JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Nursing Education Scholarship Program (NESP)

The administration of NESP is transitioning from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ISAC. Scroll to “Processing Updates” below for information about the current status.

If you are pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associates degree in nursing, a hospital-based diploma in nursing or a bachelor’s or graduate degree in nursing and demonstrate the greatest financial need among qualified students, you may be qualified to receive the Nursing Education Scholarship. This scholarship provides financial aid anywhere from one to four years. If awarded, you must begin full- or part-time employment as a licensed practical or registered nurse in Illinois within six months of graduating, and remain employed for a period equivalent to the educational time supported by the scholarship. If you terminate studies, or fail to become employed, you will be required to repay the full scholarship amount, plus seven-percent interest per year.


  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non citizen or meet the "undocumented student" criteria of the RISE Act
  • be an Illinois resident
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment to a nursing program in Illinois that is approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
  • demonstrate financial need
  • sign a Grant Agreement/Promissory Note promising to fulfill the employment commitment or repay funds received plus interest.

How to Apply

The 2022-23 application period is closed

The 2023-24 application is expected to be available on March 1, 2023

How Funds are Disbursed

ISAC works with the school to disburse funds for this program. The school 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 school can vary anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Depending on the school, 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 school’s policy.

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.

The administration of the NESP is transitioning from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ISAC.

For the 2022-23 Academic Year
(last updated January 13, 2023)

  • Disbursement of fall term awards is underway. For award recipients who have signed their Grant Agreement/Promissory Notes, ISAC has begun processing disbursements and funds are being released. Scholarship funds are disbursed directly to the college.
  • NESP recipients received e-mail messages on December 6 that contained instructions for signing and submitting the required Grant Agreements/Promissory Notes. Disbursement of NESP funds cannot occur until a recipient's signed agreement is in place. Recipients access and sign agreements through the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal.
  • Applicants received notification of their eligibility status from the IDPH earlier in the year. Recipients should refer to the awarding statement received from IDPH for award details, including the award amount.
  • On November 30, NESP recipients were sent an e-mail message from ISAC containing information about the transition of the program to ISAC, along with next steps and the anticipated timeline for disbursements.