JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ING Grant Eligibility

{ISAC Rules, Section 2730.20 and 2730.30}

Eligibility Requirements
Using ING Grant with Other Tuition & Fee Benefits
Comparison of Grant Program for Veterans

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Illinois National Guard Grant, a student must:

  • Be an Illinois National Guard member, defined as meeting one of these two criterion:
    • be active in the Illinois National Guard or
    • have been active in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years and have been called to federal active duty for at least six months and be within 12 months after your discharge date from the Illinois National Guard
  • Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard
  • Be an enlisted member or an officer (Public Act 94-583) 
  • Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2- or 4-year college
  • Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant
  • Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by your college

Additionally, those individuals who have been active in the Illinois National Guard for at least five consecutive years, had their studies interrupted by being called to federal active duty for at least six months, and meet eligibility requirements in addition to those listed above may be eligible to receive an additional year of ING Grant Program eligibility, even after their membership in the Illinois National Guard has ended. Questions regarding individual eligibility status under this legislation should be directed to the applicant's chain of command, or to the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office at 217.761.3782.

High school students may enlist during their junior year and complete their calendar year of service prior to college attendance. This allows graduating high school students to use the grant immediately upon entering college.

Using the ING Grant with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits

Illinois National Guard members who have been called to federal active duty may be eligible for the Illinois Veteran Grant Program administered by ISAC. 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 on the ING Program Application Procedures page of ISAC Gift Assistance Programs
  • IVG benefits may be used for tuition and mandatory fees, and ING Grant benefits may be used for tuition and eligible fees (registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees). The determination of which specific fees are covered under each program is made by the college.
  • With the exception of veterans who are eligible for Post -9/11 GI benefits at less than 100% (based on length of service) and choose to use those benefits during the same term that ING Grant benefits are used, 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 eligibility units have been assessed for either program, they cannot be undone after the academic year is over (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 applicant has notified the college of their eligibility on or before the college's las scheduled day of classes for that term (for example, if  ING Grant eligibility is determined by ISAC but not communicated to the college by the qualified applicant by the end of the fall term, 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).
  • If a student who is eligible for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) is also eligible for ING Grant and/or IVG benefits, all ING Grant and IVG benefits that are available for the term(s) must be used first. A student cannot decline ING Grant or IVG benefits in favor of using MAP benefits. After all applicable ING Grant and IVG benefits have been used for the term(s), then a partial MAP award may be applied to any outstanding eligible tuition and fees.

Comparison of Grant Programs for Veterans

Post 9/11 GI Bill

Veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and IVG and/or ING Grant benefits may choose to use just one program, or combine them. The Post-9/11 GI Bill may provide 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.

Using Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits During Same Term As ING Grant Benefits
(New rules effective July 1, 2020, beginning with the 2020-21 fall term)

Veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and choose to use those benefits with ING Grant benefits in the same term, the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will be applied first (regardless of whether, based on length of service, the veteran is eligible for those benefits at 100% or at less than 100%), and any remaining eligible charges for tuition and fees will be covered by ING Grant benefits. In such instances, the number of ING Grant eligibility units assessed will be prorated, based on the percentage of charges paid by ING Grant benefits (i.e., the percentage of charges covered by ING Grant benefits will be multiplied by the number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled for the term, and that converted number of credit hours will determine the number of eligibility units to be assessed, using the chart that appears under the Eligibility Units page).

Refer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill section of the ING Grant Program page in the student area for an example of using both ING and Post 9/11 benefits in the same semester. In addition, there are questions an applicant should consider before choosing to use benefits from both programs.

Additional Resources

Refer to the School Official's Handbook that provides GI Bill information pertinent to all school officials. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a comparison tool to help students find information online about Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and the schools and training programs available to education beneficiaries. In addition, feedback can be provided using the VA GI Bill Feedback System. Encourage students to review the Military Service page in the Students & Parents area for further information.