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Seattle Preschool Program Applications Are Open

Seattle families have until April 15 to apply for the recently expanded program

Madison Miller

Published on: March 28, 2024

a classroom of preschool children raise hands to answer a question from the teacher

Applications for the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) are now open to families needing reduced or free tuition. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that the nine-year program is expanding this year to add 16 classrooms, increasing the total capacity to about 150 classrooms and 2,500 students throughout Seattle in time for the 2024–2025 school year. The City of Seattle has invested about $3.5 million into the program’s expansion.

What is SPP?

Through SPP, Seattle became one of the first U.S. cities to offer free/affordable pre-K programming. SPP, funded by the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise (FEPP) levy, aims to eliminate opportunity gaps in kindergarten readiness and provide access to high-quality early learning for all Seattle pre-K students.

“Providing affordable and high-quality education programs for our city’s kids ensures they are set up for success as they embark on their academic journey,” Harrell said in a press release. “By continuing to invest in more Seattle Preschool Program classrooms with inclusive curriculum and dedicated educators, we will reach even more families next school year. I invite all Seattle families with 3-and 4-year-old children to apply today, so that our city’s young learners are on the path to a bright future.” 

Eligibility requirement

Families who want to apply for the program have until April 15. Eligibility is based on the child’s age and address. Children must be either 3- or 4-years-old on or by Aug. 31 and must reside within the city of Seattle. Children living in unincorporated Seattle or outside of the city’s limits are not eligible.

Tuition is based on each family’s income, and most Seattle families qualify for free or reduced tuition, with more than 70 percent of Seattle families currently paying no tuition. A tuition calculator and application is available on the SPP website.

“Bringing affordable preschool education to Seattle families is vital for our region. A lot of families are still recuperating from the economic hardships of the pandemic, an increase in the cost of living and putting food on the table,” Dwane Chappelle, Department of Education and Early Learning director, said in a press release. “If we can remove one less burden like supporting their child’s education through tuition assistance, then we are happy to provide an investment that will set up students for success especially in their formative years of life.”  

SPP has expanded every year since it launched, and is on schedule to serve 2,500 children by 2026. However, the FEPP levy that funds the program is set to expire at the end of 2025, though it is likely that voters will have the opportunity to vote for continued funding. 

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