National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Higher Education Accreditation Grant

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Release Date:  Feb. 16, 2023


New Mexico state agencies have a longstanding history of partnership with the Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), including Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), across the state that offer certifications, degrees, and/or alternative licensure in early childhood. To support students in their educational and career goals, the New Mexico Early Education and Care Department (ECECD) has developed a career lattice designed to articulate each level of higher education, possible careers associated with that level, and how each certificate or degree serves as a building block for the next level. As students achieve higher levels of education, the lattice provides greater career opportunities with increased compensation.  

To support this goal, ECECD is offering Preschool Development Birth to Five Renewal Grant funds to support 10 IHEs and TCUs in New Mexico to achieve NAEYC higher education accreditation, which provides a mechanism for degree programs to demonstrate their commitment to high-quality early childhood professional preparation through six standards. Expansion of NAEYC accreditation to 10 IHEs will ensure alignment of high-quality coursework, instructional best practices, and support student achievement, recruitment, and retention throughout the state. The total budget for this grant is $200,000 for up to 10 institutions. Each institution will receive a minimum of $20,000, with a potential for a higher amount if funds become available.  

Awarded IHEs will be able to work toward accreditation as a cohort with optional opportunities, that may include mentorship, peer-to-peer workgroups, periodic webinars with NAEYC and other experts, and retreats to spend dedicated time on the self-study (as funding is available). 

Awarded IHEs will also be invited to send at least one faculty member to attend the NAEYC Professional Learning Institute in Portland, OR held June 4-7, 2023, as well as an in-person accreditation workshop held on June 3. All registration and travel fees (up to $5,000 per IHE) will be covered by ECECD. 


ECECD is currently accepting Letters of Interest (LOI) through February 28, 2023, at 5 p.m. MT. The NAEYC Higher Education Accreditation Grant Application will open to those who are invited to apply on March 7, 2023, and subject to the availability of funds, will close no later than March 31, 2023.

Additional Details
February 22, 2023 from 9-10 a.m. Office Hours 

Office Hours for the LOI to answer questions was held on Wednesday, February 22, at 9-10 a.m. 

View a recording of the Office Hours here


February 28, 2023 by 5 p.m.  Last day LOIs are accepted  
March 7, 2023
Invitations Sent Application invitations sent to those who shared an LOI, along with information to attend a webinar with NAEYC to ask questions about the process
March 31, 2023  at 5 p.m. 
Applications due

April 15, 2023 

Notice of awards  

The grant period will begin no earlier than April 30, 2023, and end on August 1, 2025, when accreditation must be achieved or pending approval from NAEYC.  


To qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:  

1. The institution offering the degree program must be currently accredited by a regional institutional or national accrediting agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the US Department of Education (must be met at the time of application)  

2. Each degree program must not be designated as “low-performing” through Title II of the Higher Education Act (applies only to licensure programs reported on through Title II. Must be met at the time of application). 

3. Each degree program is a specialized degree in early childhood or child development with at least 18 credit hours of early childhood coursework. This may include courses from other departments, such as Child Psychology, Sociology of the Family, or Children’s Literature, if these courses are aligned with the NAEYC accreditation standards and faculty are willing to participate in site visit interviews (must be met at the time of application). 

4. Each degree program includes field experiences (must be met by the time of Self-Study Report submission). 

5. Each degree program has graduated at least one degree candidate (must be met by the time of Self-Study Report submission). 

6. The faculty for each degree program includes at least one full time faculty member whose primary responsibilities are in the early childhood programs submitted for review. For associate degree programs, this faculty member must hold a graduate degree in early childhood education, child development, child and family studies, or a related discipline with at least 18 graduate credits in early childhood/family studies. For baccalaureate and graduate degree programs, this faculty member must hold a terminal degree in early childhood education, child development, child and family studies, or a related discipline with at least 18 graduate (or higher) credits in early childhood/family studies. For all degree programs, this faculty member must act as either the primary or secondary contact. One person may serve this role in multiple degree programs. 

7. Demonstrate a commitment to completing the NAEYC application, self-study, and site-visit portion of the process by August 1, 2025. 

            Letter of Intent (LOI) Process and Submission

            Click each box below to display detailed information. 

            Letter of Intent (LOI) Process

            Letter of Intent (LOI) Process:  

            Interested applicants must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) that meets the criteria set forth below.  

            1.  LOIs that demonstrate the ability to meet the qualifications and complete accreditation will be sent a pre-qualification award letter and invitation to apply by March 7 at 5 p.m. MST. 
            2. The LOI must be submitted to  by February 28, 2023.  

            ECECD will prioritize LOIs from institutions that demonstrate their program to be accredited is one or more of the following:  

            • Located in rural areas or serving students living in rural areas of New Mexico 
            • Enrollment includes students from the twenty-three pueblo, tribes, and nations in New Mexico tribal and pueblo communities and Latino/Hispanic students 
            • Serving students who speak languages other than English 
            • Serving students who are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline 
            LOI Criteria

            LOI criteria: 

            (1) Submitted on Applicant’s letterhead with the following Information:  

            1. Contact Name and Address, 
            2. Name of institution, 
            3. Unique Entity ID (UEI), if available
            4. Email address, and 
            5. Phone number. 

            (2) Proposal Details, including:  

            Description of: 

            1. the degree program(s) to be accredited,  
              • number and characteristics of students currently (geography, race/ethnicity, primary language spoken, whether they are currently working in the early care and education field, etc.) 
              • how the program(s) you plan to accredit meets one or more of the following prioritization categories (including counts or percentages): 
              • Located in rural areas or serving students living in rural areas of New Mexico 
                • Enrollment includes students from the twenty-three pueblo, tribes, and nations in New Mexico tribal and pueblo communities and Hispanic students 
                • Serving students who are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline   
            2. Description of whether you believe you currently meet the seven grant eligibility requirements and, if not, when you will meet these and how you would like to accomplish this. 
            Application Information to be Requested (subject to change)

            If invited to apply, the application will include: 1. Statement describing your interest in pursuing NAEYC accreditation and how it meets your goals. 

            2. Itemized costs that you would like ECECD to cover, including but not limited to costs associated with NAEYC accreditation, personnel, and any release time needed (total up to $20,000)

            3. Any additional costs you would like ECECD to cover within the grant period if funding is available 

            4. Description of project approach, including activities, staffing plan, and timeline leading to accreditation (site visit needs to be obtained by August 1, 2025), 

            5. Description of the data collection tools you use for analyzing your key assessments (describe tool and how you use it), 

            6. Whether you are able to commit to paying annual fees to NAEYC following accreditation, 

            7. Identification or description of the faculty or staff you would like to send to the NAEYC PLI Conference in June 2023, including name, title, department, and their role in the accreditation process, 

            8. Any barriers you foresee, 

            9. Whether you would be interested in attending one or more 3-day retreats with your team with focused time and facilitators to work on your NAEYC accreditation activities (if funding is available), 

            10. Anything else you would like to share with ECECD, including questions or requests for assistance. 

            All awarded providers will be subject to quarterly reporting requirements demonstrating progress toward NAEYC accreditation.