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Waiting Pool Guidelines and Procedures

Waiting Pool

Center enrollment is based on availability. Children may be selected from the waiting pool when an opening cannot be filled by any children currently enrolled at the center.


Waiting pool priority is given in this order:

  • Families of UC San Diego students, faculty and staff with children concurrently enrolled at ECEC
  • Children of CCAMPIS-eligible students
  • Children of full-time UC San Diego students, faculty and staff
  • Community members (alumni, visiting scholars, Salk Institute employees, etc.)

Contacting Families

If a space becomes available, we will contact families by email and phone to notify them of an enrollment offer. Families have three business days to respond to this offer. If we do not receive a response by 5 p.m. on the third business day, we will consider the offer declined and remove the application from the waiting pool. Parents are responsible for updating ECEC about any changes in an applicant’s information, such as desired enrollment date, changes in affiliation status and contact information (e.g., phone number and email).

If your family chooses not to accept an opening, your application date will reset to the date you decline, or you may request that we remove your name. We extend offers for an opening approximately one month in advance. You can accept that start date or decline the enrollment offer.

How to Apply

If you would like to apply to Early Care and Education, please complete an application for each child that you wish to enroll. A non-refundable application fee is required be added to the waiting pool. The application fee for university staff, faculty, visiting scholars, post docs, and community families is $70 per child. For UC San Diego students, the application fee is $35 per child.

Tours and Visits

When an opening occurs and we make an offer, we can arrange a tour for you, if desired. We will show you the prospective classroom so you can meet the teachers and learn more about the program before enrolling.

Remember, we will email you when an opening becomes available for your family. Until then, please make alternate arrangements.

If your child is in the waiting pool, please do not drop by the center unannounced, as it may disrupt the daily center activities. Please understand that we are unable to predict when an opening will become available as stated below. We will respond to email inquiries within three business days. If you have questions or enrollment inquiries, call (858) 246-0900. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I have to wait for an opening for my child?

As many families of university affiliates and community members need childcare, the waiting pool can get quite large. Over 400 children are in the waiting pool. Early Care and Education has a licensed capacity of 259 children. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when an opening will become available. Most openings occur during the summer and fall months and in the preschool program (ages 3–5).

Although it may be frustrating, enrollment wait times are unpredictable due to many factors, including:

  • Current openings and center capacity
  • Professional affiliation and date of application
  • Developmental level of the children enrolled and in the waiting pool
  • Current age of your child (the highest demand is for infant and young infant care)
  • Ages and genders of other children in the class your child would enter (We make an effort to keep our classes as balanced as possible.)
  • Status of families ahead of you in the waiting pool who may have already found alternative childcare and have not withdrawn their names from the pool

If my child ages out of the previous age group since I applied, do I need to submit a new application to be considered for the next age group?

No. Your application automatically advances to the next age group’s waiting pool according to your original application date.

How did someone who completed an application after I did get an offer before me?

This may occur for many different reasons, but the most common are:

  • Your preferred starting date is after theirs
  • The opening is in a different age group

What should I do if I need to change any information on my child’s application (e.g., phone number, address, start date, days needed, etc.)?

Please email Jackie Gelle with your child’s name, birth date, work affiliation and any changes that you would like to make on your application. We reach out to families twice a year to confirm their intent to remain in the waiting pool. If we do not receive a response by the listed deadline, your child may be removed from the pool. Therefore, it is essential to keep your contact information with us up-to-date.

How can I keep my application active in the waiting pool?

The Enrollment Coordinator will contact applicants semi-annually (fall and spring) to confirm interest in remaining active in the waiting pool. Administration will send applicants an email requiring that unless they notify ECEC in writing within 14 business days of their intent to remain in the waiting pool, their application will be deleted. All positive responses will be kept with the original applications to indicate active applications.

Can you recommend any other center or childcare provider while I am waiting for an opening?

Please refer to our Other Childcare Options page.

I heard from another parent…

Helpful friends, coworkers and acquaintances sometimes inadvertently provide misinformation. To get accurate answers to your questions about Early Care and Education, email Jackie Gelle. We will respond to email inquiries within three business days.