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The Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Classroom Quality Grant Program

UPK promotes school readiness and positive outcomes for children. The program includes grants for programs to meet and maintain the quality requirements of the program.

What to know

The UPK Grant Program supports quality enhancements in preschool classrooms that help promote positive outcomes and children’s school readiness. UPK grantees support activities to improve quality, such as:

  • Providing lower staff-child ratios.
  • Decreased class/group sizes.
  • Enhancing programs’ use of assessment data to individualize teaching and plan effective developmentally appropriate curriculum.
  • Providing comprehensive services to meet the diverse needs of children.
  • Achieving higher levels in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

EEC received 110 grant applications for FY18 and is recommending 107 grant awards totaling to $5,728,146. The grant awards and funds will support 138 preschool programs: 91 in Group & School Age programs, 38 in Family Child Care homes, and 9 in public schools.


Current UPK grants are renewal grants. Only the agencies and programs that received UPK funding in Fiscal Year 2017 are eligible to apply for the renewal grant funds. The Fiscal Year 2018 grants are not intended to expand current grantees’ UPK programs. Programs must continue to fund the UPK classrooms and Family Child Care homes selected for funding by EEC in FY 2017.

In order to be eligible, all requirements of the grant must be met. Programs must:

  • Be a current UPK grant recipient and must have, at a minimum, a Granted Level 3 status in QRIS.
  • Have an income-eligible contract and/or voucher agreement in place and be willing to accept EEC-subsidized or low-income children.
  • Provide access to full-day, full-year services for working families.
  • Have current National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation for group child care programs or National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) accreditation or a non-expired Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or higher for family child care educators (Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master’s degree).
  • Serve preschool-aged children.
  • Serve high needs children.
  • Show that formative assessment data is collected and entered for each child in the preschool classroom(s).

Any grantees that lost or failed to renew their UPK grant in FY17 are not eligible for a renewal grant in FY18.

For technical assistance regarding EEC's QRIS Program Manager, please contact EEC's Help Desk.


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