. After that, Head Start or local scholarship dollars are applied. Then, if remaining tuition is owed, the additional UPK rate for qualifying factors is applied. By statute CCCAP is the last funding source applied.

In the Triad Bright Futures catchment area (Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin counties), the UPK tuition credit rates and schedule are as follows (2023-24 school year):

  • Part Time Slotfunds 10 hours per week/$471 per month in 10 payments (or $4,713.94 for the entire year) – Available to 3-year-olds with one qualifying factor
  • Half Day Slotfunds 15 hours per week/$589 per month in 10 payments (or $5,890.53 for the entire year) – Available to children the year before kindergarten* (no qualifying factors)
  • Full Day Slotfunds 30 hours per week/$1,051 per month in 10 payments (or $10,513.26 for the entire year) – Available to children the year before kindergarten with income plus one additional qualifying factor

Tuition credits are paid directly from CO Dept of Early Childhood to the licensed provider monthly, August through May. 

Preschools often provide different hourly attendance options. For the purposes of Colorado Universal Preschool, these are defined as:

  • Part-time (10-15 hrs/wk)
  • Half-day (15-30 hrs/wk)
  • Full-day (30-40 hrs/wk)
  • Extended day (40+ hrs/wk)

UPK Tuition Credit Clarification

CDEC wants to highlight to all providers that as part of UPK Colorado a provider may not charge families above the tuition credit for UPK hours.