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Eligible SC four-year-olds can now be registered for CERDEP for the 2024-2025 school year

Child in classroom
Mon, 04/08/2024

Potentially 21,000 eligible children in SC are not participating in the Child Early Reading and Development Education Program (CERDEP) funded through the state of South Carolina, based on a recent study published by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC).

CERDEP is the umbrella term for state-funded, full day 4K in South Carolina. It includes First Steps 4K – held in private, non-public school centers, and CERDEP 4K – held in public schools.

“The EOC’s role is to evaluate the impact of full-day 4K, given the significant investment the state is making,” said EOC Executive Director Dana Yow..
“Our evaluation continues to affirm the positive effects that full-day 4K are having for children, particularly those in poverty. It provides a solid foundation for kindergarten and future schooling.”

CERDEP is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year for eligible students who must meet the following criteria: be four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2024, a South Carolina resident, eligible for Medicaid, free/reduced lunch or a SNAP/TANF recipient; homeless or transient, or in foster care. Children who show delays in developmental readiness are also eligible.

“State-funded 4K is beneficial for kindergarten readiness for pupils in poverty, which is the target population of students identified as at-risk pursuant to Section 59-156-110 of the SC Code of Laws” the EOC’s annual CERDEP evaluation and report states.

Pupils in poverty who participate in CERDEP are more likely to demonstrate readiness on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) than those pupils in poverty who did not participate, according to the report.

South Carolina's investment in state-funded, full-day 4K continues to grow. $106,698,962 was spent on 4K for the 2022-23 Fiscal Year, which was the largest investment to date.

“The EOC commends the General Assembly in prioritizing 4K education through increasing funding to help prepare our state’s children for kindergarten.” EOC chairperson April Allen said.

To expand state-funded, full-day 4K – the EOC recently recommended that $14.1 million of funding be used to accommodate more students as well as providing the program training in the science of reading for early childhood teachers and assistants.

Families interested in finding out more information about CERDEP eligibility can visit

Click here to read the EOC’s State-Funded Full-Day 4K annual report.

The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) is charged by the General Assembly to encourage continuous improvement in SC public schools, approving academic content standards and assessments, overseeing the implementation of the state’s educational accountability system, and documenting improvements in education.