Mississippi has one of the newest public pre-K programs in the country; the state served just 1 percent of 3-year-olds and 4 percent of 4-year-olds in 2016. Nationwide, states serve an average of 5 percent of 3-year-olds and 32 percent of 4-year-olds. Mississippi’s state spending per child was far lower than the national average of $4,976 in 2016, at $1,787 per child, a $6 increase in state spending from 2015. Private individual donors or corporations donated about $1.6 million in additional funds to the state’s pre-K programs last year.
Although the state ranks low on spending and access, Mississippi meets all ten of NIEER’s current quality benchmarks. The state has comprehensive early learning and development standards, requires a BA for public preschool teachers, and the class size for 3- and 4-year-olds is limited to 20 students or less.