JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Golden Apple Scholars Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility Units
Teaching Commitment

Eligibility Requirements

Nominees selected to be Golden Apple Scholars must earn a bachelor's degree at one of 53 Illinois universities that participate in the program, obtain Illinois teacher licensure, and teach for five years in an Illinois school of need. Scholars also must meet GPA requirements, participate in Summer Institutes, and comply with a code of conduct while in the program.

Each year, the Foundation will identify Golden Apple Scholars eligible to receive scholarship assistance from ISAC. To qualify for the Golden Apple Scholarship, applicants must:

  • be designated as a Golden Apple Scholar by the Golden Apple Foundation for Excellence in Teaching;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (FSA Handbook Volume 1, Chapter 2) or meet the "undocumented student" criteria of the RISE Act;
  • be a resident of Illinois (if dependent, both the student and parent/guardian must be residents of Illinois);
  • be a high school graduate or a recipient of a General Educational Development (GED) Certificate;
  • not be in default on any student loan nor owe a refund or repayment on any state or federal grant;
  • meet the satisfactory academic progress standards at the school;
  • be enrolled at a four-year institution designated by the Foundation as a participating Illinois university on at least a half-time basis as a freshman through a senior;
  • have earned a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale if enrolled at the sophomore, junior or senior level;
  • have not received 8 semesters or 12 quarters of the Golden Apple Scholarship;
  • have entered into a program agreement and promissory note with the Golden Apple Foundation and ISAC;
  • be enrolled in a postsecondary course of study leading to an initial teacher licensure or taking additional courses needed to gain Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approval to teach including alternative teacher licensure;
  • have participated in all required programs and adhered to the residential guidelines and standard of conduct as a designated Golden Apple Scholar of the Foundation; and
  • have not been awarded an Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) or the MTI Scholarship for the same academic period for which the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program is requested.

Eligibility Units

Qualified applicants may receive Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program benefits for the equivalent of four academic years (eight semesters or 12 quarters).

Teaching Commitment

To qualify to receive a Golden Apple award, the student must sign a commitment to teach on a full-time basis for five years at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school considered a school of need. The student must begin teaching within two years following the completion of the postsecondary education degree or certificate program for which the Golden Apple funds were awarded, and must teach continuously until the teaching requirement is fulfilled. If the student is unable or unwilling to fulfill the teaching commitment, the award converts to a loan, payable in full, plus expenses incurred in debt collecting. Refer to the Teaching Scholars page on the Golden Apple Foundation website for more information regarding the definition of a school of need, the teaching commitment and program requirements. The Foundation monitors compliance with the teaching commitment requirements for each Golden Apple Scholar.