A district is required to offer a prekindergarten program if they identify 15 or more eligible children. To be eligible, a child must be at least four years of age by September 1 of the current school year and meet at least one of the criteria listed below. A district may offer (but not required) a three-year-old program to eligible children and the same criteria would apply. Age is always calculated as of September 1 of the current school year (for the purposes of establishing eligibility).
- Be unable to speak and comprehend the English language
- Be educationally disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program
- Note: Qualifying under national free or reduced-price lunch program now includes students who qualify for Medicaid Free or Medicaid Reduced.
- Be homeless, as defined by 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child
- Be the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority;
- Be the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty;
- Be in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code;
- Be the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer (3106.002), firefighter (3106.003), or emergency medical first responder (3106.004).