Governor Tom Wolf today announced more than $384 million in grant funding for early childhood education, providing more children and families in Pennsylvania with access to high-quality early learning programs through Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP).
“Education investment has been my top priority since I first considered running for this office,” Governor Wolf said. “That priority, commitment and investment is nowhere more important than in its impact on Pennsylvania’s youngest citizens. Early childhood education makes a vast difference in a child’s path to a bright future and to realizing their full potential.”
The funding, made available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), opens up 2,960 new PA Pre-K Counts slots, and the increase for HSSAP will allow grantees to address increased costs to operate.
“Investing in early childhood education and expanding access to high-quality programs like Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program positively impacts families and children across the commonwealth,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “Increasing the number of slots available for these programs means more children will have access to the early learning that will benefit them and their families now and throughout their lives.”
More than $87 million in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Grants was awarded to 41 eligible applicants and will give existing Head Start grantees the opportunity to expand high quality pre-kindergarten Head Start services for eligible children, enrolling additional three- and four-year-old children and expanding full-day and full-year service opportunities for children and families.
The 2022-23 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Grant Program awarded more than $297 million in grants to 89 eligible applicants to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten services for age- and income-eligible children.
Continuing his commitment to education from pre-K to postsecondary, Governor Wolf’s final enacted budget contained an historic $1.8 billion in funding, including a $79 million increase for early education through Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
The Wolf administration has increased education funding by more than $3.7 billion since 2015, with early childhood increases totaling $254 million over the past eight years.