Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP)


  • Public Pre-K


In 2007, Iowa launched a Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP) that offers universal access to at least 10 hours of care per week for all 4-year-olds. The funding comes from the K-12 state funding formula, which stipulates that programs serving 4-year-olds receive 50% of the K-12 state aid amounts. SWVPP serves children in a combination of public and private schools and community-based child care settings. It is offered in collaboration with a targeted program called Shared Visions, which provides quality care for children experiencing various risk factors. In November, 2022, the state learned it would lose out on $30 million in federal Preschool Development Grant funding, which may have an impact on future expansion efforts.

Iowa Department of Education. (2020). Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children.
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2022). Iowa.
Iowa Capital Dispatch. (2022). Iowa will not receive $30 million in federal aid for child care.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply. 
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Iowa

Context matters. Visit the Iowa profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Iowa Profile Here
  • The state population is 3,200,517
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 74%
  • The rural percentage is 36.8%