Eligibility and How to Apply to Pre-K

Enrollment Process

  • Providing Houston's youngest learners with the best education requires beginning the learning process as early as possible. That’s why HISD began offering full-day free prekindergarten programs to all eligible children in 2005.

    HISD offers prekindergarten on a tuition basis to students who do not meet the eligibility requirements to attend prekindergarten for free. Learn more about tuition-based prekindergarten here.


  • To ensure all HISD students have accessibility to high-quality programming, Pre-K is not zoned in HISD. To apply, please complete the online Pre-K application located on the School Choice page.

Eligibility Criteria

  • To be eligible for enrollment in a district free prekindergarten program, a child must:
    • Be four or three years of age on or before September 1 of a given school year.  
    • Live within the boundaries of the Houston Independent School District
    AND meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Child is homeless (example: living with a family member)
    • Child unable to speak or understand English as determined by the Home Language Survey (PreLas testing is necessary)
    • Child is economically disadvantaged (See income chart here)
    • Child of an active-duty member of the U.S. military or one who has been killed, injured, or missing in action while on active duty
    • Child is or has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code
    • Child meets any eligibility criteria for Head Start
    • Child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer as defined in Section 3106.002, a firefighter as defined in Section 3106.003, or an emergency medical first responder as defined in Section 3106.004

HISD Policy on Students of District Employees

  • District employees with 4-year-old children who live outside the district may bring their child to HISD provided their child meets one of the Pre-K eligibility requirements. The employee must complete the Pre-K Application at their school of preference then, receive approval from the receiving principal. Non-qualifying 4-year-old children of district employees may be accommodated if all eligible four-year-old students have been enrolled. An ineligible child of an employee will be required to pay tuition.

HISD policy on three-year-olds

  • HISD policy gives priority for enrollment in the prekindergarten program to eligible students who are at least four years of age on September 1. If additional space is available and there is no waiting list for eligible four-year-old students and non-eligible tuition-paying four-year-old students who reside in HISD, schools have the option of enrolling students who are 3 years of age on September 1 provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

    • After all eligible and ineligible four-year-old students have been enrolled, if there are available seats, schools may then enroll three-year-old students who qualify after April 5, 2023.
    • It is recommended that a waitlist by birthdate be created for three-year-olds so that when enrolling students, they may be close in age and development to their classmates.
    • Should a significant number of three-year-olds be enrolled, creating classes with predominantly three-year-olds is preferred over mixed-age classes.
    • Schools enrolling three-year-olds must receive permission in advance from the School Office and the Early Childhood Department.