Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)?
What is the age eligibility for Head Start and GSRP?
When I complete the application, does that mean my child will be enrolled?
I filled out an application early. Does that mean I am more likely to get in?
How are children selected for the preschool programs?
I receive food stamps, Medicaid, or WIC. Does that mean I am eligible?
The application allows me to pick three programs. Does that mean my application will be sent to all three?
How do I make changes to my child's application?
What counts as income?
What curriculums are used in the preschool programs?
What is the adult to child ratio?
If my child does not qualify for tuition free Head Start or GSRP preschool, are there fee-based programs available?
Where can I go to find additional information on before- and after-school care?
How can I schedule a tour of a potential preschool program for my child?


What is the difference between Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)?
Both preschool programs provide an excellent opportunity for children to learn in a safe, encouraging environment. Both programs are focused on giving children the best classroom experience possible to prepare them for kindergarten.

Head Start is a program that provides additional support for families beyond the classroom. The program works closely with families to help enhance the child's overall health and nutrition and help parents with their child's mental, social, and emotional needs. While Head Start gives priority for enrollment to four year-old children, some classrooms are available to three year-olds. Almost all Head Start families must have an income below 100% of the federal poverty level.

Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) is only available to four year-old children. Eligibility for GSRP requires that family income is below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines with priority given to children based on family income. So the lower the family income, the better the chances for your child to be placed in Head Start or GSRP.

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What is the age eligibility for Head Start and GSRP?
Head Start

Four year-old programs - Children must be born between September 2, 2012 and September 1, 2013 to be eligible for a four year-old Head Start program during the 2017-18 school year.

Three year-old program - Children must be born between September 2, 2013 and September 1, 2014 to be eligible for a three year-old head start program during the 2017-18 school year.  Three year old children will not be considered for enrollment until late summer, openings are limited.

Early Head Start - Children born after September 1, 2014 may be eligible for Early Head Start programs.

Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)
Four year-old programs- children must be born between September 2, 2017 and September 1, 2013 to be eligible for a Great Start Readiness program during the 2017-18 school year.

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When I complete the application, does that mean my child will be enrolled?
Completing an application does not guarantee enrollment in a program. The application form is the first step in the process to applying for preschool. It helps us connect you with the program that you feel is best for your family. After completing the application, you may still need to provide income, additional information to verify eligibility, and complete the enrollment process. Priority for enrollment is based on family income and additional life experiences. You will be contacted by a program advisor who will discuss next steps with you.

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I filled out an application early. Does that mean I am more likely to get in?
While it is a good idea to fill out your Interest Form as soon as possible, it generally does not impact the chances of your child getting into a particular program.  Decisions to accept students are made based primarily on family income, and additional life experiences.

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How are children selected for the preschool programs?
Tuition free programs are required to follow prioritization guidelines when enrolling children into families. Eligibility is primarily based on family income (federal poverty level), life experiences and child's age. Head Start and Great Start Readiness programs are federally funded or funded by the Michigan Department of Education and have a defined list of eligibility factors. Preschool Interest Forms are reviewed for Head Start eligibility first. Each child must qualify for the preschool program based on guidelines that include income verification and documentation of other school readiness risk factors.

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I receive food stamps, Medicaid or WIC. Does that mean I am eligible?
Not necessarily. If you receive government assistance, your child may be income eligible for preschool. However, you are not automatically eligible for preschool because you receive food stamps, Medicaid or WIC.

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The application allows me to pick three programs. Does that mean my application will be sent to all three?
No, indicating three program preferences does not mean your application will be sent to all three.  Applications are sent to one program at a time. We always try to honor parent request and send an application to your first preference, but if that program is full or has a school of choice policy that limits your child's enrollment, we may send your application to your second or third choice.

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How do I make changes to my child's application?
To make changes to your child's application, please call 1.855.644.7735.

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What counts as income?
Income is all of the money the parent/guardian(s) living with the child have earned before taxes. Income includes:

  • Wages or salary from a job
  • Money earned from self-employment
  • Retirement or disability payments
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • College/university scholarships or grants
  • Interest/investment income or periodic payments from a trust
  • Lawsuit settlement payments
  • Gambling winnings

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What curriculums are used in the preschool programs?
All programs use evidence-based early childhood curriculums as approved by the Michigan Department of Education and the office of Head Start.  These include:

Highscope – for more information, visit Highscope.

Creative Curriculum - for more information, visit Creative Curriculum.

Additional curriculums may be used as approved by Michigan Department of Education on an individual basis

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What is the adult to child ratio?
Programs use the State of Michigan child care licensing ratios. Head Start and GSRP have a minimum of one adult to eight children. No classroom may exceed 18 children. Tuition programs may differ.

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If my child does not qualify for tuition free Head Start or GSRP preschool, are there fee-based programs available?
Yes, many of the District and Community Based Agencies that offer GSRP or Head Start also offer tuition programs.  If your preferences include a site that has a tuition based program your application will be routed to that location.  If your preferences do not include a site that offers a tuition based program the, Great Start to Quality provides information on every licensed child care provider in Michigan. It can help you find a child care and/or preschool for your child. Visit Great Start to Quality for more information.

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Where can I find additional information on before- and after-school care?
Visit About Us.  Here you will find information on before- and after-school care, transportation options, locations and contact information for each of the Head Start or Great Start Readiness program sites within the Ingham ISD service area.

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How can I schedule a tour of a potential preschool program for my child?
Please visit the program websites you are interested in touring for their policy on tours. To find contact information for Head Start or GSRP websites, visit About Us.

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