08.03.01 - Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program

Effective Date:
Revised:  02/15/12

Reference: None

Policy Statement:


Program Overview:

The Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program is an individual-based scholarship opportunity for practitioners working in Early Care and Education (ECE) or school-age care. Goals of the program include:

  • Enabling practitioners to continue education in ECE and to earn degrees and/or credentials.
  • Promoting increased earning ability through increased education.
  • Improving the quality and consistency of care received by children in licensed child care or school-age care settings.

The Gateways Scholarship Program will pay up to 90% of the cost of tuition and fees based on an eligible participant's child care position income. Scholarships are awarded dependent upon availability of funding.

The Gateways Scholarship Program awards scholarships up to a maximum of 15 semester hours per year (or equivalent quarter hours) over a three-term period (or equivalent quarter terms). First time scholarship recipients will only be allowed to register for up to six semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) during the first term of their scholarship

Gateways Scholarship can be used to earn:

  • A Child Development Associate (CDA)/Child Care Professional (CCP) Credential (100% reimbursement of initial credential completion).
  • An Associate's Degree in ECE/CDA.
  • A Bachelor's Degree in ECE/CD.
  • Coursework to advance on the Great START Wage Supplement Scale.
  • A Gateways to Opportunity credential.
  • A bachelor's or master's degree related to program administration for ECE/CD.
  • A bachelor's degree with Type 04 certification or coursework for Illinois Type 04 Teacher Certification.
  • Up to 100% of the cost of tuition* for Type 04 Student Teaching.
  • Coursework for ESL Approval/Endorsement.

The Gateways Scholarship Program is administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) and funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

For questions about the Gateways Scholarship Program, please call a scholarship counselor toll free at (866) 697-8278 or email gatewaysscholarship@inccrra.org.