Now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year
(En Español) (на русском)
2023-2024 child applications will be available in late January.
Buncombe Pre-K is an online portal to apply to BOTH publicly funded pre-k programs in Buncombe County with one application:
- Free NC Pre-Kindergarten for families living in Asheville or Buncombe County who meet income guidelines and have a child who will be 4 years old by August 31
- Free Head Start for families living in Asheville or Buncombe County who meet income guidelines and have a child who will be 4 years old by August 31
(for 3-year-olds please apply to Head Start here).
Find answers to frequently asked questions. Call (828) 419-1030 for help to apply or with any questions you have.
For NC Pre-K, consideration is given to families with children who have an identified disability, speak limited or no English, have a chronic health condition, and/or have a developmental or educational need. Families who don’t meet the income guidelines can access NC Pre-K programs if their child is in one or more of these situations. Head Start is also able to serve a limited number of families who exceed income guidelines, based on family size, family situation, health concerns and disabilities.
Maximum household incomes to be eligible for these programs:
- Family of 2: $50,587
- Family of 3: $62,490
- Family of 4: $74,393
- Family of 5: $86,295
- Family of 2: $18,310
- Family of 3: $23,030
- Family of 4: $27,750
- Family of 5: $32,470
Frequently Asked Questions
How old does my child need to be for me to use the Buncombe PreK application site?
Children must be 4 years of age by August 31 of the current school year to apply. If your child will be 3 years of age by August 31, you can apply for Head Start with our partner, Community Action Opportunities.
Can I apply if my child does not have an updated physical and/or immunization record?
Yes, you will have 30 days from the first day of enrollment to submit your child’s physical and/or immunization records.
What documents do I need to submit to complete my online pre-application?
You will need to submit your child’s proof of age (birth certificate or medical records), and proof of family income (1040 tax forms, W2, or a full month’s pay stubs). Additional documentation (as applicable) includes any other proof of income, such as child support, alimony, retirement, Social Security (SSI/SSA/SSDI), or WorkFirst/TANF, your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), and court guardianship orders/custody agreements.
How much does it cost to enroll my child?
NC Pre-K and Head Start are free for eligible families. They are state and/or federally funded high quality early education programs that aim to enhance children’s school readiness. Each program has specific income and other eligibility requirements.
What are the Income Guidelines?
Follow the link to our Programs & Eligibility page for each program’s eligibility requirements. You can use the Buncombe Pre-K pre-application even if you aren’t sure which program(s) you are eligible for.
Are other factors besides income and age considered for enrollment?
Yes, even for families who are not income eligible, additional consideration is given to children who have an identified disability, speak limited or no English, have a chronic health condition, and/or have a developmental or educational need.
What are the hours offered?
Each site may have different hours of operation, but the programs are offered for 6 ½ hours a day for 10 months (similar to elementary school hours). Programs are located at public schools, private child care programs, and Head Start centers. Limited options for before- and after-school care are available (cost varies by provider). In the pre-application, where you indicate your first, second, and third site choices, there is a link to a document that lists the hours of each site, along with the availability of before- and after-school care and transportation.
Can I apply for child care for a younger child using Buncombe PreK?
No, the Buncombe PreK application is for children who will be 4 years of age by August 31 of the current school year. If you need care for your younger children, follow the link to our Programs and Eligibility page, where Early Head Start and Mountain Child Care Connections are explained.
Is there a cutoff date for applications?
Applications are accepted anytime during the year. Applications submitted before August 1 have the best chance at starting the school year with a placement.
Is transportation available?
Head Start and Asheville City Schools provide limited transportation. In the application, where you select your first, second, and third site choices, there is a link to a document that lists the hours of each site, along with the availability of wrap-around care and transportation.
*Some transportation services may not be available right now due to COVID-19 but may be available in the future.
Who do I contact for further questions?
PreK Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator
*In-person office hours will be available soon (as COVID-19 allows)