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TESP Program Requirements

{ISAC Rules, Sections 2763.30, 2764.30 and 2765.30}

Overview
TESP Enrollment Status Verification
Teaching Requirements by Program

Overview

ISAC monitors recipients’ fulfillment of each program’s teaching requirement for the Teacher Education Scholarship Programs (TESP). By signing the Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note on the application, the student promises to fulfill their teaching requirement according to the rules of the program under which they receive assistance. The student's signature is legally binding. If the recipient fails to meet the teaching requirement, the scholarship converts to a loan. The scholarship program award received must be repaid, prorated according to the fraction of the teaching requirement not completed, plus interest and any reasonable collection costs.

Enrollment Status Verification

Each fall, colleges are required to submit Enrollment Status Verification rosters to ISAC , via the My Zone portal. ISAC uses the data from these rosters to monitor scholarship recipients’ enrollment status, which determines the date on which each program’s teaching requirement begins. ISAC then tracks recipients’ employment from the time they leave school until the teaching commitment is fulfilled.

In addition to the rosters, the college must also complete a Tuition Waiver Conversion for (TWCF) for all SETTW recipients who are no longer in school. The TESP Enrollment Status Verification rosters and TWCFs must be completed online at My Zone which is available each Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. (CT).

Refer to TESP Enrollment Status Verification within the TESP My Zone pages for an overview of the process and the TESP Enrollment Status Verification Quick Reference Guide for step-by step instructions for completing and submitting a roster and a SETTW TWCF to ISAC.

Teaching Requirements by Program

Refer to the specific program requirements for each of the Teacher Education Scholarship Programs below:

Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program
Illinois Future Teacher Corps (IFTC) Program
Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver SETTW) Program
DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship (DTSS) Program

Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship

Teaching Requirements

MTI recipients must teach one year on a full-time basis for each year of assistance received or portion of an academic year for which aid was received.  The teaching obligation must be fulfilled at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary, or secondary school at which no less than 30 percent of the enrolled students are minority students as certified by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Teaching must begin within one year following termination from the program of study funded by the scholarship, and continue until the teaching obligation is fulfilled.

The percentage of an Illinois school's enrolled students meeting minority status requirements can be found at ISBE's eReport Card Public Site. School information is available dating back to 1998.

Extensions

The period to fulfill the teaching requirement may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is enrolled full-time in a graduate course of study related to the field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;  
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is actively seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment as a teacher at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school, at which no less than 30 percent of the enrolled students are minority students as certified by ISBE, for one continuous period, not to exceed two years in duration;
  • is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or
  • is fulfilling teaching requirement associated with other programs administered by ISAC if unable to concurrently fulfill them in a period of time equal to the length of the teaching obligation.

To qualify for any of these extensions, the recipient must provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Extension Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Repayment

If the teaching requirement is not fulfilled, the scholarship received converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the scholarships prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5% and any reasonable collection fees. If a recipient is required to repay any portion of a tuition waiver awarded, the repayment period shall be completed within 10 years after the scholarship converts to a loan.

A recipient enters repayment status on the earliest of the following dates:

  • the first day of the first calendar month after the recipient has ceased to pursue a course of study leading to applicable certification as a teacher at the preschool, elementary or secondary level, but not before six months have elapsed after the cessation of at least half-time enrollment in such a course of study;
  • the date the recipient informs ISAC that s/he does not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or 
  • the day after the latest date upon which the recipient must have begun teaching after completing the postsecondary education for which the assistance was awarded.

Award recipients will not be required to repay the amount of the scholarship(s) received if they become permanently totally disabled (as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician), or if their representative provides ISAC with a death certificate or other evidence that they have died.

Deferments

Repayment periods may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension); 
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension); 
  • is seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment, for one continuous period not to exceed two years;
  • withdraws from a course of study leading to certification as a teacher but is enrolled full-time in another academic discipline; or
  • is pursuing a graduate course of study and is enrolled on a full-time basis (maximum three year extension in one continuous period).

During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments listed above, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

To qualify for any of these deferments, the recipient must complete and provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Deferment Request Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Illinois Future Teachers Corps (IFTC) Scholarship

Teaching Requirements

IFTC recipients must teach on a full-time basis for not less than five years and in accordance with any additional commitment to teach in a teacher shortage discipline or at a hard-to-staff school, or both. Teaching must begin within one year following termination from the program of study funded by the scholarship, and continue until the obligation is fulfilled. The teaching requirement must be fulfilled at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school and if the recipient made a commitment to teach at a hard-to-staff school, the school must qualify for teacher loan cancellation.

Recipients of both the DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship (DTSS) and the IFTC program, must fulfill the requirements of the IFTC program.

listing of designated teacher shortage areas that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) each year (dating back to the 1990-91 academic year) is provided by ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education, with information specific to Illinois beginning on page 48 of the listing. Note that, in addition to the ED-approved teacher shortage areas, Early Childhood Education is also included for the IFTC Program.

Illinois schools included on ED's list for teacher loan forgiveness will be used as the list for hard-to-staff schools. The teaching requirement can only be fulfilled at the Illinois schools on the list at the time the teaching obligation begins. ED's listing reflects Illinois school data through the 2016-17 academic year.

Extensions

The period to fulfill the teaching requirement may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is enrolled full-time in a graduate course of study related to the field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is actively seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment as a teacher at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school, for one continuous period of time - which shall not exceed two years in duration;
  • is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; and, for DTSS, is taking additional coursework to gain Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approval to teach in a specified teacher shortage discipline; or
  • is fulfilling teaching requirement associated with other programs administered by ISAC if unable to concurrently fulfill them in a period of time equal to the length of the teaching commitment.

To qualify for any of these extensions, the recipient must provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Extension Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Repayment

If the teaching requirement is not fulfilled, the scholarship received converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the award prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5% and any reasonable collection fees. If a recipient is required to repay any portion of a tuition waiver awarded, the repayment period shall be completed within 10 years after the scholarship converts to a loan.

A recipient enters repayment status on the earliest of the following dates:

  • the first day of the first calendar month after the recipient has ceased to pursue a course of study leading to applicable certification as a teacher, but not before six months have elapsed after the cessation of at least half-time enrollment in such a course of study;
  • the date the recipient informs ISAC that s/he does not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or 
  • the day after the latest date upon which the recipient must have begun teaching after completing the postsecondary education for which the assistance was awarded.

Award recipients will not be required to repay the amount of the scholarship(s) received if they become permanently totally disabled (as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician), or if their representative provides ISAC with a death certificate or other evidence that they have died.

Deferments

Repayment periods may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is pursuing a graduate course of study and is enrolled on a full-time basis (maximum three year extension in one continuous period);
  • is seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment, for one continuous period not to exceed two years; or
  • withdraws from a course of study leading to certification/approval in a teacher shortage discipline, but is enrolled at least half-time as an undergraduate (maximum three years extension in one continuous period).

During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments listed above, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

To qualify for any of these deferments, the recipient must complete and provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Deferment Request Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW)

Teaching Requirements

SETTW recipients must begin teaching on a full-time basis in the field of Special Education, within one year following graduation from or termination of enrollment in a teacher education program, at an Illinois nonprofit public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school and continue teaching for at least 2 of the 5 years immediately following.

SETTW recipients, including those who are pursuing or have secured a position as a Speech-Language Pathologist, should take note that in order to fulfill the teaching requirements, their position must be that of a “teacher”, as certified by their employing school official.  A “teacher” is defined as a person who provides direct classroom-type teaching or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting.

Accordingly, only if a Speech-Language Pathologist’s teaching position meets the above definition, and is certified as such by the school official, would the position be considered as fulfilling the SETTW teaching requirements.

Extensions

The five-year time period to fulfill the teaching requirement may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is enrolled full-time in an academic programs related to the field of teaching, leading to a graduate or postgraduate degree;
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is actively seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment as a teacher at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school, for one continuous period of time - which shall not exceed two years in duration ;
  • is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or
  • is fulfilling teaching requirement associated with other programs administered by ISAC if unable to concurrently fulfill them in a period of time equal to the length of the teaching obligation.

To qualify for any of these extensions, the recipient must provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Extension Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Repayment

If the teaching requirement is not fulfilled, the scholarship received converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the award prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5% and any reasonable collection fees. If a recipient is required to repay any portion of a tuition waiver awarded prior to July 1, 2014, the repayment period shall be completed within five years after the tuition waiver converts to a loan. If a recipient is required to repay any portion of a tuition waiver awarded after July 1, 2014, the repayment period shall be completed within 10 years after the tuition waiver converts to a loan.

A recipient enters repayment status on the earliest of the following dates:

  • the first day of the first calendar month after the recipient has ceased to pursue a course of study leading to initial certification as a teacher in Special Education, but not before six months have elapsed after the cessation of at least half-time enrollment in such a course of study. A recipient who has transferred and is waiting to be accepted into a Special Education program at a new university is not subject to this provision provided s/he is enrolled and is pursuing course work that meets the new university’s requirements to gain admission to the Special Education program;
  • the date the recipient informs ISAC that s/he does not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the latest date upon which the recipient must have begun teaching in order to complete the teaching obligation within five years after completing the postsecondary education for which the waiver was awarded.

Award recipients will not be required to repay the amount of the scholarship(s) received if they become permanently totally disabled (as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician), or if their representative provides ISAC with a death certificate or other evidence that they have died.

Deferments

Repayment periods may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is pursuing a graduate or postgraduate degree and is enrolled on a full-time basis (maximum three year extension in one continuous period);
  • is seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment, for one continuous period not to exceed two years; or
  • withdraws from a course of study leading to teacher certification in Special Education but remains enrolled on at least a half-time basis in another academic discipline.

During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments listed above, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

To qualify for any of these deferments, the recipient must complete and provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Deferment Request Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

DeBolt Teachers Shortage Scholarship Program (DTSS)

Teaching Requirement

A recipient of both the DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship (DTSS) and the IFTC program, must fulfill the requirements of the IFTC program.

DTSS recipients must teach one year on a full-time basis in a designated teacher shortage discipline, for each year, or portion of the academic year for which aid was received. The teaching requirement must be fulfilled within five years following termination from the program of study funded by the scholarship, and continue until the obligation is fulfilled at an Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, elementary, or secondary school for each year of assistance received.

A listing of designated teacher shortage areas that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) each year (dating back to the 2002-03 academic year) is provided at the Designated Teacher Shortage Areas page of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) website.

Extensions

The five-year period to fulfill the teaching requirement may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is enrolled full-time as a graduate in a course of study related to your field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is actively seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment as a teacher at an Illinois public, private or parochial preschool or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school, for one continuous period of time - which shall not exceed two years in duration; or
  • is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to gain ISBE approval to teach in a specialized teacher shortage discipline.

To qualify for any of these extensions, the recipient must provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Extension Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Repayment

If the teaching obligation is not fulfilled, the scholarship converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s) prorated to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest at a variable rate that is no greater than the highest rate applicable to new student loans made under FFELP, and if applicable, reasonable collection fees.

A recipient enters repayment status on the earliest of the following dates: 

  • Six months after the first day of the calendar month after s/he stopped pursuing, on a half-time basis, a course of study leading to certification as a teacher in a designated teacher shortage discipline;
  • The date ISAC is informed that s/he does not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • The day after the latest date upon which s/he must have begun teaching.

Award recipients will not be required to repay the amount of the scholarship(s) received if they become permanently totally disabled (as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician), or if their representative provides ISAC with a death certificate or other evidence that they have died.

Deferments

If a recipient is required to repay any portion of the scholarship, the repayment period must be completed within 10 years after the scholarship converts to a loan. Repayment periods may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves as a member of the United States Armed Forces (maximum three year extension);
  • is temporarily totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician (maximum three year extension);
  • is pursuing a graduate course of study and is enrolled on a full-time basis (maximum three year extension in one continuous period);
  • is seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment for one continuous period not to exceed two years; or
  • withdraws from a course of study leading to certification/approval in a teacher shortage discipline, but remains enrolled at least half-time in another academic discipline (maximum three year extension in one continuous period).

During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments listed above, payment is not required and interest does not accrue

To qualify for any of these deferments, the recipient must complete and provide to ISAC the Program Requirements Deferment Request Form. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.