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Full Enrollment

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is committed to preparing America’s most vulnerable children to succeed by providing grantees with resources needed to deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being. To achieve this, Head Start programs must provide services to 100 percent of the children they are funded to serve.

Boy coloring with markers on craft paper

Section 642(g) of the Head Start Act requires each Head Start agency to enroll 100 percent of its funded enrollment and maintain an active waiting list at all times with ongoing outreach to the community and activities to identify underserved populations.

This Program Instruction (PI) reiterates the importance of full enrollment. It also outlines the authority of OHS to designate an agency as Chronically Under enrolled and recapture, withhold, or reduce the base grant for programs that are not fully enrolled.

Enrollment Requirements

All Head Start grantees are required to report monthly enrollment in the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES) by program within each grant (641A(h)(2)). Reporting for the previous month is due on the seventh of each month. Grantees can make edits to reported monthly enrollment until a new reporting period opens.

A grantee must maintain its funded enrollment level and fill any vacancy as soon as possible. Grantees may report any slots that were vacant for less than 30 days as enrolled for the month. After 30 days, the slot can no longer be counted as an enrolled slot (45 CFR § 1302.15(a)).

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