Early Childhood Scholarship

Learn More About JJC's Child Development Program

What is ECACE? 

The Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) was created through Illinois Public Act 102-0174. This act charges the IBHE and the ICCB with creating and establishing the ECACE. 

This fund will help the early childhood workforce, including employers and educators. According to the ECACE website, this will also advance racial equity while meeting the needs of employers by making it easier for students to earn their degrees. The legislation also mandates that the CDEV AAS is fully transferable to a BS in Early Childhood Education at all Illinois public universities and those private universities who have joined the ECACE Consortium.

Through ECACE, JJC has received a grant 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 ECACE supports and scholarship are expected to continue to return to teaching or direct services in the early childcare and education field in Illinois after they complete their program of study.

ECACE Scholarship

The ECACE Scholarship gives you the opportunity to earn your credentials or your undergraduate degree with significant financial support! This is a limited time opportunity that may end on or before June 2024. 

The ECACE scholarship will pay for the following items for an entire academic year:

  • Tuition
  • Course fees
  • Books
  • Other college related expenses

Apply for ECACE Scholarship

What You Need to Know

  • Eligibility Requirements


    Do you work in the Early Childhood field or have ever worked in the field and would like to further your education? If so, you are considered a member of the “incumbent workforce” and may be eligible for support.

    This includes current and future students who plan to serve in the following settings, serving children from birth to age 5:

    • Family child care
    • Center-based care settings
    • Preschool for All school-based settings
    • Head Start

    Eligible positions include:

    • Teachers
    • Assistant teachers
    • Directors
    • Family child care providers
    • Assistants.
    • Some public school/PreK paraprofessionals

    Eligibility Basics

    1. You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
    2. You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a public or non-profit private two-or-four-year Gateways-entitled and ECACE member institution like JJC
    3. You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment for at least three credit hours in a course of study which, upon completion, qualifies you to receive:
      • a postsecondary credential or undergraduate degree* in the field of early childhood education OR
      • a professional educator's license in early childhood education

    *If you already hold a bachelor's degree in any field, you are not eligible for ECACE

    Full program requirements


    You must submit a new application each year you wish to be considered for the scholarship. Each year, you will also be required to complete and submit the FAFSA.

    Apply for ECACE Scholarship

  • Financial Aid (FAFSA)

    You must complete a FAFSA application if you intend to apply for this scholarship. To select Joliet Junior College to receive your financial aid, please use the school code 001699 in your application.

  • Support While Completing Your Degree

    The JJC ECACE Grant Program has dedicated staff waiting to assist you.

    Our ECE Mentor is here to support and mentor you through the JJC college experience. She will have virtual meetings to assist you with success in college classes, the work/life/ school balance and cheer you on through your academic achievements.

    The Grant Advisor/Manager will support you with course planning, determining academic goals, and ensure you will be ready for transfer to the BS in ECE if this is your objective.

    The Grant Secretary will be available to answer your calls/emails and update you with any new information you may need regarding changes to the grant or upcoming events/meetings. She will be able to assist you with registering for classes and help with the IL Gateways credentials application.

    Completion and Mentoring Incentives

    We have completion incentives to monetarily support your achievements along the way. As you actively continue to engage in a mentoring relationship and receive regular support, you will also be eligible for monetary rewards at the end of semesters and graduation. These financial awards are funded for members of the incumbent workforce who have voluntarily joined the JJC ECACE PLC (Professional Learning Community).

  • For More Information

    For More Info or to Enroll 

    JJC CDEV Grant Program 
    Phone: (815) 280-6735
    Email: CDEVGrant@jjc.edu


  • To Join the JJC ECACE Support Community

    To take advantage of JJC mentoring and receive rewards for participation and completion of certificates, degrees and credentials please complete the form below. A member of the ECACE Grant staff will follow up with you within three business days with further information and instructions on the CDEV ECACE Professional Learning Community.

    Join the ECACE Support Community (Form)

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.