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Education

​For help in choosing or applying for any of these programs, contact the nearest Veteran Service Officer.  Our VSO's are ready and willing to assist in determining your eligibility, discussing available options, and submitting the appropriate application/s.

Educational Opportunities for Children (Age: 10-18)

Financial aid is provided annually to each child between the ages of 10 and 18 years of a veteran who died or became totally disabled as a result of service in the Armed Forces during World War I, or II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts (beginning February 1, 1955), the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, until such individuals are no longer eligible for induction under the Universal Military Training and Service Act. The financial aid applies to a state educational institution of elementary grade, high school or vocational training school.

Although both Part I and Part II are listed individually below, they must both be submitted at the same time.

Educational Opportunities Grant Application Part I.pdf

Educational Opportunities Grant Application Part II.pdf

MIA/POW Scholarship

The State of Illinois provides an education scholarship for the dependents of veterans who are either Missing In Action, a Prisoner of War, died while on active duty, 100% disabled due to service connected disabilities or died as a result of a service connected disabilities. 105 ILCS 5/30-14.2 (MIA/POW Scholarship) establishes the benefit and 95 Ill. Admin Code 116 (MIA/POW Scholarship) provides the rules governing the administration and eligibility of dependents.

ELIGIBILITY

An applicant must be the spouse, widow, natural child, stepchild or adopted child of the veteran to qualify.  The veteran must have been an Illinois resident at the time of entering Active military service, an Illinois resident within six months after entering Active military service, or a resident of Illinois for at least 15 consecutive years after leaving active duty as of the date of application.  Information about place of entry into Active duty may be found on a Veteran's DD214 (Report of Separation) or Enlistment Contract. Examples of documents accepted to prove 15 years of consecutive years of residency include Illinois Secretary of State Driving Record Abstract (recommended), state or federal income tax transcripts, property tax records, wage and tax records (IRS Form W-2), or statement of benefits history from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Furthermore, the veteran must meet one of the following criteria in order to qualify – (1) Veteran must have been an MIA (Missing In Action) (2) Veteran must have been a POW (Prisoner of War) (3) Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service connected causes (4) Veteran must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA) as being 100% permanent and totally disabled by service connected causes due to unemployability (5) Veteran's death must be rated service connected by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA).

If the surviving spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the veteran or serviceperson, the scholarship benefit for the remarried surviving spouse and stepchildren will terminate on the date of the remarriage or divorce.  If the surviving spouse remarries or if there is a divorce from the veteran or serviceperson while the spouse and/or stepchildren are pursuing a course of study, scholarship benefits will be terminated at the end of the term for which they are presently enrolled.  The natural child, adopted child, or stepchild must begin utilizing the benefit prior to the age of 26. 

AMOUNT AND AWARD ENTITLEMENT

An eligible dependent is entitled to full payment of tuition and certain fees to any Illinois state supported college or university. The scholarship is based on a points system measured in semester hours.  Maximum points allowed is 120.

1 CREDIT HOUR = 1 POINT

2 CREDIT HOURS = 2 POINTS

3 CREDIT HOURS = 3 POINTS

4 CREDIT HOURS = 4 POINTS

5 CREDIT HOURS = 5 POINTS

6-8 CREDIT HOURS = 6 POINTS

9-11 CREDIT HOURS = 9 POINTS

12 OR MORE HOURS = 12 POINTS

The holder of the Scholarship shall be subject to all examinations and academic standards, including the maintenance of minimum grade levels that are applicable to others enrolled in the Illinois institution of higher learning where the Scholarship is used.

The MIA/POW Scholarship will cover the following fees, if listed specifically in the school handbook:

1. Activity Fee                         2. Application Fee                            3. Graduation Fee                                            

4. Term Fee                             5. Instructional Fee                          6. Proficiency Test Fee

7. CLEP Test Fee                      8. Placement Tests Fee                  9. Board of Governors Test Fee. 

The total benefit provided (120 points) expires 12 years from the date of enrollment in a course of study and shall not exceed the cost equivalent of four calendar years of fulltime enrollment, including summer terms, at the University of Illinois.

APPLICATION PROCESS

The application process for the MIA/POW Scholarship is online and may be accessed at https://studentportal.isac.org/student.   Please use the Program Applications & Status Checks link at the top of this web page to access the application. 

Based on the applicant's relationship to the veteran, an applicant must upload the documents listed below to the website to complete the application process:

Spouse and Widow:

  • Marriage Certificate
  • Veteran's DD214 (Report of Separation) and/or Casualty Report (if killed in service)       
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran is 100% permanent and totally disabled and/or
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran's death was ruled service connected
  • Proof of registration or acceptance letter to college or university attending.
  • If applicable, proof of 15 consecutive years of Illinois residency after leaving active duty and date of this application.

Natural child:

  • Birth certificate listing name of veteran
  • Veteran's DD214 (Report of Separation) and/or Casualty Report (if killed in service)
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran is 100% permanent and totally disabled and/or
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran's death was ruled service connected
  • Proof of registration or acceptance letter to college or university attending.
  • If applicable, proof of 15 consecutive years of Illinois residency after leaving active duty and date of this application.

Stepchild:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage Certificate between parent and veteran
  • Veteran's DD214 (Report of Separation) and/or Casualty Report (if killed in service)
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran is 100% permanent and totally disabled and/or
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran's death was ruled service connected
  • Proof of registration or acceptance letter to college or university attending.
  • If applicable, proof of 15 consecutive years of Illinois residency after leaving active duty and date of this application.

Adopted child:

  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption decree 
  • Veteran's DD214 (Report of Separation) and/or Casualty Report (if killed in service)
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran is 100% permanent and totally disabled and/or
  • Award letter from USDVA stating veteran's death was ruled service connected
  • Proof of registration or acceptance letter to college or university attending.
  • If applicable, proof of 15 consecutive years of Illinois residency after leaving active duty and date of this application.
     

QUESTIONS
 If an applicant has any questions about the MIA/POW Scholarship, or need to request an application be mailed to them, please contact the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs at 217-782-3564.

Illinois Veterans' Grant

The Illinois Veterans' Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and mandatory fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for eligible Illinois veterans. An individual must: 

  • Be an honorably discharged veteran; and
  • Reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; and
  • Have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed
    Forces. This includes veterans who were assigned to
    active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country,
    regardless of length of service; and
  • Return to Illinois within six months of discharge from the service

Applications and additional information are available from the VSO Offices of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, college financial aid offices or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), 1755 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, 60015, telephone 847-948-8550 or 800-899-ISAC, www.isac.org.

Illinois National Guard Grant

In order to receive benefits under this program an applicant must:

  • Be an Illinois National Guard member, defined as meeting one of these two criteria:
    • Be active in the Illinois National Guard or
    • Have been active in the Illinois National Guard
      for at least five consecutive years and have been called
      to federal active duty for at least six months and be within the 12 month period immediately following
      the applicant's discharge from the ING.
  • Have completed one full year of service in the Illinois National Guard;
  • Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2 or 4 year college;
  • Not be in default on any educational loan or, if in default, have reinstated eligibility in accordance with ISAC Rules;
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal grant;
  • Maintain an acceptable grade point average (GPA) according to the policy determined by the applicant's college;
  • File a complete application each academic year, indicating the college to be attended;
  • Meet the applicable deadline for the term for which he/she is applying; and
  • Notify ISAC, in writing, of name, address or college choice changes as they occur.

Information about the grant program and the online application may be obtained at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission's website at www.isac.org.

Get Academic Credit for Military Training

Making Military Training Count  The Office of the Governor and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, in cooperation with the Illinois Community College Board, several community colleges, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and MyCreditsTransfer, completed a collaborative project to grant student veterans appropriate academic credit for the education and training they gained in military service.

As a result of the Making Military Training Count initiative, veterans and service members can enter college with earned course credits, useful credits that apply toward meeting degree requirements, simply by documenting their already-completed military training. See how your military coursework, exams, and/or learning experiences count at specific schools using Transferology. Visit www.iTransfer.org/MyCreditsTransfer to learn more. You can also find out what your options are for taking classes at another school to transfer back to your current school by using the "Find a Replacement Course" feature.

Many Illinois colleges have developed transfer credit for military learning experience, including City Colleges of Chicago, College of DuPage, College of Lake County, DePaul University, Kaskaskia College and Southwestern Illinois College.

Veteran Coordinators at Public Universities and Colleges in Illinois

Veteran Coordinators are tasked to be the central point of contact for all veterans, service members, and dependents at universities and colleges Veteran applicants and student veterans are encouraged to contact these staff to learn about eligibility to veteran education benefits, benefit application processes, academic counseling, financial aid counseling, and student support services.

Click here to obtain a list of Veteran Coordinators at public universities and community colleges for the 2020-2021 academic year (with names, phone numbers, and email addresses).

State Approving Agency G.I. Bill

The State Approving Agency (SAA) approves college and non-college degree programs, vocatio​nal flight training, apprenticeships and other on-the-job training so that federal educational assistance benefits may be paid to veterans and other eligible persons under the several programs administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to approvals, the SAA assists the US Department of Veterans Affairs in conducting compliance surveys at institutions and training establishments where eligible veterans and their dependents are attending.

The types of approved training establishments include the following:

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Vocational Schools
  • Business Schools
  • Professional Schools
  • Vocational Flight Schools
  • High Schools
  • Apprenticeships
  • On-the-Job Training Programs
  • Licensing and Certification Tests
If you have questions about the approval of a program, please call one of the following Illinois State Approving Ageny representatives:
 
                  
Enrique Cabrera
Joliet
815-730-4358
Melissa Cushman
Springfield
217-785-4578
​Andrew Pieper ​Wheaton ​630-690-6270
​Tiffany Perry ​Chicago ​773-292-2789
​Dan Wellman ​Springfield217-782-7838

Illinois Board of Higher Education

Assisting Student Veterans in Higher Education: Developing Faculty & Staff Awareness; Strategies for Addressing the Military-Civilian Gaps on Campus.

Children of Veterans Scholarship

Each county in the state shall be entitled, annually, to one honorary scholarship at the University of Illinois, for the benefit of children of veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict and any time on or after August 2, 1990 and until those persons in service are no longer eligible for the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Preference is given to the children of deceased and disabled veterans. Such children shall be entitled to receive, without charge for tuition, instruction in any or all departments of the University for a term of at least four (4) consecutive years.  Details may be obtained from the University of Illinois' Financial Aid Office.

VA Work Study Locations -- IDVA

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs provides VA work-study opportunities at its numerous offices throughout Illinois.  The federal VA work-study program provides part-time employment to students receiving VA education benefits who attend school three-quarter time or more.   Work-study students are paid either the State or Federal minimum wage, whichever is greater.   Other available opportunities may exist at the school veteran's office, VA Medical Facilities, the VA Regional Office, and at approved veteran service organizations. 

For more information on approved programs, call 312-814-2460 or 217-782-7839.
For information on VA Work Study locations available at IDVA, call 312-814-5538.