Maine is one of 18 states that will receive a federal grant to expand access to preschool programs.

The award, which totals more than $226 million, was announced Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Maine will receive $3.5 million.

“Expanding access to high quality preschool is critically important to ensure the success of our children in school and beyond,” Duncan said.

Under the program, states with no or small state-funded preschool programs were eligible for development grants, while states like Maine with more robust preschool programs were eligible for expansion grants.

The grants were part of more than $1 billion in new federal and private sector investments in early childhood education announced by President Obama during Tuesday’s White House Summit on Early Education.

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