Change Indicator

Publicly Funded, High-Quality Pre-K - Percent of unserved children eligible for publicly funded pre-k in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

We know high-quality pre-k works. Research shows the funding invested in these programs prepares children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and for success in school and in life. Pre-k also strengthens our schools and our commonwealth. It saves taxpayer money in the long term by reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction, increasing the likelihood of graduation and college enrollment, and decreasing dropout rates, crime and incarceration.

High-quality early learning is especially beneficial to children whose educational opportunities are hindered by poverty or other circumstances. When at-risk children benefit from early learning investments like Pre-K Counts, they enter k-12 better prepared and less likely to struggle to keep pace with their peers.
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Definition and Source



Publicly funded, high-quality pre-k: Includes the distinct count of PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program and Child Care Works enrollments in Keystone STARS 3 and 4; Head Start; and school district pre-k.

Eligible percentages represent total child population ages 3 to 4 less than 300% poverty that are not served.

Early Head Start enrollments are excluded since the age is not the pre-kindergarten targeted population of ages 3 and 4 years.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Head Start Association, Head Start grantees and PA Departments of Education and Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey and 2010 Census.


Beginning with 2013-14 data, the definition of publicly funded, high-quality pre-k included children ages 3 to 4 in Child Care Works in Keystone STAR 3 or 4 providers.

NOTE: The 2015-16 county totals do not compare to the Path Forward Report issued in December 2016. The numbers in this table are unduplicated at the county level; whereas, the Path Forward report is based on enrollment within each facility.

Data is not available for 2017-18.

2018-19 data is not based on enrollment in PA Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. Funded slots were used instead.

NA = Not Available.

Last Updated

April 2023