JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program Prequalification

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program processing takes place through the GAP Access system. The availability of prequalified applicant data in the ECACE system provides a means by which this information may be shared with colleagues in other areas of the college who are working with prospective and current students. Reports listing ECACE applicants may be generated and edited, and then made available to other departments at your institution. All personally identifiable information (PII), such as an applicant's Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, and expected family contribution (EFC), should be removed from the report before the information leaves the financial aid office. Financial aid staff must have the appropriate level of access in order to view prequalified records. The school's primary administrator or a designated administrator is responsible for authorizing access levels.

Prequalification results are available twice each week: on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Only records for students who have completed the online application process – which includes submitting a complete ECACE Scholarship Program application to ISAC and completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) that results in a valid expected family contribution (EFC) – and who meet all initial eligibility requirements (i.e., requirements other than those that must be verified by the college) are considered for prequalification. Allocation of funds is prioritized based on need, starting with applicants whose EFC is zero (0).

Colleges may view a listing of ECACE records by accessing the ECACE system and selecting the Student tab to display the "Student List Eligibility: View" screen. Data is displayed for applications that have been reviewed by ISAC staff and list the institution as the college the student plans to attend (i.e., complete, incomplete and ineligible based on student-reported data applications may be included). If an applicant submits additional documentation for a previously-listed incomplete or ineligible application, that record will be removed from the "Student List Eligibility: View" screen until after ISAC staff has reviewed the new documentation. Data will be available whenever there is a new or updated eligible record for the college. While new data could potentially be available on a daily basis, the college may not have students that appear in the system each day. It is recommended that the college check GAP Access at least once a week for new data that may have been posted.

Specific details regarding ECACE Scholarship processing, including hours of operation, important reminders and guidelines, are provided at the ECACE Electronic Processing page (right menu link on this page or within the Processes area).

Applicant Notifications

When a student’s record is complete, their name displays on the ECACE “Student List Eligibility: View” screen of the institution that was indicated as the school of record on the application. In addition, prequalified applicants will receive a Notice of Prequalified Eligibility.

Applicants who are determined ineligible for an award receive a Notice of Ineligibility. The letter received by the applicant will be different dependent upon whether the ineligible status is based on data they provided on their application or data provided by the college during the payment request process.

If there are not enough available funds to award qualified applicants, a Notice of Insufficient Funding will be sent to impacted applicants. This notification indicates that their applications will remain on file and they will be contacted again if funds become available to make additional awards later in the academic year.

Refer to the ECACE User Guide – which has been updated for the 2023-24 processing cycle – for a description of the “Student List Eligibility: View” fields, as well as filter and sort instructions.