Because this is an entitlement program, eligible recipients will receive their awards regardless of annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the governor - Illinois public
2- and 4-year colleges are required to waive any eligible tuition and allowable fees that are not covered by state appropriations.
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Using the ING Grant with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits
How to Apply (and Obtaining the Application)
Application Deadline Information
A Review of the ING Grant Application Process
Changes to Application Data
How Funds Are Disbursed
If you are a member* of the Illinois National Guard, you may be eligible to receive the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant. This grant can pay for eligible tuition and certain fees (i.e., registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) for undergraduate or graduate study. Benefits are limited to use only at Illinois 2- or 4-year public colleges as follows:
- If you have completed less than ten years of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years of full-time enrollment.
- Once you have completed ten years or more of active duty ING service, your grant can be used for a maximum of the equivalent of six academic years of full-time enrollment (note that the six-year maximum eligibility is cumulative, and includes benefits received when you had less than ten years of service).
Contact the financial aid office at your college to determine what portion of your total tuition and fees will be covered by this grant.
If you qualify for the ING Grant and the Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bills, you may be able to receive benefits from both programs during the same academic year for eligible educational expenses.
To obtain information and an online application for GI Education benefits, call the Department of Veterans Affairs at 888.GI BILL1 or visit their website at benefits.va.gov/gibill.
To assist veterans in navigating the complex web of services and benefits available, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) runs 49 full-time and 35 part-time (itinerant) offices in 80 out of the 102 counties in Illinois. You can look up your nearest Service Office at the IDVA website.
For more information, contact ISAC, your National Guard unit, or your college financial aid office. You may also wish to review the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program - Additional Important Information document, which is included in all benefit notifications that are sent to applicants.
To be a qualified applicant, you 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 had his/her studies interrupted by being called to federal active duty service for at least six months and be within 12 months after your discharge date from the Illinois National Guard. (These applicants may be eligible to receive an additional year of ING Grant Program eligibility. Eligibility under this provision is determined by the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office in Springfield, Illinois. Questions regarding your individual eligibility status under this provision should be directed to your chain of command, or to the Education/Incentives Branch of the Military Personnel Office at 217.761.3782.)
- Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard
- Be an enlisted member or an officer
- 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. If you are in default, you may re-establish your eligibility.
- Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by your college
- Submit your complete application in time for ISAC to determine your eligibility, and you to then notify the college regarding your eligibility no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested.
ING Grant benefits for an academic year are determined based on the number of credit hours for which the qualified applicant is enrolled.
Recipients who have completed less than ten years of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 120 eligibility units and recipients who have completed ten years or more of active duty ING service may accumulate up to 180 eligibility units. Full program benefits may be extended for one additional term if the recipient has accumulated fewer than the maximum number of eligibility units but does not have enough units remaining for the number of hours in which he or she is enrolled for that term.
With the exception of veterans who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill 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, ING Grant eligibility units are based on the enrolled hours for a particular term, not the dollar amount of the benefits paid.
The amount of eligibility a recipient has used is determined by converting credit hours (and noncredit hours for which benefits are used) to eligibility units, as indicated in the chart below. A recipient can login to his/her profile at the Student Portal and then go to the Program Applications & Status Checks area to verify the number of ING Grant eligibility units they have remaining.
|Number of Hours||Semester Term||Quarter Term|
|12 or more hours||12 units||8 units|
|9 - 11.99 hours||9 units||6 units|
|6 - 8.99 hours||6 units||4 units|
|3 - 5.99 hours||3 units||2 units|
|0 - 2.99 hours||1 units||1 units|
Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program
Illinois National Guard members who have been called to federal active duty service may also be qualified applicants for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program administered by ISAC. More details are provided at Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program page.
Applicants who meet all eligibility requirements for both the ING Grant and IVG 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 in the first bullet of the Eligibility section that appears on this page.
- ING Grant benefits may be used for tuition, registration fees, graduation fees, general activity fees, matriculation and term fees, and IVG benefits may be used for tuition and mandatory 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 Bill 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 ING Grant and IVG 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 payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of eligibility units that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (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 last 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).
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.
Note that, for 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 section of this page).
Example: An ING Grant recipient who is also eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at 60%, and has an enrollment status for the semester of 12 credit hours with $10,000 in eligible charges for tuition and fees, would be assessed 3 ING Grant eligibility units:
$10,000 (tuition and fees) x 0.60 (60% Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage) = $6,000 paid by Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
The remaining balance of $4,000 (40%) will be paid by ING Grant benefits
0.40 x 12 (credit hours) = 4.8 (this is the converted number of credit hours paid by ING Grant benefits)
Per the above chart, 4.8 credit hours paid in a semester is assessed 3 eligibility units
Questions To Consider
In addition to reviewing the monetary benefit amounts, students should also consider the following:
- What type of training or education are you planning to pursue?
- Is the timeframe to utilize benefits important to you (Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits have an expiration date)?
- Are you eligible for the transfer of entitlement benefit through the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program (unused benefits may be passed on to dependents)?
- Do you have remaining entitlement under other VA education programs?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides several benefit comparison tools to help you better understand all your federal benefit options.
Important information regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill - including a summary of changes based on the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 and a February 2011 letter that explains these changes to veterans, as well as a “Road Map for Success” resource - is provided at the Post-9/11 GI Bill section of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Montgomery GI Bill
Veterans who are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill and IVG and/or ING Grant benefits may receive benefits from both programs during the same term for eligible educational expenses. Students will need to make arrangements with your college’s financial aid office when utilizing both programs.
Monetary Award Program (MAP)
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.
To view a listing of Illinois colleges approved to participate in this program, click on the link for the appropriate academic year:
The Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant application is available online as an interactive application via the Student Portal. The online application has many benefits, including program information which is available at your fingertips, online edits which prevent errors, elimination of mailing time, and immediate confirmation that your application has been received at ISAC.
Effective with the 2023-24 academic year, 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"). If you have not already done so, be sure to create a profile in the ISAC Student Portal. Once you have a profile, you can return to the Student Portal to check your application status, verify the number of ING Grant eligibility units you have remaining or, if necessary, print a duplicate copy of your ING Grant eligibility notification.
The complete application must be received by ISAC in time for eligibility to be determined and the applicant to then notify the college no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested, and an application must be submitted for each academic year in which benefits are to be used. The online, interactive application collects all the information needed to determine eligibility. Additional documentation (including the Notice of Basic Eligibility [NOBE] which is used to apply for the GI Bill) is not required and, if submitted to ISAC, will not be returned to the applicant.
If you are a qualified applicant, ISAC will send you an eligibility letter, which you should provide to your college's financial aid office as soon as you receive it (and no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested). ISAC's processing time is up to 4 weeks. You can use the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the Student Portal to check your application status and view and print your most recent eligibility letter.
It is the applicant's responsibility to submit the complete application in time for eligibility to be determined and the applicant to then notify the college no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested. If you do not notify the college of your eligibility by the last scheduled day of classes for the term for which you are seeking benefits, contact your unit and/or the Department of Military Affairs Illinois (DMAIL) Education/Incentives branch at 217.761.3782 for information regarding other programs that may assist you with college expenses.
Please note: once an electronic application has been successfully submitted, a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the completed application will display on-screen, and may be printed or saved as an electronic file for your records. If you provide an e-mail address on your application, this PDF document will also be sent to you.
Individuals who are unable to apply electronically may request a paper application from ISAC by contacting an ISAC Call Center Representative. It is the applicant's responsibility to fax the paper application, or allow enough mailing time, in order for the paper application to be received in ISAC's Deerfield office in time for eligibility to be determined and the applicant to then notify the college no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested.
View a recording of "A Review of the ING Grant Application Process" by clicking on the below "View Recording" button:
Only one ING Grant application may be submitted per academic year. Consequently, if you need to change your response(s) to any item(s) and/or update any information after the application has been submitted, you will need to provide the information to ISAC. Examples of items that may need to be updated include demographic information (i.e., name, address, telephone number, etc.), your college of record and the impacted terms (full year, fall, spring or summer). These changes can be submitted to ISAC using one of the below methods, but cannot be done over the telephone.
- via e-mail to email@example.com
- via FAX to 847.831.8549
- via letter to ISAC Dept D, 1755 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, IL 60015-5209
The request must include the last four digits of your Social Security number (for identification purposes) and clearly state what change(s) need to be made. These changes will not affect the application “received date”. In order to allow adequate processing time and prevent a loss of benefits, changes to your college of record should to be reported prior to the beginning of the applicable term(s).
ISAC determines compliance with application requirements, monitors that the applicant has not exceeded the maximum benefits and verifies enlistment information with the DMAIL Education/Incentives branch.
Because this is an entitlement program, eligible recipients will receive their awards regardless of annual appropriations through the State of Illniois budget process. Illinois public 2- and 4-year colleges are required to waive any eligible tuition and allowable fees that are not covered by state appropriations.
For the years when state funds are appropriated, ISAC works with the college to disburse funds for this program. The college certifies student eligibility and then submits a payment request on behalf of the student. ISAC processes the payment request and submits the information to the State Comptroller’s Office. Dependent on the level of State of Illinois funding at the time of the request, the amount of time it takes for funds to arrive at the college can vary.
Depending on the college, students may be responsible for payment until program funds are received. Qualified applicants who are awaiting receipt of funds from this program should contact the Financial Aid Office or Business Office to determine the college's policy.
Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.
For the 2023-24 Academic Year
(Last updated June 16, 2023):
The 2023-24 interactive application for the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program is now available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. After carefully reviewing the How to Apply section on this page, use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024 terms.
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.
ING Grant applicants from the Illinois Air National Guard must indicate their base on the interactive application.
Allow at least four weeks for the processing of the application. ISAC sends notifications as described in the following bullets, and will continue to do so as applications are received throughout the academic year.
- Qualified applicants receive a Notice of Eligibility.
- In some cases, qualified applicants who submit a timely application are restricted to partial-year awards. For example, benefits might cease mid-year (based on the applicant's discharge date from the Illinois National Guard), or benefits might begin mid-year (based on the applicant's one-year anniversary date in the Illinois National Guard). Questions regarding restricted eligibility status should be brought to the attention of the applicant's Illinois National Guard unit. Updates to an applicant's status must be submitted to ISAC by the Department of Military Affairs in Illinois (DMAIL).
- Individuals who do not meet the criteria to be a qualified applicant receive a Notice of Ineligibility.