Application for scholarship is currently suspended.

Applications are still being accepted but will be reviewed when funding is available. 

Contact the ECACE coordinators for more resources to pay for tuition at

The Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program offers you a unique opportunity to earn credentials or your undergraduate degree tuition-free (tuition, course fees and books).

This 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 the aim of building a strong, well-prepared workforce.

If you are not yet in the field, earning your undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education can lead to employment. If you currently hold an associate degree, you can complete your Illinois Director Level 1 credential in as little as one semester with only two Moraine Valley classes and give you the opportunity to increase your salary.

As a participant, your program tuition, course fees and books are completely covered.

You are a good candidate if you:

  • Currently working or having worked in positions such as teacher, assistant, or director in early childhood centers, schools, or homes; and membership in the Gateways to Opportunity® registry.
  • Applied and enrolled at Moraine Valley as an undergraduate student, pursuing an early childhood education major or postsecondary credential.
  • Do not currently hold a Bachelors Degree

Achieved Prior Learning

If you already work in this field, Moraine Valley has the option of granting credit for prior work experience for some of the courses through its Achieved Prior Learning (APL) process, which could include a portfolio, communication with your employer and a one-on-one meeting with the early childhood education faculty. Use the form below to contact our program assistant for more information.

Application Steps

Step 1. Apply to Moraine Valley Community College. Complete the online application to get your student email address and enrollment steps. Students must be enrolled in the college to receive the full scholarship.

Step 2. Apply for the full scholarship amount here after applying to the college. 

What You Need To Know

The ECACE Scholarship Program interactive application may be accessed online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC 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 at ISAC.

An ECACE Scholarship application must be submitted for each academic year in which benefits are to be used. 

After you submit your ECACE Scholarship application, the process is as follows:

  • You will immediately receive an e-mail confirming that your application was received at ISAC.
  • Be sure the financial aid office at your college knows you will be enrolling and that you have submitted an ECACE Scholarship Program application.
  • If your application, including required documentation, is incomplete, you will receive a letter from ISAC explaining the reason(s) and advising you how to resolve the issue.
  • If, based on information you provided on your application, you are not eligible, you will receive a Notice of Ineligibility.
  • Once ISAC determines that both the ECACE Scholarship application and the FAFSA have been submitted, you will receive a letter stating that your application is considered complete. Unless you need to change any of your application data (see Changes to Application Data below), there is nothing more for you to do at this point.
  • Following each year's priority consideration date (July 15, 2022 for the 2022-23 academic year), ISAC will send a letter notifying you of your pre-qualified status. Pre-qualified means that you have met the initial eligibility requirements and the next step will be verification of your enrollment and program eligibility by your college.
  • Your college will certify your eligibility and request payment on your behalf. Program funds are disbursed directly to the college.
  • If the college determines you are not eligible, you will receive a Notice of Ineligibility.

The application process requires proof of employment as part of the incumbent workforce through an Eligibility Verification Form. Incumbent workforce is defined as having worked in the early childhood industry (in either a licensed or license-exempt facility), including home-based child care (e.g., family, friend, neighbor), center-/community-based child care, Preschool for All programs, school-based preschool settings, and Head Start programs, that serve children from birth to age 5. Acceptable positions include teachers, assistant teachers, directors, family child care providers and assistants.

An Eligibility Verification Form from the Gateways Registry must be downloaded and/or printed and then uploaded when completing the application. You will not be allowed to proceed through the application without uploading the required documentation, so it is recommended to obtain and print your verification form before starting the online application. No other documentation of your employment history will be accepted. Registry members will enter through the Dashboard Login to access the form. Follow these instructions to access your Eligibility Verification Form. If you're not already a member, you can complete your registration on the site and then obtain your verification form. You must be a current Gateways Registry member to qualify for the scholarship. The Eligibility Verification Form contains members' employment history, with assigned position codes. For award consideration, at least one of the position codes must be an eligible code.

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you intend to apply for this scholarship. To select Moraine Valley to receive your financial aid information please use the school code 007692 when prompted in the application. 


Explore Available Early Education Programs

Learn about our paraprofessional certificates or about completing the first two years of an early childhood or elementary education degree before transferring to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Illinois Director Level 1 Credential

Learn more about turning your passion for teaching and turning it into a leadership role with your Illinois Director Level 1 credential in as little as one semester. 

Early Education

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The project described was supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0001-01-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.