JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program during the 2023-24 academic year, an applicant must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen (FSA Handbook Volume 1, Chapter 2).
  • be a member of the incumbent workforce, currently working or having worked in the early childhood industry (in either a licensed or license-exempt facility), including home-based child care (e.g., family, friend, neighbor), center-/community-based care, Preschool for All programs, school-based preschool settings, and Head Start programs, that serve children from birth to age 5. Acceptable positions include teachers, assistant teachers, directors, family child care providers and assistants
    • applicants must provide documentation confirming their current membership in the Gateways to Opportunity® Registry
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on a full- or part-time (at least 3 credit hours) basis at the undergraduate or graduate level at a public or non-profit private 2- or 4-year Gateways-entitled and Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity member institution, and pursuing at least one of the following:
    • an Associate of Applied Science degree (or related certificate) in early childhood education or an associate degree with a concentration in early childhood at an approved college.
    • a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, with or without a Professional Educator License; or
    • for those who already hold a bachelor's degree:
      • courses to make them eligible for a lead teacher position in a licensed program;
      • a Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Endorsement;
      • additional endorsements (Bilingual, English as a Second Language, Special Education) or letters of approval or credentials; or,
      • for those seeking licensureand/or an additional endorsement, a Master's degree in early childhood.
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress as established by the college.
  • complete the application process by submitting an Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on or before the ISAC-established date for priority access to funding.
  • be certified as meeting eligibility requirements by the college at which the scholarship will be used.
  • not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any State or federal grant.