JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program

Program News

(last updated January 19, 2024)

2023-24 Program Funding
2023-24 Benefit Usage
2023-24 File Specifications
2023-24 Eligibility Data
2023-24 Interactive Application


Program Funding

The fiscal year 2024 (FY24) state budget did not include funding for the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant to provide for compensating institutions for waiving the tuition and fees for Guardsmen. (The ING Grant is an entitlement program and receipt of benefits does not depend on the annual budget process.) As in recent years, the budget does include a little more than $4.2 million for the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to reimburse Illinois community colleges for the costs associated with waiving tuition and fee charges for ING Grant and Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) recipients.

Although ISAC will not be able to reimburse institutions for 2023-24 ING Grant awards, reporting of enrollment hours must still take place so that benefit usage (i.e., eligibility units) can be accurately assessed to students’ accounts.

Benefit Usage

Although ISAC will not be able to reimburse institutions for 2023-24 ING Grant awards, reporting of enrollment hours must still take place so that benefit usage (i.e., eligibility units) can be accurately assessed to students' accounts.

Important dates and reminders for 2023-24 ING Grant benefit usage processing:

  • ISAC is accepting ING Grant benefit usage data for the spring term.
    • The date by which spring-term ING Grant benefit usage data must be submitted in order to be considered timely will be announced once it has been determined.
  • Although benefit usage data for the fall term must have been submitted by December 29, 2023 in order to be considered timely, colleges are still encouraged to report fall-term data as soon as possible.
  • After submitting data, colleges are encouraged to always review the Benefits Results Exceptions report that is available the next business day.
  • Any 2023-24 benefit usage data that was submitted via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) prior to August 16, 2023 will not be processed, and must be resubmitted by the college.
    • In order to prevent having to resubmit data in the future, never submit benefit usage data via FTP until after ISAC announces it is accepting the data for that academic year.

Colleges report enrollment hours and dollar amounts for initial, in-district and out-of-district benefit usage by students, as well as adjustments to previously-submitted data, via the ING Grant system. Further details are provided in e-Messages dated August 16 and January 19.

New data for students eligible for benefits 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 the ING Grant system at least once a week for new student data that may have been processed for the 2023-24 academic year.

ING Grant benefit usage data is submitted in the same manner as IVG benefit usag data and MAP claims. For additional details, refer to the ING Grant Benefit Usage page within this section. An ING Grant Program User Guide can help colleges navigate the online process. ING Grant file specifications can be accessed in the section below and from the ING Grant Electronic Processing page.

File Specifications

2023-24 ING Grant specifications – describing the file layouts that ISAC uses to provide Eligibility Files, and that colleges use to transmit benefits used data to ISAC via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) using ISAC's Secure File Transfer System – are available within the Electronic Tools section of the e-Library. Make sure all files submitted to ISAC conform to the 160-byte format described in the specifications.

Access to ISAC's Secure File Transfer System (transfer.isac.org) requires a valid GAP Access user ID and password. Additional information and instructions are provided in the FTP Process Using GAP Access Credentials Guide.

Eligibility Data

The 2023-24 ING Grant system is available to access student eligibility data. When a student submits an ING Grant application to ISAC, a record is added to the school’s database in the ING Grant system that can be viewed by the school on the ING Student List Eligibility: View screen, which displays in the same format and has the same sort and filter functions as is used in the MAP system.

The ING Grant eligibility data includes information for each applicant who has applied for the ING Grant at the college of record, and for whom the Department of Military Affairs in Illinois (DMAIL) has confirmed eligibility as of the "Certified Eligible" date. It is recommended that the college check the ING Grant system for new or updated eligible records at least once a week.

Refer to the ING Grant Certification of Eligibility portion of this section for information regarding student eligibility data. Specific details regarding the ING Grant system, including important reminders and guidelines, are provided at the ING Grant Electronic Processing page of the Processes area.

The college's GAP Access Primary Administrator must update privileges for the appropriate staff to access the ING Grant system. Instructions for updating user privileges are provided in the GAP Access User Guides section, which is located on the GAP Access page.

Interactive Application

The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant interactive application for the 2023-24 academic year is available for students to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. Students should allow at least 4 weeks for processing of the application. Remind applicants in the Air National Guard that they must provide the base on the application.

Effective with the 2023-24 academic year, there are no longer priority consideration dates by which ING Grant applications must be submitted each term. Rather, ING Grant applications must be received by ISAC in time for eligibility to be determined and the applicant to then notify the college about their eligibility no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested.

In addition, applicants must have a profile in the ISAC Student Portal in order to complete and submit the ING Grant interactive application (applicants can no longer access the application as "guests"). Encourage students planning to submit an ING Grant application to create a profile in the ISAC Student Portal. Once they have a profile, applicants can return to the Student Portal to check their application status, verify the number of ING Grant eligibility units they have remaining or, if necessary, print a duplicate copy of their ING Grant eligibility notification.

To assist you with questions you receive from students regarding the ING Grant online application process, refer to the ING Grant page in the Types of Financial Aid section of the Student - During College area.

Refer to the Application Procedures for the ING Grant page within this section for an overview of the online application process, entry steps, application confirmation information, and a sample of the acknowledgement e-mail.