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ECACE Scholarship

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship for the BA Human Development & Learning Program

  • Applicants for the 2021-2022 ECACE Scholarship (where funds will be applied for the 2021-2022 academic year, including Summer 2022) should apply as soon as possible before funds run out.
  • Applications for the 2022-2023 ECACE Scholarship (funding for the 2022-2023 academic year, including Summer 2023) are now open. The priority deadline to apply is July 15, 2022.

Do you have a partially completed bachelor’s degree and/or an associate’s degree? Do you have work experience in Early Childhood Education or Child Care? Are you looking to complete your bachelor’s at UIC?

If so, you may be eligible for a brand new scholarship from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) called the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program.

The scholarship will cover the total cost of attendance for an academic year (including summer) after other financial aid received. Students can use this scholarship to attend UIC and complete their bachelor’s degree in the Human Development & Learning (HDL) major. This program will work with you in balancing your work/life/education schedule with flexible course offerings.

The scholarship program was created in 2021 to address the shortage of qualified early childhood educators in Illinois with an aim toward building a strong, well-prepared workforce. After graduation, recipients of the scholarship are expected to continue or return to teaching or direct services in the early childhood care and education field in Illinois.

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Eligibility Heading link

To be eligible for this scholarship here at UIC, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen, or a U.S. permanent resident (holder of a “green card”)
  • be currently working or have worked in the Early Childhood field. This includes family child care and center-based care settings that serve children from birth to age 5, in roles such as teachers, assistant teachers, directors, family child care providers and assistants. Applicants must provide documentation confirming their membership in the Gateways to Opportunity® Registry.
  • be at the junior level standing or above, and/or hold a relevant associate’s degree, such as Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, or Associate of Science degree focused in early childhood education.
  • submit the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program application
  • submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • 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.

How to apply for the ECACE Scholarship Heading link

Although the priority deadline for 2021-2022 funding has passed, ISAC is still accepting applications right now and students should apply ASAP. The application for 2022-2023 funding will open in June 2022.

Access the ECACE Scholarship application on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) Student Portal website. ISAC will send immediate confirmation to your email address that your application has been received once you have completed it.

As part of the application, there are several external components you must prepare:

Complete the FAFSA

All applicants are required to complete the FAFSA for the academic year that you are applying for the scholarship. You do not need to demonstrate financial need to receive the award but the FAFSA will be used to prioritize awarding. A FAFSA must be submitted for each academic year in which benefits are to be used.

If you haven’t filed an online FAFSA before, you will first need to create an FSA ID at studentaid.gov/fsa-id to login and use as your electronic signature. Once you access the online FAFSA, you will be asked to choose the school year for which you will be completing the FAFSA. This will need to be the same year as the ECACE application you are submitting. For example, if you are filling out an ECACE application for the 2021-22 school year, you must also complete the 2021-22 FAFSA. You can begin working on your FAFSA before the application opens.

Prove your work in an early childhood or child care position by registering with the Illinois Gateways Registry

Applicants must provide proof of having worked in the early childhood industry (in either a licensed or license-exempt facility), 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. This is done through membership in the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity® Registry.

If you’re not already a member, visit the Gateways to Opportunity Registry Membership page to complete your Gateways Registry application to prove you are in the early childhood workforce.

Once you have registered, you must obtain and print your Eligibility Verification Form to include in your ECACE scholarship application.

Apply to the BA Human Development & Learning (HDL) Program if you have not already

Only students who are already accepted and/or enrolled in UIC’s Human Development & Learning (HDL) program will be eligible for this scholarship at UIC. If you have not done so, start your application on the UIC Admissions website.

How will applications be processed and how will decisions be made? Heading link

  • Applications will be processed in date-received (first come, first serve) order, so applying early is to your advantage.
  • ISAC prioritizes scholarship winners based on financial need, using information provided from applicant’s FAFSA form.
  • This scholarship is renewable each year. Applicants who received an ECACE Scholarship in the previous academic year and then apply to renew their scholarship for a second year will receive priority consideration.
  • Students do not need to apply to UIC or be admitted or enrolled prior to applying for the scholarship.