Durham PreK 2021-2022 Application is now open! Click below to access the application page.


Durham PreK 2021-22 School Year Interest Forms

Would you like for one of our Spanish bilingual preschool application counselors to contact you to set up an application appointment? Please complete an electronic interest form below, and one of our counselors will contact you!


For any other information, please view our FAQs or contact us.

Sliding Scale

2020-2021 School Year

UPDATE 8/14/2020: The Durham PreK Governance Committee voted to suspend all parent fees for the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19. 

For most families, preschool services will be free. Families with incomes at and above 400% of the current year's Federal Poverty Level will contribute monthly parent fees based on income and family size. To determine whether and what your monthly parent fee might be, follow the steps below.

  1. Find your family size and your gross annual income (income before taxes) in the chart below.
  2. If your gross annual income falls under 400% FPL (within the blue column), you will not have a monthly parent fee.
  3. If your gross annual income falls at or above 400% FPL (within the green column):
    • Divide your gross annual income (income before taxes) by 12 to determine monthly income.
    • Multiply your monthly income by 4% to determine your monthly parent fee.

A family of any size with a gross annual income over $375,000 is still eligible, but will be assigned a monthly parent fee of $1,250, which matches the maximum monthly cost of each Durham PreK spot. Please note that Federal Poverty Level changes annually and can be referenced here.

2021-2022 Sliding Scale

wdt_ID Family Size < 400% FPL 400% FPL - Cap of Fees
1 2 $0 - $69,680 $69,681 - $375,000
2 3 $0 - $87,840 $87,841 - $375,000
3 4 $0 - $106,000 $106,001 - $375,000
4 5 $0 - $124,160 $124,161 - $375,000
5 6 $0 - $142,320 $142,321 - $375,000
6 7 $0 - $160,480 $160,481 - $375,000
7 8 $0 - $178,640 $178,641 - $375,000
8 No Monthly Parent Fee 4% Monthly Parent Fee

Durham PreK Application FAQ's

Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the Durham PreK Application Process. To view all of our Family FAQ's, click here.


Who is eligible to apply for preschool in Durham?

Any family living in Durham County with a child who will be 4 by August 31 of the preschool year is eligible to apply. Eligibility for preschool services in Durham is not limited by income.

Where do I sign up?

To receive more information about the application process, call 1-833-773-5338 or visit the DPK Application page.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, we encourage families to apply by May 15th to be considered for all Durham Public Schools pre-K classrooms. Families that submit an application after the May 15th deadline, will only be considered for Durham PreK, NC Pre-K, Head Start and the Whitted School.

What do I need to submit to complete my online application?

All families will need to submit the child’s birth certificate, proof of current address (current lease, mortgage statement or utility bill) and proof of one month’s income (one month’s paystubs or letter from employer if paystubs are not available).

The following documents are also considered part of your monthly income, and you will need to provide documentation of any or all that apply to your family:

  • Child support (for any child in your household)
  • Pension
  • Disability
  • Alimony payments
  • Commissioned Sales
  • Scholarships or grants
  • Proof of parent enrollment in school
  • Financial assistance
  • W-2 (self-employed) - required to be considered for a Head Start classroom

We understand not every family will have access to all of these documents. If you,

  • are residing with a family member
  • do not currently have an income
  • are self-employed and paid in cash

our application counselors will help you fill out alternate forms needed to complete the application.

Some families may be asked to provide additional information. Examples include:

  • Military families – will need to provide one or all of the following documents, if applicable:
    • Valid military I.D.
    • Separation forms
    • Active Duty income paystubs
    • Proof of Deployment (current or future)
  • Children with additional services – will need to provide one or both of the following documents, if applicable:
    • Documentation of a chronic health condition
    • Copy of Private Service Plan

Upon receiving a placement offer, families will nee to submit their child's immunization records as part of the enrollment process.

Do I have to provide my child's citizenship status to apply?

Child citizenship does not determine eligibility. All 4 year old children in Durham County are eligible for all programs, regardless of citizenship status.

Families can choose to leave the citizenship question blank, but it will limit program options for that child to Durham Public Schools, Durham PreK and Head Start.

Will my child still have a developmental screening?

Until further notice, all pre-K screenings for the 2021-22 school year application will be completed over the phone due to COVID-19.

School year 2021-22 applicants will receive a call within a couple of weeks of submitting the application online, by phone or by mail based on the time preference indicated in your online application.

Calls will likely show up as private because staff are working remotely and are using their personal phones. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

For questions about the online application, families can email prek@childcareservices.org or call 1-833-773-5338. For questions about screenings, families can email Stephanie_Humphrey@dpsnc.net.

Is there any cost to my family for preschool participation?

For most families, preschool services will be free. Families with incomes at and above 400% of the current year's Federal Poverty Level will contribute parent fees based on income and family size. To determine whether and what your parent fee might be, click here to read more about the sliding scale.

What if I have more than one child eligible for Durham PreK for the same school year?

If you need to complete an online application for more than one child, please contact the Pre-K Information Desk for assistance at 1-833-773-5338 or prek@childcareservices.org.

For families with more than one child eligible for Durham PreK for the same school year:

  • The monthly parent fee for the first child will follow the Durham PreK Sliding Scale based on household income and family size.
  • For each additional child, the monthly parent fee will be 50% of the parent fee assigned for the first child.

For example, if you have two children sharing an academic year, and your family size and household income indicate a $300 parent fee, then you will pay $300 per month for one child, and $150 per month for the second child.

To determine what your monthly parent fee may be, please see the Durham PreK Sliding Scale below.

When I submit a Durham PreK application, where will my child be placed?

Preschool classrooms in Durham are supported by a mix of programs, including NC Pre-K, Head Start, Durham Public Schools, and Durham PreK. Participating preschool classrooms may be in a public school setting, a Head Start facility, or at a private child care facility that meets certain quality standards. Some facilities will have seats from only one of these programs, others will have a mix of seats. Every child with a Durham PreK application will receive a developmental screening. The results of the screening, general program eligibility, parent preference, and distance from home are all taken into consideration on during the placement process.

What if I need more than 6.5 hours of care each day?

Care outside the preschool day is called Wrap Around Care. Wrap Around Care is a separate service from preschool and is neither guaranteed at every facility nor free. Individual preschool providers will determine whether they have the staffing to host Wrap Around Care and for what hours. Families should ask the facility where they are placed whether Wrap Around Care is an option and, if so, make Wrap Around Care arrangements with that facility.

Vouchers and Scholarships can sometimes help to cover Wrap Around Care costs for qualifying families, but eligibility for these services is not guaranteed or universally applicable to all types of preschool.

Before and After Care hours and fees for the 2021-2022 school year will be listed soon.

I'm looking for care for my other children, who can I contact for assistance?

If your family needs additional child care, you can contact the Child Care Referral Central at CCSA for assistance in finding a program that meets your family's needs. Visit their website or call 1-855-EARLY-ED to speak with a referral counselor.


The 2021-2022 Durham PreK Application is still open! Click here to access the application information and materials.