Financial Opportunities

If you work or have worked in early childhood education and you're seeking additional credentials and/or a degree in early childhood education, you may be eligible for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program. The program was created to address the shortage of qualified early childhood educators by encouraging the pursuit of credentials and advancement of already-held degrees in early childhood education, with an aim toward building a strong, well-prepared workforce. Recipients of the scholarship are expected to continue or return to teaching or direct services in early childhood care and education in Illinois after they complete their program of study.

Awards are available for undergraduate study at public and non-profit private 2- and 4-year Gateways-entitled and Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity member institutions. For students attending community colleges and public universities, the scholarship will cover the applicant's total cost of attendance for an academic year (including summer) after other financial aid is received. Students at participating non-profit private institutions may receive an amount no more than the cost of the most expensive program of study in the early childhood education field at an Illinois public college.

Are You Interested in Learning About Scholarship Opportunities for the Early Care and Education Field?

All 16 regional Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies have Higher Education Navigators to assist members of the early childhood workforce access scholarship opportunities including the new Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), as well as to help connect workforce members to institutions of higher education that best meets their needs. 

If you would like more information on scholarship opportunities, please complete the survey to request a Navigator. A Higher Education Navigator from your regional Child Care Resource and Referral Agency will reach out to you to discuss the next steps and help you navigate the application process.

Request a Free Navigator

Excelerate Program

ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and in life.

It also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help you make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes for children.