JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for an award during the 2023-24 academic year, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
  • be a member of the incumbent workforce, currently working or having worked in the early childhood field, including family child care and center-based care settings, Preschool for All school-based settings, and Head Start, that serves children from birth to age 5 and includes teachers, assistant teachers, directors, family child care providers and assistants. Applicants must provide documentation confirming their current membership in the Gateways to Opportunity® Registry.
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on a full- or part-time (at least 3 credit hours) basis at a public or non-profit private 2- or 4-year Gateways-entitled and Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) member institution and be pursuing at least one of the following:
    • an Associate of Applied Science degree (or related certificate) in early childhood education or an associate degree with a concentration in early childhood at an approved college;
    • a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, with or without a Professional Educator License; or,
    • for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree:
      • courses to make you eligible for a lead teacher position in a licensed program;
      • Director, Early Childhood or Infant Toddler Credentials;
      • a Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Endorsement;
      • for those who already have a Professional Educator License, an Early Childhood Endorsement;
      • for those who already have a Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Endorsement, additional endorsements or letters of approval in Bilingual, English as a Second Language, or Special Education; or,
      • for those seeking licensure, a Master's degree in early childhood.
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress as established by your college.
  • complete the online application process by submitting a complete Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on or before by the ISAC-established date in order to receive priority access to funding.
  • be certified as meeting eligibility requirements by the college at which you will use the scholarship.
  • not be in default on any federal student loan, nor owe a refund on any State or federal grant. If you are in default, you may re-establish your eligibility.