Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program is an individual-based scholarship opportunity for practitioners working in Early Care and Education (ECE) or school-age care. Goals of the program include:

  • Enabling practitioners to continue education in ECE and to earn degrees and/or credentials.
  • Promoting increased earning ability through increased education.
  • Improving the quality and consistency of care received by children in licensed child care or school-age care settings.

The Gateways Scholarship Program will pay a percentage of the cost of tuition and fees based on an eligible participant’s child care position income. Scholarships are awarded dependent upon availability of funding. For more information on the Gateways Scholarship Program refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Additional information and the program application can be found by clicking on each section. 

The Gateways Scholarship Program complements the Great START Wage Supplement Program. Great START rewards practitioners working in IDCFS licensed programs who have attained education above licensing requirements and who remain employed at the same child care or school-age care program.

The Gateways Scholarship and Great START Programs are administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) and funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).



Gateways to Opportunity is funded by public and private support including the McCormick Foundation, the Grand Victoria Foundation,    

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