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Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program

Because this is an entitlement program, eligible recipients will receive their awards regardless of annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor - Illinois public
2- and 4-year colleges are required to waive any eligible tuition and allowable fees that are not covered by state appropriations.

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Program Description
Eligibility Units
Using the ING Grant with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits
How to Apply (and Obtaining the Application)
Application Deadline Dates
     Application Priority Consideration Date: October 1 (for full-year award)
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates
Participating Schools

If you are a member* of the Illinois National Guard, you may be eligible to receive the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant. This grant can pay for eligible tuition and certain fees (i.e., registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) for undergraduate or graduate study. Benefits are limited to use only at Illinois 2- or 4-year public colleges as follows:

  • If you have completed less than ten years of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment.
  • Once you have completed ten years or more of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of six academic years of full-time enrollment (note that the six-year maximum eligibility is cumulative, and includes benefits received when you had less than ten years of service).

Contact the financial aid office at your college to determine what portion of your total tuition and fees will be covered by this grant.

For more information, contact ISAC, your National Guard unit, or your college financial aid office.


To be a qualified applicant, you must:

  • Be an Illinois National Guard member, defined as meeting one of these two criterion:
    • be active in the Illinois National Guard or
    • have been active in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years and had his/her studies interrupted by being called to federal active duty service for at least six months and be within 12 months after your discharge date from the Illinois National Guard. (These applicants may be eligible to receive an additional year of ING Grant Program eligibility. Eligibility under this provision is determined by the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office in Springfield, Illinois. Questions regarding your individual eligibility status under this provision should be directed to your chain of command, or to the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office at 217.761.3782.)
  • Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard
  • Be an enlisted member or an officer
  • Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2- or 4-year college
  • Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant. If you are in default, you may re-establish your eligibility.
  • Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by your college
  • Submit your complete application on or before the deadline date, based on the first term for which you wish to receive funds each academic year. For 2015-16:
    • October 1, 2015 - Full Year Consideration
    • March 1, 2016 - Only 2nd Semester (2nd/3rd Quarter) and Summer Consideration
    • June 15, 2016 - Only Summer Term Consideration

Eligibility Units

ING Grant benefits for an academic year are determined based on the number of credit hours for which the qualified applicant is enrolled.

Recipients who have completed less than ten years of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 120 eligibility units and recipients who have completed ten years or more of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 180 eligibility units.**

The amount of eligibility a recipient has used is determined by converting credit hours (and noncredit hours for which benefits are used) to eligibility units, as indicated below:

 Number of Hours Semester Term  Quarter Term 
 12 or more hours 12 units   8 units
 9 - 11.99 hours  9 units  6 units
 6 - 8.99 hours  6 units  4 units
 3 - 5.99 hours  3 units  2 units
 0 - 2.99 hours  1 units  1 units

ING Grant eligibility units are based on the enrolled hours for a particular term, not the dollar amount of the benefits paid.

** Full program benefits may be extended for one additional term if the recipient has accumulated fewer than the maximum number of eligibility units but does not have enough units remaining for the number of hours in which he or she is enrolled for that term.

Using the ING Grant with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits

Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program

Illinois National Guard members who have been called to federal active duty service may also be qualified applicants for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program administered by ISAC. More details are provided at Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program page.

Applicants who meet all eligibility requirements for both the ING Grant and IVG programs may have the option of receiving benefits from both programs during the same term(s) and/or academic year. However, prior to doing so, applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the college's financial aid office and consider the following:

  • Use of ING Grant benefits is limited to specific periods of time, as defined in the first bullet of the Eligibility section that appears on this page.
  • ING Grant benefits may be used for tuition, registration fees, graduation fees, general activity fees, matriculation and term fees, and IVG benefits may be used for tuition and mandatory fees (the determination of which specific fees are covered under each program is made by the college).
  • Assessment of eligibility unit usage is based on enrolled hours per term, not the dollar amount paid by the benefits. This means that the number of eligibility units charged will be the same for each program, even though the dollar amount of benefits received from each program may be different (for example, if benefits from the ING Grant and IVG programs are used for full-time enrollment, 12 eligibility units will be charged to each program). It is recommended that applicants carefully consider this when deciding whether to receive benefits under both programs during the same term(s).
  • Once payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of eligibility units that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., the applicant cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate eligibility units).
  • ING Grant benefits can only be used during terms for which the application is submitted prior to the corresponding deadline (for example, if an ING Grant application is submitted after the October 1 fall-term/full-year deadline but before the spring term deadline, then an applicant who is eligible for both programs could choose to use IVG benefits for the fall term, and ING Grant benefits for the spring and summer terms).

Post-9/11 GI Bill

For many eligible veterans, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides more attractive benefits than other veteran education benefit programs, however, veterans should carefully review all their options before making the irrevocable decision to apply for and utilize Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. As you consider different scenarios, pay careful attention to the differences that occur when changing from full-time to half-time and in the amount of the housing allowance you would be eligible to receive based on the location of the school you would be attending.

In addition to reviewing the monetary benefit amounts, students should also consider the following:

  • What type of training or education are you planning to pursue?
  • Is the timeframe to utilize benefits important to you?
  • Are you eligible for the transfer of entitlement benefit through the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program?
  • Do you have remaining entitlement under other VA education programs?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides several benefit comparison tools to help you better understand all your federal benefit options.

Important information regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill - including a summary of changes based on the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 and a February 2011 letter that explains these changes to veterans, as well as a “Road Map for Success” resource - is provided at the Post-9/11 GI Bill section of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Monetary Award Program (MAP)

If a student who is eligible for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) is also eligible for ING Grant and/or IVG benefits, all ING Grant and IVG benefits that are available for the term(s) must be used first. A student cannot decline ING Grant or IVG benefits in favor of using MAP benefits.

After all applicable ING Grant and IVG benefits have been used for the term(s), then a partial MAP award may be applied to any outstanding eligible tuition and fees.

How to Apply

The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant application is available online as an interactive application via the Student Portal. The online application has many benefits, including program information which is available at your fingertips, online edits which prevent errors, elimination of mailing time, and immediate confirmation that your application has been received at ISAC.

The complete application must be received by ISAC on or before the deadline date, and an application must be submitted for each academic year in which benefits are to be used. The online, interactive application collects all the information needed to determine eligibility. Additional documentation (including the Notice of Basic Eligibility [NOBE] which is used to apply for the GI Bill) is not required and, if submitted to ISAC, will not be returned to the applicant.

If you are a qualified applicant, ISAC will send you an eligibility letter, which you should provide to your college's financial aid office as soon as you receive it. (ISAC's processing time is approximately 4-6 weeks.)

Application Deadline Dates

It is the applicant's responsibility to submit the complete application on or before the applicable deadline date. To receive full-year consideration, your application must be received on or before October 1 of the academic year for which you're requesting assistance. For spring- and summer-term consideration, the deadline date is March 1. For summer-term consideration only, applications must be received on or before June 15. Applications received by ISAC after these deadline dates will be processed only for subsequent terms, with June 15 as the final date of acceptance for the summer term. If you miss the application deadline for the term for which you are seeking benefits, contact your unit and/or the Department of Military Affairs Illinois (DMAIL) Education/Incentives branch at 217.761.3782 for information regarding other programs that may assist you with college expenses.

Please note: once an electronic application has been successfully submitted, a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the completed application will display on-screen, and may be printed or saved as an electronic file for your records. If you provide an e-mail address on your application, this PDF document will also be sent to you.

Individuals who are unable to apply electronically may request a paper application from ISAC by contacting an ISAC Call Center Representative. It is the applicant's responsibility to fax the paper application, or allow enough mailing time, in order for the paper application to be received in ISAC's Deerfield office on or before the applicable deadline date.

Correcting Previously-Submitted Data

Only one ING Grant application may be submitted per academic year. Consequently, if you need to change your response(s) to any item(s) after the application has been submitted, you will need to submit a signed letter to ISAC's Deerfield office. The letter must include the last four digits of your Social Security number (for identification purposes) and clearly state what change(s) need to be made to the original information you submitted.


ISAC determines compliance with deadline dates, monitors that the applicant has not exceeded the maximum benefits and verifies enlistment information with the DMAIL Education/Incentives branch.

How Funds Are Disbursed

ISAC works with the college to disburse funds for this program. The college certifies student eligibility and then submits a payment request on behalf of the student. ISAC processes the payment request and submits the information to the State Comptroller’s Office.  Dependent on the funding level of the State of Illinois’ General Revenue Fund (GRF), the amount of time it takes for funds to arrive at the college can vary; at times the delay may be more than six months.

Depending on the college, students may be responsible for payment until program funds are received. Qualified applicants who are awaiting receipt of funds from this program should contact the Financial Aid Office or Business Office to determine the college's policy.

Processing Updates

Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.

For the 2015-16 Academic Year

(last updated June 22, 2015):

The interactive Illinois National Guard Grant application is available online via the Student Portal. After carefully reviewing the How to Apply section on this page, use the 2015-16 application to apply for the fall 2015, spring 2016 and summer 2016 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2015. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only for second semester (second/third quarter) and/or the summer term.

ING Grant applicants from the Illinois Air National Guard must indicate their base on the interactive application.

After July 1, 2015, allow at least four weeks for the processing of the application. ISAC sends notifications as described in the following bullets, and will continue to do so as applications are received throughout the academic year.

  • Qualified applicants receive a Notice of Eligibility.
  • In some cases, qualified applicants who submit a timely application are restricted to partial-year awards. For example, benefits might cease mid-year (based on the applicant's discharge date from the Illinois National Guard), or benefits might begin mid-year (based on the applicant's one-year anniversary date in the Illinois National Guard). These applicants receive a Notice of Restricted Eligibility. Questions regarding restricted eligibility status should be brought to the attention of the applicant's Illinois National Guard unit. Updates to an applicant's status must be submitted to ISAC by the Department of Military Affairs in Illinois (DMAIL).
  • Individuals who do not meet the criteria to be a qualified applicant receive a Notice of Ineligibility.

Click here to access the interactive Illinois National Guard Grant application.

For the 2014-15 Academic Year

(last updated June 16, 2015):

ISAC is no longer accepting the Illinois National Guard Grant application for the 2014-15 academic year.

We anticipate sending all Notices of Eligibility to qualified applicants by the end of June.

Individuals whose applications were received by the June 15 summer term deadline, but do not meet the criteria to be a qualified applicant, will receive a Notice of Ineligibility.

To view a listing of Illinois colleges approved to participate in this program, click on the link for the appropriate academic year: