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Pre-K Applications Up by More Than a Third, City Says

 The first round of universal pre-K applications saw a 36 percent increase over last year, DOE officials said.
The first round of universal pre-K applications saw a 36 percent increase over last year, DOE officials said.
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CIVIC CENTER — More than 40,000 people applied for their children to enroll in the city's universal pre-K programs — a 36 percent increase from last year, according to the city's Department of Education.

The DOE received 41,603 online applications from families vying for one of the city's more than 20,000 public school-based full-day and half-day pre-K seats, officials said. Officials cautioned that the true number of students seeking pre-K seats could be lower, as they still have to check how many people applied more than once through the online system.

“Pre-K provides a vital foundation with this crucial extra year of added academic value and we are thrilled to see this historic number of applications,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement.

“This is the beginning of many more full-day pre-K options in Community-Based Early Childhood Centers and in our public schools, and we’ll continue our extensive outreach to families as we roll out additional options for 4-year-olds across the City.”

Parents who applied before the April 23 deadline will receive priority for seats in the pre-K programs they chose, according to city officials. Parents were able to rank their choices, and were able to apply to a number of schools simultaneously. 

Families will learn whether they have received a pre-K seat in early June.

Parents who did not apply ahead of this week's deadline are still able to seek seats in public schools, subject to availability.

The mayor's office added more than 4,000 full-day seats for this fall as part of the planned UPK expansion.

The next wave of new pre-K seats is expected to come through community-based organizations. The first set of those seats is due to be announced on Friday.

Parents will have to apply directly to the community groups, which each accept students on an individual basis, and often have specific income and other admissions criteria, according to the DOE.

Additional seats in community-based organizations will become available later in the year, DOE officials said.