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Campus News / News

Eligibility Expanded For 2023-24 ECACE Scholarships

06/28/2023 3:41 pm

Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity scholarships serve eligible workers seeking postsecondary credentials/degrees in Early Childhood Education.

ROCKFORD, Ill. – Rockford University is pleased to announce that it is offering 2023-24 Early
Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) scholarships, now with expanded eligibility
for those pursuing or interested in pursuing a credential or degree in early childhood education.
The scholarship is now available at participating community colleges and universities beginning
in a student’s freshman year, and depending on the participating institution and its programs,
can be used for certain associate and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as for advanced
degrees and endorsements. At Rockford University, the scholarship is available for students in
Early Childhood Education. Detailed information about eligibility and a link to the 2023-24
scholarship application is available on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)

“The ECACE Scholarship is an important part of filling a critical workforce gap in the Rockford
area,” said Dr. Kimberlee Wagner, Rockford University Director of Early Childhood Education
and Associate Professor of Education. “The early childhood workforce plays a pivotal role in
shaping the future of our society by nurturing and educating our youngest learners. Their
dedication and expertise lay the foundation for a child’s lifelong development and success.
Investing in a strong early childhood workforce is an investment in the future prosperity and
well-being of our communities.”

The ECACE scholarship is designed to help address the shortage of qualified early childhood
educators and build a strong, well-prepared workforce. The scholarship was developed in
partnership with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College
Board (ICCB), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Human
Services (IDHS), and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD), and is
funded by IDHS. To be eligible for the ECACE scholarship, those who are seeking credentials
and/or a degree in early childhood education must currently be working or have worked in the
early childhood field. This includes applicants who work or have worked in family childcare and
center-based care settings. Other eligibility requirements for the scholarship, and a list of
participating institutions, are available on ISAC’s ECACE Scholarship webpage.

The scholarship can cover as much as the total cost of attendance (which can include tuition and
fees, room and board, books, and transportation) for an academic year (including summer) after
other financial aid is received. 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 after they
complete their program of study.

To apply for the scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year, students should complete the
2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) if they have not already done
so, as well as the ECACE scholarship application, and provide required documentation.
Eligible students who are currently enrolled in a participating institution are encouraged to work
with their financial aid advisor.

ECACE also has student support specifically designed for working adults. ECACE navigators
provide personalized assistance to students in navigating the postsecondary education
application and financial aid process. Students and prospective students in early childhood
education need only complete a simple form to connect with a navigator. Once in a
postsecondary program, the student will work with a program coach and/or mentor from the
institution, who will provide additional support to the student to help them persist and complete
their studies.