The grants are available for 122 communities, and the Office of Head Start is encouraging potential grantees to embrace a "birth-to-5" model of providing services.
Preschool supporters want to use the state's large Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early education, but the effort has failed four times in the past.
The findings come from a poll conducted on behalf of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and the First Five Years Fund, two advocacy organization supporting increased spending on early learning.
The organization created a video featuring (and partially filmed) by children, talking about what they like about preschool.
A patchwork of laws and policies govern kindergarten policy nationwide, illustrating a disconnect from the current focus on preschool expansion.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is fighting against the common core in his state, pitting him against the state schools chief and board of education.
The federal grant competition is divided into two strands: one for states just getting started with preschool, and another for states that already have well-established programs.
Infants, other children, and teenagers are generally not receiving all the preventive care that is recommended for them, according to the federal health agency.
The research, conducted by the College Board, showed that students with earliest birthdays in their kindergarten cohort were more likely to take and pass Advanced Placement tests and graduate from college in 4 years.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan talked about the $250 million grant competition during his annual back-to-school bus tour, which took him through Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.