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Preschool Program Opening Doors For Denver Families

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver's booming economy is providing more help to families as their children start their educational journey. The Denver Preschool Program is increasing tuition support by more than 10% per child.

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"We're very luck in Denver. We have tax payers who care enough to support us and say this matters," said Elsa Holguín, president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program. "A better economic outlook means better funding for us and better funding for our children."

The program amasses more than $20 million each year. Any family with a 4-year-old child in preschool is eligible to apply and get some portion of tuition assistance. Some families are able to receive up to $1,000.

"We know that preschool matters. Preschool works. We know (students) are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to go to college and more likely be ready to enter kindergarten ready to learn," Holguín said.

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The Ridley family was wondering what they were going to do with 4-year-old Mason Jr., when a neighbor told them about the program.

"Relief. Full price at most of the schools that we researched would not have made our budget otherwise," said Mason Ridley Sr.

"It was really important for us to get him into preschool just for the social aspect of it mainly," said Whitney Ridley. "He was kind of shy and reserved and not a super social kid at all. He's broken out of his shell. He's much more socially active now. He's definitely learned a lot and grown from that since going to preschool. I wanted him to get all of that out of his system so that when we go to kindergarten we can go full speed ahead."

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About 60% of Denver families are taking advantage of the program. Last year 4,400 students got tuition assistance in Denver.

"The parents are able to go back to work, and they're able to afford housing, they're able to afford what they need for their families. The most important thing for us is that kids are going to a quality program," Holguín said.

DPP has opened enrollment where assistance will begin this summer. People can also find out more information by calling (303) 595-4377.

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