National Louis University

CHICAGO — National Louis University will help expand the state’s pool of early childhood providers and increase faculty diversity in the field thanks to an Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grant, State Senator Mattie Hunter announced Monday.

“By supporting the development of a diverse and well-prepared early childhood faculty, we are investing in the future success of our children and communities,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “I am thrilled to see National Louis University receive this funding to help students pursue their passion for teaching while filling a need in our state.”

The Illinois Board of Higher Education awarded $3.37 million in Early Childhood Faculty Preparation grants to four universities — including $1,191,511 to National Louis University — to implement programs of study for working adults from diverse backgrounds and those who work with diverse populations interested in becoming early childhood faculty. The grants will fund scholarships and other academic and holistic supports for 78 students to earn master’s degrees.

“This grant is an important step forward in ensuring all children in Illinois have access to high-quality education early on,” said Hunter. “Our education system relies on a pipeline of diverse faculty to support it, and these scholarships will help reduce the burden on those seeking to join the profession.”

The Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grants are a part of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity initiative, a key strategy in A Thriving Illinois, the state’s strategic plan for higher education. Those who enroll in the programs are expected to graduate by the summer of 2024.