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Grants to Maryland Local School Systems and Qualified Vendors to Increase Access to Early Childhood Education Programs

Prekindergarten Expansion Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)
Division of Early Childhood
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Maryland

Important Dates
Deadline: 06/13/23 5:00 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to Maryland local school systems, qualified vendors, and private providers to promote early learning and development. Funding is intended to increase access to early childhood education programs for children from low-income families, children with disabilities or special education needs, and students who are homeless. The purpose of the program is to broaden the availability of and expand access to high-quality prekindergarten and school readiness services for three-year-old and four-year-old students.

The Prekindergarten Expansion Grant is a competitive grant program administered by the Division of Early Childhood at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). It provides funding for local education agencies (LEAs) and private providers to administer high-quality prekindergarten and school readiness services throughout the State for children and their families in coordination with the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

Broaden availability and expand access to high-quality prekindergarten educational programming and school readiness services for three- year-old and four-year-old students from families with household incomes up to 300% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL), students with special education needs regardless of income, students with a home language other than English regardless of income, and students experiencing homelessness regardless of income. 

Priority will be given to high-quality programs that:

  • Are seeking renewal or expansion of existing programs with a demonstrable track record of success;
  • Are in areas of the state that have an unmet need for prekindergarten services; or
  • Include parental/guardian engagement and educational activities beyond the classroom.

For eligible use of funds, and for required components of proposals, see


Additional Eligibility Criteria
This funding opportunity is designed for those who deliver prekindergarten services and are accredited and participate in the Maryland EXCELS program*, including:
- Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or qualified vendors (as defined in COMAR 13A.06.02)
- Private providers who:
• Hold a valid license.
• Have not incurred any serious health or safety violations.
• Are Head Start programs.

The MSDE will take measures to achieve geographic diversity among participating providers.

*Priority will be given to programs with the following Maryland EXCELS ratings (in order of priority):
- Published at Level 5 with a plan to maintain this level,
- Published at Level 4 with a plan to publish at Level 5 by the end of the grant period, or
- Published at Level 3 with a plan approved by the MSDE to achieve Level 5 within five years. A plan must be included as part of the application.

Funds may not be used for:
- Supplanting existing services.
- Capital Improvements.
- Cost(s) incurred prior to the approval of the grant.

Pre-Proposal Conference
The MSDE will hold customer service support sessions for interested applicants. During these sessions, MSDE personnel will review what applicants need to get started, the program requirements, as well as a walk-through of the application. To attend a virtual session, please see the dates, times, and registration links below:

April 18, 2023, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (registration required)
April 19, 2023, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (registration required)
April 20, 2023, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Office Hours) - Modified Short Form Application (open link, no registration required)
April 24, 2023, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Office Hours) - Private Providers (open link, no registration required)
April 25, 2023, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Office Hours) LEAs (open link, no registration required)
May 2, 2023, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. (registration required)
May 4 2023, from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (registration required)
May 9, 2023, from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Office Hours)- Open to all applicants (open link, no registration required)

To access the support sessions, see the Full Grant Text link.

Pre-Application Information
Grant applications must be submitted by 5:00pm June 13, 2023.

To expedite the award process and ensure grantees can move without interruption into the 2023 – 2024 school year, MSDE will review applications on a rolling basis beginning April 25, 2023. MSDE encourages timely submission to increase an applicant’s likelihood of receiving an award.

All new applicants must complete the application in its entirety. However, applicants seeking renewal or expansion to an existing approved program may submit a modified short form application if the applicant’s site(s) has(have) a track record of success. A track record of success means an applicant has maintained a lead teacher who meets the grant requirements; and met and/or maintained a minimum Maryland EXCELS Level 4 or above, in compliance with fiscal guidelines.

Notification of awards will be sent by email on or by 30 days after application submission deadline (June 13).

For any modified short form applications received on or by April 25, MSDE will begin announcing award decisions prior to May 1 and will ensure all decisions for short form applications are issued within 30 days of application submission.

Technical Assistance Recording from May 2, 2023:

Technical Assistance Recording from May 4, 2023:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants

Estimated Size of Grant
Estimated Average Grant Amount: $400,000

Funding Per Prekindergarten Student: $13,000 per full-day slot for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds and up to $13,000 per slot for Ulysses Currie Head Start program applicants.

Term of Contract
Grant Period: July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024

Contact Information
Applications must be submitted by email to

If you have questions about the application or the process, please contact the Program Monitor:

Nykia Washington, Prekindergarten Program Manager
(410) 767-0088

Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21211

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