Families can now register for Marion County preschool pilot

Families with 4-year-olds entering kindergarten next fall can now register for the Marion County’s preschool pilot program.

About 100 preschool spots will be open for Marion County kids starting in January. To register and apply for grants, families must have an annual income of no more than $30,290 for a family of four, live in Marion County and had  a child who is 4 and eligible to start Kindergarten in August 2015. Tuition aid would range between $2,500 and $6,800 a year depending on income.

For information on how to apply visit this website. Instructions for filling out the application are available here.

Applications are due by  Dec. 15, according to the Family and Social Services Administration. If the families applying outnumber the available grants, the administration will decide who gets a grant through a random lottery. Families can then choose any qualifying preschool program and can call 1-800-299-1627 for help.

The pilot is the first time Indiana has had direct state aid for preschool. Before, Indiana was one of nine states that did not offer direct tuition aid for poor children to attend preschool. The bill that created the pilot was a priority for Gov. Mike Pence, who fought earlier this year to get the program approved by the legislature.

Marion County is one of five counties to participate in the pilot. With philanthropic grants and state dollars, the program could end up totaling $15 million in public and private funds. Gov. Pence and the administration plan to ask the 2015 General Assembly to continue funding for the pilot in the state’s next budget, the FSSA statement said.