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Saturday, February 3, 2024
DHS Expands Preschool Open Doors Program to Age 3
By News Release @ 2:11 AM :: 1174 Views :: Education K-12, Family

DHS Expands Preschool Open Doors Program to Include Eligible 3-year-olds and Increases Income Eligibility Limits 

Application period runs from January 16 – March 28, 2024

News Release from DHS, Jan 16, 2024

Honolulu, HI – The Department of Human Services (DHS) is expanding the Preschool Open Doors program to eligible 3-year-olds and helping families better afford preschool for the 2024-2025 school year with increased gross income eligibility limits. Families that may have been over income in previous years may now qualify if they have eligible 3- or 4-year-old children and need help with preschool tuition.

The Preschool Open Doors program application period will run from January 16, 2024, through March 28, 2024. DHS encourages families to apply before the deadline. To make applying more accessible, the Department is excited to share that families may apply online for Preschool Open Doors, Child Care Subsidy, or for Both Preschool Open Doors and Child Care Subsidy programs. Families can learn more about each program and apply online at: Families must upload their supporting documents when applying online, which will save on postage and copy fees.

To qualify for the Preschool Open Doors program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2025-2026 or 2026-2027 DOE school year (born between August 1, 2019, and July 31, 2021). If awarded a subsidy, families may use any one of the 394 state-licensed preschools or group child care homes. DHS gives priority to underserved families.

Preschool Open Doors (POD), which currently serves more than 740 children statewide, provides subsidies to eligible families to help pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide low- and moderate-income families with the opportunity to send their children to preschool for up to two years prior to entering kindergarten. Preschool and other early learning opportunities help children gain essential skills, be prepared for school and chart a course for lifelong success.

Interested families may apply online here  or should request an application as soon as possible from PATCH, by visiting or calling 808-791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620. PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by March 28, 2024, to be considered during the July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025, program period. Interested families may visit the online portal to learn more about Preschool Open Doors and apply here. Families may also submit a paper application and drop off, mail, fax, or email PATCH at the following:

560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI 96817
Fax: 808-694-3066

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed online within HAR §17-799, which is available online – click here.  For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit

POD Flyer

POD Social Media Graphics and Caption

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Big Q: What do you think of Hawaii’s expansion of preschool programs and subsidies?


SA: Preschool Open Doors (POD) program expand to Hawaii families

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke expands access to preschools for keiki as young as 3 years old -- Currently, the POD subsidy program serves more than 740 students statewide

SA: Preschool subsidies expand to Hawaii families over income limit

KITV: Hawaii faces a preschool teacher shortage midst the state expanding access to them 


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