JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers

The number of grants made through this program, as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.

You may either scroll through this page, or click on any of the following links to go directly to a specific topic:

Program Description
Eligibility Units
Participating Schools
How to Apply (and Obtaining the Application)
Application Deadline Dates
     Application Priority Consideration Date: October 1 (for full-year award)
Changes in Application Data
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates
Additional Resources

Program Description

If you are the spouse or child of a State of Illinois Department of Corrections officer who was killed or became at least 90 percent disabled in the line of duty, you may be eligible for the Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers. This grant provides assistance toward tuition and mandatory fees* for undergraduate or graduate study at ISAC-approved Illinois colleges. You may receive assistance for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years (eight semesters or 12 quarters) of full-time enrollment. You do not need to be an Illinois resident at the time of enrollment to receive this grant.

* Recipients attending approved public colleges in Illinois shall receive full payment of tuition and mandatory fees on their behalf. The grant will cover the difference in costs for courses taken at an out-of-district college that are not offered at a recipient's in-district college. Recipients attending approved private colleges in Illinois shall receive payment of tuition and mandatory fees in an amount not to exceed the maximum grant payable to a student enrolled in the most expensive comparable program of study at a public college in Illinois. Mandatory fees are those assessed by a college that are required to deliver educational services to students for each term, regardless if the student is attending on-campus or through distance education. Examples include fees for activities, facility operations, grants, health, registration, technology, transportation and – when applicable – fees associated with online learning. The college determines fees that are considered mandatory.

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To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled on at least a half-time basis at an ISAC-approved Illinois 2- or 4-year college
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate
  • 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.
  • Be either:
    • the natural born or legally adopted child or any child in the legal custody of the Illinois correctional officer who was killed or disabled in the line of duty (while children of disabled Illinois correctional officers need not have been born, legally adopted or in the legal custody of the officer before the disability occurred, they must have been so at the time the officer was killed in order to receive this grant), or
    • the spouse of the Illinois correctional officer at the time of death or disability
  • Allow sufficient mailing time to make sure ISAC receives your complete application on or before the deadline date, based on the first term for which you wish to receive funds each academic year. For 2023-24:
    • October 1, 2022 – Full Year Consideration
    • March 1, 2024 – Only 2nd Semester (2nd/3rd Quarter) and Summer Consideration
    • June 15, 2024 – Only Summer Term Consideration

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Eligibility Units

Qualified applicants may receive Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers benefits for the equivalent of four academic years (eight semesters or 12 quarters) of full-time enrollment, which is measured in eligibility units. Recipients may accumulate up to 48 eligibility units.**

The amount of eligibility a recipient has used is determined by converting credit hours to eligibility units, as indicated below:

 Number of Hours Semester Term  Quarter Term 
 12 or more hours  6 units   4 units
 6 - 11.99 hours  3 units  2 units

Eligibility units are based on the enrolled hours for a particular term, not the dollar amount of the benefits paid.

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).

** Full program benefits may be extended for one additional term if the recipient has accumulated fewer than 48 eligibility units but does not have enough units remaining for the number of hours in which he or she is enrolled for that term.

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Participating Schools

To view a listing of Illinois colleges approved to participate in this program, click on the link for the appropriate academic year:


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How to Apply

An application for this grant may be downloaded and printed via the Applications page, or accessed at your college's financial aid office.

In order to be considered for educational benefits, you must submit a complete application and supply all required documentation by the deadline date for the term(s) for which you are seeking assistance. One application must be on file for each academic year, which begins with the fall term and concludes the following summer term. No payments will be made on behalf of an eligible student unless a current and complete application is on file.

Completing the Application

When completing the application, be sure to note the following:

  • The “Section I: Applicant's Information” portion must be filed annually for each applicant.
  • The “Section II: Officer’s Biographical Information” portion of the application needs to be completed only on the initial application. Once eligibility has been established for one member of a family, it is established for all qualified applicants in the family.

    Initial applications must be accompanied by the officer’s certified death certificate or the certified statement of a licensed physician. The physician’s statement must certify that the officer has a mental or physical condition that is reasonably certain to continue throughout the lifetime of the officer, resulting in a 90% to 100% incapacity from performing substantial and material duties previously discharged.

    Separate documentation must be submitted to prove that the death or permanent disability of the officer occurred in the line of duty (this documentation is usually obtained from the officer’s pension board or employer).

Application Deadline Dates

It is the applicant's responsibility to fax the application, or allow sufficient mailing time in order for complete applications to be received at ISAC on or before the applicable deadline date. In order to receive full-year consideration your application must be received on or before October 1 of the academic year for which you're requesting assistance. For spring- and summer-term consideration, the deadline date is March 1. For summer-term consideration only, applications must be received on or before June 15. Applications received by ISAC after these deadline dates will be processed only for subsequent terms, with June 15 as the final date of acceptance for the summer term.

Changes to Application Data

Only one application for the Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers 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.

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).

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How Funds Are Disbursed

ISAC works with the college to disburse funds for this program. The college certifies student eligibility and then – after the application deadline has passed for each term – 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 anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

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.

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Processing Updates

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 on March 4, 2024):

The application for the 2023-24 Grant Program for Dependents of Police, Fire, or Correctional Officers is available to download and print from this website. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the summer 2024 term. Complete applications received by ISAC after the deadline dates (see How to Apply, above) will be processed only for subsequent terms, with June 15, 2024 as the final date of acceptance for the summer term. To ensure you are also considered for other forms of financial aid, we remind you to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) if you have not already done so.

Applicants must reapply each academic year.

Children of disabled correctional officers need not have been born, legally adopted or in the legal custody of the officer before the disability occurred in order to receive this grant.

Allow at least four weeks for the processing of the application. Qualified applicants are sent a Notice of Eligibility letter from ISAC.

In the event funds are insufficient to make awards to all timely qualified applicants, award amounts may be prorated and ISAC will send notification to qualified applicants explaining the proration percentage. We recommend that students work with their college regarding the award amount. Please be aware that the assessment of eligibility units is based on the enrolled hours for a particular term, not the dollar amount of the benefits paid.

Individuals who do not meet the criteria to be a qualified applicant receive a Notice of Ineligibility.

If an application is incomplete, a Notice of Incomplete Application is sent to the applicant to request the missing information. Processing cannot take place prior to the date a complete application is received in ISAC's Deerfield office.

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Click here to print the Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers application.

Additional Resources

The following are resources (other than those administered by ISAC) that may be available for families of fallen or disabled first responders. To learn more about a program (including eligibility requirements, application deadlines, etc.), click on the corresponding link.

As ISAC staff becomes aware of additional opportunities, that information will be added below. You are encouraged to occasionally visit this page to check for new listings that may be of benefit to you.

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