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Waiting List, Tuition & Fees, and Enrollment FAQs

Getting on the Waiting List: Complete the 2-step Waiting List Application Process

The ELC’s waiting list process is not time-intensive but does involve two steps. Both steps must be completed in order to officially be placed on our waiting list.

  • Step 1: Complete your payment for the waiting list here in our online store.
    • A confirmation email of your payment should arrive in your provided email inbox promptly.
    • If you don’t see the message in your inbox, be sure to check your junk or spam folder- sometimes messages from our store end up there!
  • Step 2: Follow the link in the email receipt you will receive after completing your payment to complete the full application.
    • You will need to reference your order number from your receipt email on your waiting list application.
    • You will receive a confirmation email from our waiting list management system within hours of applying.

If you encounter any problems at all with the waiting list application process, please reach out to Laura Moore at for assistance- she is happy to help!

Currently enrolled families should reach out to Laura for information about adding siblings to the waiting list!

Financial Information

If we are able to send you an enrollment offer, a program deposit, equal to one month’s tuition amount, is required to secure the spot for the child. This deposit is nonrefundable if the child does not actually enroll. For children who do enroll, the deposit is applied to the last month’s payment.

Tuition Information (current as of October 2023)

Program: Monthly Tuition: Annual Materials Fee: Program Deposit Amount:
Infants $1,035 $250 $1,035
Toddlers $925 $250 $925
Preschool $860 $250 $860


$900 (additional $200 for Aftercare) $250 $900

Tuition payments for children are based on the current fee payment schedule listed above. The scale may change according to the funding needs of the Early Learning Center programs.

Program Hours: The program operates Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tuition Discounts: The only tuition discount we offer to families is a 10% discount for the oldest child’s tuition if siblings are enrolled at the same time.

Deposits: All families must make a deposit payment of one month’s tuition by the deadline given in the offer of enrollment. Families who fail to follow through on enrollment as expected for any reason forfeit all deposit monies. Families who follow through on enrollment and have maintained all tuition and fee payments will be eligible for a full transfer of deposit monies to their final account balance upon exiting the program.

When we are able to offer a spot to a sibling of a currently enrolled child, instead of a separate deposit, an intent-to-enroll fee of $500 is due along with enrollment paperwork. This fee is applied to the sibling’s first month of tuition. The first deposit will simply be held in our account until the last child exits the program. Please note that children enrolling in our kindergarten program will require a separate deposit if there are siblings enrolled in the program.

Billing and Payment of Tuition: All accounts must be kept current. Parents will be billed each month for the following month’s tuition. If no payment is made by the end of the business day on the tenth (or before, if it falls on a weekend or holiday) of the month, a late fee will be assessed to your account. Checks should be made payable to the University of Tennessee, and your child’s name and purpose of payment should be noted on the memo line. If your account is not completely paid by the last business day of each month, your child may not be allowed to return to the center. Any accounts that are past due will be collected according to the university policy, which may result in the garnishment of wages, holding of student records (if applicable), and/or involvement of a collection agency. If a financial hardship arises, please contact the ELC business office or director to make payment arrangements.

Withdrawal Notice: At least 60 days’ written notice of withdrawal is required. If less than 60 days’ notice is given, you will still be responsible for paying tuition costs for 60 days from the date ELC receives the written exit notice. See full policy here.

Important Information for Our Applicants

ELC Applicant Families:

Our program is relatively small and is in high demand in the Knoxville community. A large number of families apply for our limited number of fall openings and our goal is to make our enrollment process as transparent as possible. Also, we want to clarify the unique enrollment process that serves our mission as a laboratory school.

Our Obligations

  • To provide diverse classroom populations in support of our mission to train pre-service teachers and early childhood professionals
  • To facilitate the research needs of university faculty and students
  • To create rich social learning contexts for young children

To meet these obligations, we carefully consider each applicant in an attempt to provide a range of ages and abilities within each room, secure a close balance of gender, and embrace diversity in many forms.

Our Commitment

We support the enrollment of a sibling (brother or sister of a child or children already enrolled in the ELC) when the sibling’s enrollment can uphold our obligations as mentioned above. We can offer no guarantee that sibling or university-affiliated families will get in as soon as hoped—particularly in our infant and young toddler classrooms—due to the high demand for these programs and our responsibility to assemble diverse learning laboratories for young children, students, and faculty.

We feel confident that many families will be offered placement in the ELC program during or before the preschool years. As we begin to make enrollment decisions, we will do our best to communicate clearly and efficiently with you. Families receiving offers will be given a limited timeframe to accept or decline, and reassessment and new offers will be extended as needed until classroom spots are filled. It is our great desire to offer exemplary early education services to your child and family in the near future.

Enrollment FAQ

When will I find out if my child will have a spot at the ELC? What is the timeline for enrollment decisions?

We send out an e-mail to the families on the waiting list by early December of each year to find out if you are still interested in enrollment at the ELC and to ask for contact information updates. We want to be sure that when we have an opening for your child we have contact information that is current so the communication process goes smoothly and to ensure that you get all of the information we send promptly, giving you the most possible time to decide whether you’d like to accept or decline the spot offer.

Following this step, we update the waiting list and in February, begin working on enrollment for that summer and fall. We typically send out the first enrollment offer communication in February, and this process typically lasts until between March and June. Each time we offer a spot to one family, they have about a week to make the decision to accept or decline, and each time a family declines, we move to another family on the list and send out that offer. The infant and young toddler classrooms fill up with confirmed acceptances earliest, while the process of enrolling the older toddler and preschool classrooms lasts a bit longer.

When do spots open up? Why are spots only open at one time of year?

Due to the value we place on the continuity of relationships and respect for the sensitivity of transitions for young children, we do not move children up to the next classroom throughout the year following a birthday or accomplishment of a developmental milestone, as many other programs do. Instead, we protect the consistency of the community and relationships, which we believe impacts children’s development in such positive ways, by enrolling children in a classroom for at least one year. This practice affects enrollment by limiting most of our openings to occurring between June and August. We do, however, sometimes have mid-year openings; inevitably, a few spots open up throughout the year in various classrooms as families move out of town, etc. When we receive an exit notice, we go to the waiting list and offer the spot to a family on the list, moving through families on the list until one accepts the spot.

How soon can I expect to get a spot after submitting an application?

As a relatively small program in high demand, it means that only a small percentage of the families on the list are able to enroll for the infant and young toddler year. Beginning with older toddlers and continuing into the preschool years, the number of available spots increases, and the waiting list volume decreases. These factors translate into an increased likelihood that we will be able to enroll your child in the coming years. Many of the families on the waiting list are offered a spot at some point; the waiting time following application submission varies.

Have Questions? Contact Us