JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program Payment

Payment
Disbursement
Payment Offset and Reconciliation

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarships are paid directly to the approved institution of record which certified the applicant's eligibility by submitting a payment request (claim). ECACE Scholarship Program awards are paid with federal funds. ISAC processes ECACE Scholarship authorizations for payment (i.e., invoices), and colleges receive payment from the Illinois State Comptroller's Office, on a monthly basis. Funds are issued by the State Comptroller directly to the institution. Schools may submit ECACE Scholarship claims beginning 10 days prior to the start of the term for which payment is being requested.

2022-23 ECACE Scholarship Priority Payment Request Deadline Dates

    • Fall Term (First Semester/Quarter) Priority Payment Request Deadline Date: Not Yet Determined

    • Winter Term (Second Quarter) Priority Payment Request Deadline Date: Not Yet Determined

    • Spring Term (Second Semester or Third Quarter) Priority Payment Request Deadline Date: Not Yet Determined

    • Summer Term Priority Payment Request Deadline Date: Not Yet Determined

Payment

ECACE Scholarship payment processing is done using the ECACE system within the GAP Access portal. School staff must have the appropriate level of access in order to submit payment requests. The school's primary administrator or a designated administrator is responsible for authorizing access levels.

Colleges determine the award amount for eligible recipients based on Cost of Attendance and other aid received. The ECACE Scholarship:

        • is intended to be last payer, after all other aid has been provided.
        • may be used to replace student loans that might otherwise have been part of the student’s aid package.

Colleges can request payment for individual students via the ECACE “Student Detail: Payment” screen or in batches for a group of students via the “Payment Request Entry” screen.

Submitting payment requests is a two-step process, which involves generating the request and then submitting the request. By submitting a payment request to ISAC via the ECACE system, a college is certifying that the student meets all eligibility criteria. If a college determines that a prequalified applicants does not meet all eligibility requirements, they report the reason for ineligibility via the ECACE system.

Typically, payment results are available in the ECACE system on a weekly basis (Tuesday mornings), which is different than some other programs that are part of the GAP Access portal. For the remainder of the 2021-22 processing cycle, ECACE Scholarship payment results will be available each morning, reflecting results for claims submitted the previous day. A Payment Result Summary and Invoice Detail Report can be viewed or printed by selecting the report tab in the ECACE system once payment results are available. The report includes Payment Results and Payment Exceptions as well as Invoice Detail about the payment claim. The Payment Results/Exceptions report should be reviewed regularly to see which requests, if any, did not process as expected.

Refer to the payment section of the ECACE User Guide for a list of result codes, as well as details about how to submit a payment request, use the sort and filter functions, and obtain payment reports. Refer to the ECACE Electronic Processing page for details about accessing the ECACE system and hours of operation.

Disbursement

Awards are disbursed per the discretion of the college. There are no term limits, but the total requested for all terms cannot exceed the Scholar’s annual award during any academic year.

ISAC processes ECACE Scholarship authorizations for payment (i.e., invoices), and colleges receive payment from, the State Comptroller's Office. Vouchers are e-mailed to the Financial Aid Director. Colleges can match the invoice number on the Payment Results/Exceptions report with the voucher.

Upon receipt of the scholarship funds from the Comptroller, the college should verify the student's enrollment status for the term for which the award was intended.

        • If the recipient is enrolled, the institution may credit the scholarship funds to the recipient’s account for expenses due and payable. If appropriate, any balance is to be returned to the recipient.
        • If the recipient has withdrawn, or if the college has reduced the amount of the award so as not to exceed the cost of attendance, the college must indicate the reason on the ECACE “Student Detail: Payment” screen. The ECACE system will deobligate the award and the amount will offset a future payment to the college.

If a student fails to meet any of the eligibility requirements during the academic year, all undisbursed funds will be deobligated.

Payment Offset and Reconciliation

Payment offset and reconciliation procedures apply to ECACE Scholarship payment processing. Refund checks should not be sent for cancellations/adjustments made throughout the award year. Funds should only be returned to ISAC after a final reconciliation has been completed at the end of the regular school year.

Details regarding the Payment Offset and Reconciliation process is located in the Refunds and Unpaid Claims section of the Processes area.