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Hawai‘i Has Highest Monthly Child Care Co-Payment Fees

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A new report of the States with the Best & Worst Early Education Systems for 2019 was released today by WalletHub, a personal finance website.

The study comes as a follow-up on research that WalletHub says shows that “pre-K education results in better test scores, less crime and economic benefits.”

In order to determine the best early education systems in America, the site compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics including state pre-K programs, waiting list times, school safety plans and monthly costs.  The data set ranges from share of school districts that offer a state pre-K program to number of pre-K quality benchmarks met and total reported spending per child enrolled in pre-K.

Hawaiʻi did not make the top or bottom ten lists, but did post some notable findings among the data sets.

The report found that Hawaiʻi has the highest income requirement for state pre-K eligibility, $56,790, which is 6.9 times higher than in Minnesota, which has one of the lowest at $8,230.


The report also found that the District of Columbia, Iowa and New York, have some of the lowest monthly child care co-payment fees (as share of family income), 1 percent, which is 17 times lower than in Hawaiʻi, the state with the highest at 17 percent.


Hawaiʻi was ranked 33 on the list with a total score of 41.74. This included an Access rank of 21, a Quality rank of 43 and a rank of 37 for Resources and Economic Support compared to the other states and the District of Columbia.

Hawaiʻi was also ranked 49 with the lowest share of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in Pre-K, Pre-K Special Education and Head Start.

States with the Best Early Education Systems


1 Nebraska
2 District of Columbia
3 Maryland
4 Vermont
5 Arkansas
6 West Virginia
7 Rhode Island
8 Illinois
9 Alaska
10 Kentucky

States with the Worst Early Education Systems

42 New Hampshire
43 New York
44 Minnesota
45 Arizona
46 Kansas
47 Massachusetts
48 North Dakota
49 Missouri
50 Mississippi
51 Indiana

Key findings: Best vs. Worst

  • Fourteen states, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina, have the highest share of school districts that offer state pre-K program, 100 percent, which is 11.5 times higher than in New Jersey, the state with the lowest at 8.67 percent.
  • Oklahoma has the highest share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, pre-K Special Education and Head Start programs, 85.60 percent, which is seven times higher than in Utah, the state with the lowest at 12.30 percent.
  • The District of Columbia has the highest total spending per child enrolled in preschool, $18,580, which is 23.9 times higher than in North Dakota, which has one of the lowest at $777.

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