JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

IVG Eligibility Requirements

{ISAC Rules, Section 2733.20 and 2733.30}

IVG Eligibility Requirements
Using IVG with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits
Comparison of Grant Programs for Veterans

Note: legislation that took effect in July 2019 amends the Illinois residency requirements for this program. The amended requirements are reflected in the following.

Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Satisfy Illinois residency requirements by meeting the below qualifications as outlined either in #1, #2 and #3, or in #4:
    1. Currently reside in Illinois unless the student is serving federal active duty service at the time of enrollment in college or residing with a spouse in continued military service who is currently stationed outside of Illinois.
    2. Were a resident of Illinois at the time of entering federal active duty service or within six months prior to entering the service or were a student at an Illinois public 2- or 4-year college at the time of entering federal active duty service.
    3. Established, or if on federal active duty service, plan to establish Illinois residency within six months after leaving federal active duty service, or if married to a person in continued military service:
      • Apply for this grant within six months after and including the date the spouse was stationed within Illinois, or
      • If the spouse was stationed outside Illinois, established, or plan to establish, Illinois residency within six months after and including the date the spouse was separated.
    4. Reside in Illinois at the time of application and at the time of receiving benefits for enrollment and, at some point after leaving federal active duty service, have been a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years.

      (Note: A student may be considered eligible for the IVG program by fulfilling #2 and #3 above; however, if the student does not currently reside in Illinois (#1), the student is not to receive IVG benefits)
  • Meet one of the following two criteria:
    • have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States, which may include the Illinois National Guard and the Reserve component of the Armed Forces, or
    • regardless of length of service, have served in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country (as recognized by the issuance of a Presidential proclamation or a Presidential executive order and in which the Armed Forces expeditionary medal or other campaign service medals are awarded according to Presidential executive order); was medically discharged for service related reasons; or was discharged prior to August 11, 1967.
  • Have received an honorable discharge (effective July 1, 2022, an honorable discharge may include a discharge under other than honorable conditions or a general discharge under honorable conditions if only due to a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, but does not include a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge) for the most recent period of federal active duty service, and/or be honorably serving.**  Contact information is available for Illinois military personnel who need to request a copy of the DD214 (equivalent to the DD214 Member 4).
  • Not be a current member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Applicants are not eligible if their only service has been attendance at a service academy.  Time served attending military schools or for Initial Active Duty for Training, in the Delayed Entry Program, National Guard, Reserve or any other time that was not federal active duty is not considered equal to federal active duty service.  Drill time (weekend and summer drills) by Guard members and Reservists is not equivalent to federal active duty service.
  • Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant. Refer to the Default Resolution Options to learn how an applicant can re-establish eligibility.

In order to receive benefits, qualified applicants must be enrolled at an Illinois public 2- or 4-year college and maintain the minimum grade point average (GPA) required by that college.

*If the student receives benefits from the IVG Program while serving on federal active duty service, upon discharge the student will be required to verify that the most recent service has been characterized as honorable.

Using IVG 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 Grant Program Application Procedures page of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.
  • 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 IVG 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 application is submitted prior to the corresponding deadline (for example, if an ING Grant application is submitted after the October 1 fall-term/full-year deadline but before the spring term deadline, 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 IVG Benefits
(New rules, effective beginning with the 2020-21 summer term for classes that are already in session on, or begin after, July 1, 2020)

Note that, for veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and choose to use those benefits with IVG 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 IVG benefits. In such instances, the number of IVG eligibility units assessed will be prorated, based on the percentage of charges paid by IVG benefits (i.e., the percentage of charges covered by IVG 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 IVG Program page in the student area for an example of using both IVG 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.