The Best Investment You Will Ever Make

The Coordinated Subsidy Program of the Down East Partnership for Children offers two types of opportunities for parents and families that will allow their children access to high quality early childhood education and child care through the DEPC’s Scholarship Program and NC Pre-Kindergarten Program.

Scholarship Program

Our Scholarship Program is funded by Smart Start and was designed to ensure that families could receive financial assistance to access quality early care and education before entering kindergarten. Through this program, children become better prepared, healthy and ready to succeed.

To Qualify for Assistance: 

  • Child must be ages, birth to three years old or four years old and not age-eligible for Pre-K
  • Families must live in Nash or Edgecombe County
  • Parents must be working an average of 30 hours per week OR enrolled in school full-time OR working AND in school an average of 30 hours/week
  • Income eligibility is based on 85% of state median income
  • Child care chosen by the parent must be from a pre-approved list of 4 and 5 star licensed child care centers and family child care homes
Please note:  Children who are enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, Head Start, or the Dept. of Social Services Child Care Subsidy Program are not eligible.

To Apply:

You may download a copy of the Scholarship Program Application or (Spanish) Scholarship Program Application  (Cuidado y educación temprana para niños formulario de referencia y reclutamiento). Please complete all information on the form and return it along with all required documents by mail to:
Down East Partnership for Children
Scholarship Program
P. O. Box 1245
Rocky Mount, NC 27802
Or deliver the application and all forms to:
Down East Partnership for Children
215 Lexington Street
Rocky Mount, NC 27802
For more information contact us at (252) 985-4300 or 1-888-285-0849, Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten

The North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program (NC Pre-K) is a component of the Subsidy Program at Down East Partnership for Children (DEPC). NC Pre-K is a state funded, community based, voluntary pre-kindergarten initiative designed to prepare at-risk four-year-olds in North Carolina for success in school. This program is free to eligible parents.


NC Pre-K Parent FAQs

NC Pre-K Application

NC Pre-K Application (Spanish)


  • Families must live in Nash or Edgecombe County.
  • Child must be 4 years old on or before August 31st of the program year and must not be age eligible for kindergarten.
  • Family’s gross income must be at or below 75% of the State Median Income level.
  • Child must have or obtain current health assessment and immunizations.
​Please note: Families who are over the income level may still qualify if a child has other identified risk factors.

NC Pre-K Programs Offer:

  • A 6 1/2 hours a day early childhood education program
  • Parent Involvement
  • Some sites provide transportation
  • Nutritious meals
NC Pre-K classes are located in public schools, Head Start and in high quality child care centers (must be a 4 or 5 star licensed center) within Edgecombe and Nash counties.

NC Pre-Kindergarten Program – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does NC Pre-K cost?

Nothing at all! NC Pre-K is a free program that serves children for a full school day. However, if you need after school care for your child, that care would be separate from NC Pre-K and you would have to provide payment for that.

Who provides NC Pre-K?

In Nash and Edgecombe counties, NC Pre-K classrooms can be found in both public school systems, in select child care centers, and in select Head Start locations. A detailed list can be found at

My child care center says they have Pre-K but they aren’t on your list. How does that work?

Although many programs may have a class that they refer to as a “Pre-K” class, only approved sites are able to receive funding to provide the free NC Pre-K program. Approved NC Pre-K sites have to follow specific state guidelines in relation to class size, teacher education, and the curriculum they use.

How do I apply for NC Pre-K?

We encourage parents to apply at the site they wish to attend, but you can apply at Down East Partnership for Children if you are not able to go to the site. There is an application that you must fill out and submit along with a copy of your child’s birth certificate and documentation of your income (30 days of pay stubs, child support, alimony payments, workman’s compensation, etc.). Applications are available at the sites, at Down East Partnership for Children, and online at

Who is eligible for NC Pre-K?

Children who turn 4 years old ON or BEFORE August 31st of the school year and who are deemed “at-risk”. The primary risk-factor is income, but children with developmental/educational needs, some children with chronic health conditions, children with limited English proficiency, and children of military families may also be considered for the program.

Do I have to wait until my child turns four years old to apply for NC Pre-K?

No. If your child will turn four ON or BEFORE August 31st of the school year they are age-eligible for the program even if they are still three years old when you submit the application. 

When should I apply for NC Pre-K?

NC Pre-K registration usually begins in February. The public school systems host mass registration sessions at different schools in the county so be on the lookout for flyers with registration dates or call your local school system for more information. If you are applying to local child care centers or head start, you can contact them directly to find out about their application process.

When will I know if my child has been accepted into NC Pre-K?

Applications are processed and children are screened throughout the spring and summer. Placements are determined in the late summer and parents are usually notified early to mid-August. This timeline can vary depending on the number of applications that have to be processed.

What happens if my child doesn’t get a spot in NC Pre-K?

If your child is NC Pre-K eligible but does not get picked up for a spot in an NC Pre-K classroom, his or her name will go onto a waiting list. Throughout the school year, if spots become available, NC Pre-K sites will pull additional children from that waiting list.

Do NC Pre-K sites provide transportation?

Not all NC Pre-K sites provide transportation. You will need to contact the site directly to find out if they provide transportation.

Who do I call if I have questions about NC Pre-K?

You can contact an NC Pre-K site directly or you can call Down East Partnership for Children at (252) 985-4300.

For more information contact Johneshia Hunter, NCPK Coordinator, at (252) 985-4300, ext. 219 or email