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Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) 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
IVG FAQs
Eligibility
Eligibility Units
Using IVG with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits
How to Apply (and Obtaining the Application)
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates
Participating Schools

If you have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States; or served on federal active duty service in a foreign country during a time of hostilities in that country and were honorably discharged after each period of federal active duty service; and/or are honorably serving** you may be eligible for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program. Any member of the Illinois National Guard or a Reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States who meets the eligibility requirements is considered a qualified applicant for the IVG Program. Qualified applicants are encouraged to submit an IVG Program application if they anticipate attending college at any point in the future. While program eligibility can be confirmed for qualified applicants at any time, funds will be disbursed only for terms in which you are enrolled at an Illinois public college or community college.

This program pays eligible tuition and mandatory fees. Mandatory fees are those assessed by a college to every full-time student for each term. Examples include fees for activities, facility operations, grants, health, registration, technology, transportation and others. The college can identify fees that are considered mandatory. Benefits are limited to use only at Illinois public colleges or community colleges. Qualified applicants may use this grant at the undergraduate or graduate level for the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment, which is measured in eligibility units. IVG Program eligibility units are based on the enrolled hours for a particular term, not the dollar amount of the benefits paid. Charges for noncredit courses that meet the definition of tuition and mandatory fees may be covered by IVG benefits. Eligibility units used for a noncredit course are the same as those assessed for a credit course having the same number of faculty contact hours. Contact the financial aid office at your college to determine the amount of the eligible tuition and mandatory fees that will be covered by this grant.

If you qualify for IVG and the Montgomery or Post-9/11 G.I. Bills, you may be able to receive benefits from both programs during the same academic year for eligible educational expenses.

To obtain information and an online application for G. I. Education benefits, call the Department of Veterans Affairs at 888.GI BILL1 or visit their Web site at gibill.va.gov/.

Eligibility

To be a qualified applicant, you must:

  • Meet one of these two criteria:
    • have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States, which may include the Illinois National Guard and the Reserve component of the Armed Forces, or
    • regardless of length of service, have served in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country; have been medically discharged for service related reasons; or have been discharged prior to August 11, 1967.
  • Have received an honorable discharge (general discharge under honorable conditions is not eligible) for each period of federal active duty service, and/or be honorably serving.** Contact information is available for Illinois military personnel who need to request a copy of the DD214 (equivalent to the DD214 Member 4).
  • Not be a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
  • Meet one of these two criteria:
  • Meet one of these two criteria:
    • have established, or plan to establish, Illinois residency within six months after leaving federal active duty service, or
    • if married to a person in continued military service:
      • have applied for this grant within six months after and including the date that the spouse was stationed within Illinois, or
      • if the spouse was stationed outside Illinois, have established or plan to establish Illinois residency within six months after and including the date the spouse was separated.
  • Reside in Illinois unless you are serving federal active duty service at the time of enrollment in college or residing with a spouse in continued military service who is currently stationed outside of Illinois.
  • 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.

In order to receive benefits, qualified applicants must be enrolled at an Illinois public 2- or 4-year college and maintain the minimum grade point average (GPA) required by that college.

** If you receive benefits from the IVG Program while serving federal active duty service, upon discharge you will be required to verify that your service has been characterized as honorable.

Eligibility Units

Qualified veterans may receive IVG benefits for the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment, which is measured in eligibility units. Recipients may accumulate up to 120 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


IVG 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 120 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 IVG with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits

Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program

If you are currently serving in the Illinois National Guard you may also be eligible for the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program.

Applicants who meet all eligibility requirements for both the IVG and ING Grant 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 the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program page.
  • IVG benefits may be used for tuition and mandatory fees, and ING Grant benefits may be used for tuition, registration fees, graduation fees and general activity 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 IVG and ING Grant 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 IVG and/or ING Grant benefits, all IVG and ING Grant benefits that are available for the term(s) must be used first. A student cannot decline IVG or ING Grant benefits in favor of using MAP benefits.

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

How to Apply

The current version of the application used to apply for the IVG Program has 5/12 in the footer that appears at the bottom of each page. You can obtain an IVG Program application from this website, your college's financial aid office, or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs field offices. Fax or mail your complete application and required documentation as specified on the application to ISAC's Deerfield office. In order to ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner, be sure to carefully read the instructions (including the second page of the application), submit all required documentation, and contact an ISAC Call Center Representative if you are uncertain about what documentation is needed.

For an equivalent copy of a DD214 Member 4, contact the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, P.O. Box 19432, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9432 or phone 217.782.4652, or the National Personnel Records Center.

Applications for the IVG Program can be submitted any time during the academic year for which assistance is being requested, and need to be submitted only once to establish eligibility. Fully completed applications (including all required documentation) must be received at ISAC allowing sufficient time to complete processing prior to the last scheduled day of classes in the term for which a grant is requested. If you must obtain required documentation, please check the turnaround time with that source - for example, the Web site for the National Personnel Records Center indicates 10 working days as their turnaround time. ISAC's processing time is approximately four weeks.

ISAC will send qualified applicants a Notice of Eligibility. It is important to keep a copy of the notice in order to present a copy to the college as needed. You must notify your college's financial aid office of your eligibility status as soon as possible, but not later than the last scheduled day of classes in the term for which a grant is requested.

For more information, contact an ISAC Call Center Representative, a field office of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, or your college's financial aid office.

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 2014-15 Academic Year

(last updated on July 18, 2014):

There is approximately a four- to six-week turnaround from the date ISAC receives an application to when the qualified applicant receives a response. This same four- to six-week timeframe also applies for any additional documentation submitted in order to make a previously-submitted application complete.

Qualified applicants must notify their college's financial aid office of their eligibility status as soon as possible, but not later than the last scheduled day of classes for the term for which a grant is requested. It is the applicant's responsibility to obtain and submit all required documentation to allow the application to be processed so that the applicant can notify the college by the last scheduled day of classes. The college then works with ISAC to obtain the funds, which are applied toward the qualified applicant's eligible tuition and mandatory fees.*

  • If the application is incomplete and/or required documentation is missing, the applicant receives a Notice of Incomplete Application letter. Applicants must return a copy of this letter to ISAC, along with the missing information and/or documents, within 60 days after the date on the letter. If the required documentation is not submitted within 60 days, the application will be canceled.
  • If the application is complete, and the applicant meets all eligibility criteria and provides required documentation, the qualified applicant is sent a Notice of Eligibility from ISAC. The qualified applicant should retain a copy of this letter, and also notify the Illinois public 2- or 4-year college where the grant is to be used of his or her eligibility.

    Individuals who submit information not meeting the criteria to be a qualified applicant will receive a Notice of Ineligibility.

Click here to download the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program application.

To view a listing of Illinois colleges approved to participate in this program, click on the link below.

2014-15