Access Rankings


Resource Rankings

State spending
All reported spending

Total Benchmarks Met

Of 10 benchmarks possible


During the 2022-2023 school year, Ohio preschool enrolled 18,000 children, an increase of 1,268 from the prior year. State spending totaled $72,000,000, up $585,889 (1%), adjusted for inflation, since last year. State spending per child equaled $4,000 in 2022-2023, down $268 from 2021-2022, adjusted for inflation. Ohio met 5 of 10 quality standards benchmarks.

What's New

In August 2023, the State lifted the requirement to obtain pre-approval for 3-year-old children to enroll in the Ohio Early Childhood Education (ECE), making it the same as 4-year-old children. The State also increased the budget for the ECE program, effectively doubling the number of children who will be served in the 2023-2024 School Year. The Ohio ECE program is also running a pilot study in the 2023-2024 school year. The study examines the access and participation of children exiting early intervention without preschool special education eligibility to a publicly funded preschool slot.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) received a three-year, $16 million per year ($48 million total) Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant in December of 2022 to support and increase access to quality early childhood care and education. ODJFS is partnering with the Ohio Departments of Education; Health; Mental Health and Addiction Services; Medicaid; and Developmental Disabilities to administer the grant programs.


The Ohio Public Preschool Program (PSP), established in 1990 following a four-year pilot program, strives to ensure children have access to quality programs through public preschool and publicly funded childcare. All types of programs have access to both public preschool and childcare funds. This report focuses on the Ohio Department of Education’s publicly funded Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, excluding publicly funded childcare and Head Start programs.

Ohio is operating its publicly funded programs under common program and child standards. All Ohio ECE programs are required to be rated at 3 or more stars on the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). 

Program sites are monitored annually for quality via desk audits, internal monitoring materials, proposal of plans, and documentation, along with annual licensing visits, classroom observations, and child assessments. Ohio began using an expanded tiered QRIS in 2013-2014 for all state programs, including public preschool and childcare programs. Programs are required to submit annual documentation of meeting or exceeding standards, including annual classroom observations of quality and regular on-site visits.

Ohio Early Childhood Education


Total state pre-K enrollment18,000
School districts that offer state program35%; 125 additional community providers
Income requirement200% FPL
Minimum hours of operation2.5 hours/day
Operating scheduleSchool or academic year
Special education enrollment, ages 3 and 420,670
Federally funded Head Start enrollment, ages 3 and 424,649
State-funded Head Start enrollment, ages 3 and 40


Total state pre-K spending$72,000,000
Local match required?No
State Head Start spending$0
State spending per child enrolled$4,000
All reported spending per child enrolled*$4,000

*Pre-K programs may receive additional funds from federal or local sources that are not included in this figure. †Head Start per-child spending includes funding only for 3- and 4-year-olds. ‡K–12 expenditures include capital spending as well as current operating expenditures.

Ohio Quality Standards Checklist

Policy RequirementBenchmarkMeets Benchmark?

For more information about the benchmarks, see the Executive Summary and the Roadmap to State pages.

5benchmarks met
Early Learning & Development Standards BenchmarkComprehensive, aligned, supported, culturally sensitiveComprehensive, aligned, supported, culturally sensitive
Curriculum Supports BenchmarkApproval process & supportsApproval process & supports
Teacher Degree BenchmarkAABA
Teacher Specialized Training BenchmarkECE, CD, ECE SpEd (public); ECE, CD (nonpublic)Specializing in pre-K
Assistant Teacher Degree BenchmarkHSDCDA or equivalent
Staff Professional Development Benchmark20 hours/2 years; PD plansFor teachers & assistants: At least 15 hours/year; individual PD plans; coaching
Maximum Class Size Benchmark24 (3-year-olds); 28 (4-year-olds)20 or lower
Staff to Child Ratio Benchmark1:12 (3-year-olds); 1:14 (4-year-olds)1:10 or better
Screening & Referral BenchmarkVision, hearing, health & moreVision, hearing & health screenings; & referral
Continuous Quality Improvement System BenchmarkStructured classroom observations; Data used for program improvementStructured classroom observations; data used for program improvement