(COLORADO) — Friday, Feb. 24 is the last day for families who have enrolled in universal preschool to reevaluate their selection of providers and review their applications.

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) said free universal preschool is estimated to save families thousands of dollars every year and will put Colorado’s youngest learners on the path to success. The CDEC added that families who have already ranked their selected providers for Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado in the first round of applications can reopen their initial application and reevaluate their choices of providers to make sure they still have the best providers selected for their needs.

The department encourages families to submit their choices by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24. 

CDEC said over 150 additional providers have signed up to participate in UPK Colorado since the January launch of the family application, and to ensure that as many Colorado parents as possible are able to sign up for the program, CDEC extended its timeline to allow ample time for families to re-enter the system and review and edit their applications. This adjusted timeline also allows new families to get into the system before the first round of matching.

On Feb. 27, the matching process will begin with the first batch of applications. On March 30, families who applied in the first round will receive an email from the state letting them know which provider they matched with and what the next steps for enrollment are.

Families seeking to participate in UPK that have not applied yet will be able to sign up and make provider rankings for their child. Enrollment is on a rolling basis and families can log in to UPK.Colorado.Gov to find a provider in their area. There is no deadline to sign up, CDEC said.

The UPK Colorado application will continue to be open to new families to apply throughout the spring, summer and into fall. CDEC will announce a date for the second batch of applications to be matched after the first batch of applicants is matched. The CDEC said this will allow them to make any needed improvements before then. 

Since launching the application for UPK Colorado this January, CDEC said over 30,000 families have signed up to participate in the state-funded, voluntary mixed delivery preschool program available to every child in the year before they are eligible to enter kindergarten.