New York Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten Program


  • Public Pre-K

New York

New York State launched its Universal Pre-K (UPK) program in 1998, merging it with the state’s targeted pre-K program in 2007. In 2014, the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten Program (SUFDPK) was created by statute (Chapter 53 of the Laws of 2014); the program allocated $340 million for grants to incentivize and fund full-day UPK programs across the state; $300 million of this funding went to launch New York City’s UPK program, and the remaining $40 million was disbursed across the state to expand full-day programs. Thanks to these expansion efforts, 52% of the state’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in public pre-K. The percentage dropped to 46% in 2021 but returned to 52% in 2022. As part of the 2022 enacted budget, the state allocated an additional $90 million for noncompetitive awards to districts that had not yet received state funding to support UPK, and $15 million for competitive grants to expand full-day seats for 4-year-olds. The competitive grants are awarded through an RFP process, overseen by the state’s Office of Early Learning. In 2023, the state appropriated an additional $25 million for statewide pre-K grants to create either new full-day slots, or to expand half-day slots to full-day slots for 4-year-olds; this round of funding will be awarded through an RFP process.

New York State Department of Education. (n.d.). 2023-2024 Universal Prekindergarten Expansion Grant.
New York State Department of Education. (n.d.). Questions and Answers for GC 22-010a – Universal Prekindergarten Expansion Grant.
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). New York.

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 New York

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

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  • The state population is 19,677,151
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 68%
  • The rural percentage is 12.6%