How do I apply?


To Apply Online

  1. Become a Gateways Registry Member and log into your Registry Dashboard.
  2. Make sure your contact and employment information are correct by choosing Update.
  3. After you have updated your information, go back to the My Registry and choose Apply.
  4. Select the Great START tab and choose Apply Now.
  5. Walk through the steps and once complete choose submit application, you will need to print the Online Application Packet. This packet contains a list of the required documents that must be mailed to INCCRRA to complete your application.

After your application is reviewed, you will be notified of your eligibility by email.

To Apply by Paper

If you are applying for Great START for the first time you need to:
  1. Be a Gateways Registry member. If you are not already a member, register here.
  2. Complete the Great START Application and Information Update Form.
  3. Collect all your required documentation using the checklist provided in the application.
  4. Mail everything to:
    1226 Towanda Plaza
    Bloomington IL, 61701

After your application is reviewed, you will be notified of your eligibility by email.


Required Documents

Please use the checklist provided with the application. Any missing documentation will delay the application process and could lead to ineligibility to participate in the program. Upon review of an application, additional documentation may be required.

All Applicants

  • Original completed and signed* Registry Membership Form. (If on file, submit Information Update Form.)
  • Original completed and signed* Great START Supplement Application.
  • Signed W-9 (IRS Form) with applicant's personal information. 
  • Official transcripts. (Official electronic transcripts are accepted if sent from an accredited college or university to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Copies of foreign evaluations may be accepted, but only from the following evaluation services found at

Center Staff Applicants

  • Four weeks of most recent pay stubs
  • Most recent W-2 (IRS Form)

Family/Group Child Care Home Applicants

  • Most recent Schedule C (IRS Form).
  • Verification of children currently being served (e.g., completed IDHS child care assistance billing certificates/program verification, Proof of Care Form, or copy of checks paid to provider for child care services).
  • Most recent Form 8829 (IRS Form) with line 4 completed OR updated parent handbook indicating hours and days of operation and holiday/vacation schedule.
Excelerate Program

ExceleRate Illinois helps you prepare children for success in school and in life.

It also provides standards, guidelines, resources and supports to help you make sensible changes that lead to better quality outcomes for children.