JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Nursing Education Scholarships (NES)

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Program Description
Participating Schools
How to Apply
Changes to Application Data
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates

If you are pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associate 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. If awarded, you must begin full- or part-time employment as a licensed practical or registered professional nurse, an advanced practice registered nurse, or a nurse educator 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.

The number of years for which you may receive funding from this program is based on the certificate, diploma, or degree being pursued.

Certificate, Diploma, or Degree Pursued: Maximum Years of Scholarship Assistance:
Certificate in Practical Nursing One Academic Year
Associate Degree in Nursing Two Academic Years
Hospital-Based Diploma in Nursing Three Academic Years
Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing Four Academic Years
Graduate Degree in Nursing Five Academic Years
Graduate Degree in Nursing to become a Nurse Educator Three Academic Years

Please note that if you completed a certificate, diploma or degree program for which you received scholarship assistance, and are now pursuing a higher level of education, your maximum available years of assistance is based on the maximum for the new degree being sought. (For example, now pursuing a baccalaureate degree after receiving assistance for an associate degree.) The number of years of assistance previously received do not count toward the new maximum.

An NES award will pay a portion of tuition and fee charges, plus – for full-time students only – a living allowance (previously referred to as a stipend). The scholarship pays for coursework within the nursing curriculum, but does not pay for pre-requisite coursework.

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  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non citizen or meet the "undocumented student" criteria of the RISE Act
  • be an Illinois resident for at least one year prior to the date of application
  • 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
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress, as determined by your college
  • establish satisfactory repayment arrangements if you are in default on any federal student loan
  • sign an Application/Work Agreement/Promissory Note promising to fulfill the employment commitment or repay funds received plus interest.

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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

The NES application period each year starts on March 1 and continues through April 30. The application must be completed and submitted each year an applicant wishes to receive funding, regardless of whether the applicant has received a previous award (renewal). When available, the NES Application/Work Agreement/Promissory Note is accessed online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the Student Portal. The online application has built-in edits to prevent errors, and we will send immediate confirmation to your e-mail address that your application has been received. If your application is incomplete, you will receive a letter from ISAC explaining the reason(s) and advising how to resolve the issue. Applicants are also required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or, if applicable, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, for the same academic year that you are applying for the scholarship.

Applications are not currently being accepted for this program. To be considered for the 2024-25 academic year, the NES Application/Work Agreement/Promissory Note must have been submitted to ISAC on or before April 30, 2024.

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Changes to Application Data

Only one application for this program 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 (e.g., full year, or fall or spring semester). 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 protected]
  • 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).

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When appropriated funds for this program are insufficient to provide scholarships for all qualified applicants during any fiscal year, available funds will be awarded to qualified students who submit complete timely applications (i.e., the complete NES application is submitted no later than April 30) based on the following priority order:

  1. Scholarships will first be awarded to renewal applicants who continue to meet all of the program’s eligibility requirements. An applicant is considered a renewal applicant if, during the previous academic year, they received funds from the program for which they are currently applying.
  2. If funds remain after all qualified renewal applicants have been awarded, then awards will be made to eligible new applicants in the categories listed below:

Degree Type(s) Approximate Percentage of Available Awards
Graduate Degree in Nursing
Graduate Degree in Nursing (to become a Nurse Educator)
Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing 40%
Associate Degree in Nursing
Hospital-based Diploma in Nursing
Certificate in Practical Nursing 10%

Note: to the extent that the applicant pool allows, the following is the priority order used to determine awards for new applicants within each of the above categories:

  1. Lowest to highest Student Aid Index (SAI), as determined by the FAFSA or the Alternative Application
  2. Anticipated graduation date for current program of study
  3. Date on which complete NES application was received by ISAC

The certificate, diploma or degree being pursued by the recipient determines the NES maximum award amount and the maximum number of years the award may be received.

This page will be updated with the maximum amount(s) for 2024-25 NES awards once determined.

The 2023-24 NES maximum annual award amount is either $8,916 or $17,813.

$8,916 Maximum Award $17,813 Maximum Award
certificate in practical nursing
* any school type
associate degree in nursing
* two-year private colleges or four-year colleges/universities
associate degree in nursing
* community colleges or nursing schools
baccalaureate degree in nursing
* four-year public or private colleges/universities or nursing schools
hospital-based diploma in nursing
* community colleges
graduate degree in nursing
* four-year public or private colleges/universities or nursing schools
graduate degree in nursing to become a nurse educator
* four-year public or private colleges/universities or nursing schools

Scholarship funds may be used during all terms of study (including summer).

  • NES awards will pay a portion of tuition and fee charges, plus – for full-time students only – a living allowance (previously referred to as a stipend). The scholarship pays for coursework within the nursing curriculum, but does not pay for pre-requisite coursework.
  • The total amount of NES assistance awarded to an eligible applicant in a given academic year, when added to the other financial aid available to the qualified applicant for that year, cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

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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.

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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 2024-25 Academic Year

(last updated May 1, 2024)

The 2024-25 NES application is no longer being accepted.

To be considered for funds during the 2024-25 academic year, the NES Application/Work Agreement/Promissory Note – along with either the 2024-25 FAFSA or the 2024-25 Alternative Application – must have been submitted on or before April 30, 2024.

Applicants who submitted an unsigned application prior to the April 30, 2024 deadline are sent a notification of incomplete application.

Awarding for this program will take place later this year and, at that time, notification will be sent to recipients.

For the 2023-24 Academic Year

(last updated November 29, 2023)

The 2023-24 NES application is no longer being accepted.

To be considered for funds during the 2023-24 academic year, the NES Application/Promissory Note/Grant Agreement must have been submitted to ISAC on or before April 30, 2023.

Awarding for this program took place in November of 2023, and notification has been sent to recipients.

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