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First-Come, First-Served, One-Time $4,000 Teacher Excellence Retention Incentive for two consecutive years for Illinois National Board Certified Teachers/Counselors at Low-Income/Hard-to-Staff Schools

Application for FY24 opens on January 20, 2024, at 10 AM,
and closes on March 29, 2024, at Midnight.


The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is showing its support for the positive impact that National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) make through improving teaching and student learning for Illinois’ most under-resourced students in "hard-to-staff schools." Please take a moment to contact your state representatives to thank them for their continued support in funding incentives for NBCTs.

"A "hard-to-staff school" means a public school in which no less than 30% of student enrollment is considered low-income as reported by the report card under Section 10-17a of this Code." - Illinois Administrative Code 105 ILCS 5/21B-70 

The application is to be completed ONLY if you are an eligible Illinois National Board Certified Teacher/Counselor from a "hard-to-staff" school. The USD 4,000.00 per year retention incentive for two consecutive years shall be paid to each qualified educator on a first-come, first-served basis who meets ALL criteria per year below:

  • Is currently employed as a full-time teacher or school counselor in an Illinois public school for the whole school year AND
  • holds a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designation on their Illinois Professional Educator License AND
  • is a current National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) AND
  • is employed in a "hard-to-staff school" as defined in Public Act 103-0207 for the whole school year

Please check the report below for more information regarding the eligible schools for the 2023-2024 incentive cycle below. There are a total of 2,881 eligible schools that employ educators who might by other factors above be determined to be eligible for the retention incentive. Please visit the NCES website, ISBE EBF Quick Facts, and Illinois Report Card for more information about your school, district, and other perspectives that you might find useful. The data from these sites are updated annually by ISBE. P lease refer to the Illinois School Report Card business rules to determine why a school may not appear on the report card. If you have questions about the business rules, please contact

If you fail to meet any of the criteria mentioned above, you are not eligible to receive the $4K Retention Incentive. You can also look over this flowchart to get an idea of whether you may qualify for this incentive.

Annual Eligibility Report (Last Updated November 2023): FY24 4K Incentive - All Eligible Schools by County
Eligibility is not determined by the NBRC . The eligibility of the schools for the Teacher Excellence incentive is obtained from the Illinois Report Card created by the Illinois State Board of Education. The contents of the report are compiled and released annually by ISBE. Please double-check your school's eligibility using this list. 

NBCTs must complete and submit the $4K Incentive application to confirm their eligibility:

  1. Search for your school on the FY24 4K Incentive - All Eligible Schools by County
  2. If you see your school building (not your district) listed on the FY24 4K Incentive - All Eligible Schools by County document, complete the application here . Applications are due by March 29, 2024, at midnight. Late applications will not be accepted. All eligible and approved NBCT applicants will be notified and posted on the Approval List in May 2024. 
    * If you have issues getting the application to open, please try another browser before contacting our office.
  3. The NBRC will contact you per your eligibility. If you are found eligible, we will email you documents that require immediate completion--by May 12, 2024, at midnight at the latest.

IMPORTANT: After your application information is verified in May, you will receive an email outlining the steps to fill out and submit an affidavit/attestation form.

After you are found eligible, you can check for your name on the  Approval List that will be available in May .

NOTE: Funds are available on a first-come, first-served, one-time basis for two consecutive years for those NBCTs that are approved. Continuation of this incentive is based on approved funding from ISBE each fiscal year.


For answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to our FAQ by clicking HERE !

For assistance regarding technical or processing issues, please contact

**NOTE: If you are not currently an NBCT but would like to learn more about the application process, please visit our Application for the Illinois National Board First Time Candidate Fee Subsidy page.