Universal Free PreK Available to all 4 year olds

If your child will be 4 by Sept 1, 2022, then get ready to apply to FREE Universal PreK at ChicagoEarlyLearning.org starting at 9am on 4/19/22. Parents can choose up to 5 program sites. (Families of 3 year olds can also apply but these programs are mostly hosted by community based organizations and not housed in schools.) The application will be open for an Initial Application Period until mid-May. Then a single offer notification will be sent to parents upon which they can decide to accept or reject the offer. Families will stay on a waitlist for any program they listed higher than the one they were offered. Families who did not participate in the Initial Application Period can apply on a rolling basis starting mid-May.

  • Up to 5 program sites must be ranked in order of preference
  • Families will receive a single offer only
  • Placement based on priority points for need, siblings, neighborhood & proximity
  • 4 y.o. programs hosted mostly at CPS sites, 3 y.o. programs at community sites
  • No more tuition based preschool, all programs free or minimal fee by income
  • Most programs are Full day (7 hr/day) and follow the CPS calendar (see below)
  • Students at a 4 y.o. site may be given priority for Kindergarten via GoCPS app
  • Application assistance available at Family Resource Centers

2019-2020 Chicago Early Learning Preschool Applications Now Open

Families with 3 or 4 year olds by Sept. 1 can apply for sliding scale tuition full or half day 2019-2020 preschool programs in Chicago. Choose up to 2 program sites and find out by June if you were placed in one or on a waitlist.

Three steps to apply: 1. Create on online account; 2. Fill in family info including address, household size, employment & income; 3. Fill out info on your child and choose your top 2 program sites.


Some sites are based in CPS schools but unless it is your assigned neighborhood school, there is no guarantee that you can continue at that school for kindergarten. It is a great way to get to know a school, however, to see if you would like to put it on your application or attend it if it is your neighborhood school.

CPS 2019-2020 Applications are Now Open!

From now until Dec 14, 2018, you can go to www.go.cps.edu and learn about applying to CPS programs from Preschool to High School.  The applications are open and you can apply to schools and schedule testing or admissions screenings until the December deadline.

Lots of helpful info at the following links:


Elementary FAQs

High School FAQs

Remember, you can apply for up to 6 Selective Enrollment (test based) schools but must rank your choices and you will get a single offer.

You can also choose up to 20 non-selective (now called “Choice Programs”) lottery schools but elementary has no ranking and multiple offers while high school you do need to rank and it is single offer.  Good luck!

Note: CPS Tiers also change each year on October 1st, so check your tier by entering your address at https://go.cps.edu/search.  They can go up, down or stay the same each year.