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OESP Practice Agreement Requirements

{ISAC Rules, Section 2741.30}

TESP Enrollment Status Verification
OESP Practice Agreement
Extensions
Repayment
Deferments

ISAC monitors recipients’ fulfillment of Optometric Education Scholarship Program (OESP) practice agreement. If the recipient fails to meet the practice agreement, the scholarship converts to a loan. The scholarship program award received must be repaid, prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus any reasonable collection costs.

Enrollment Status Verification

At the end of each academic year, colleges are required to verify the enrollment statuses for OESP recipients by submitting a TESP Status Enrollment Verification roster to ISAC.

The TESP Enrollment Status Verification rosters 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 at My Zone 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 to ISAC.

OESP Practice Agreement

Prior to receiving scholarship assistance, recipients of the OESP, must sign a Practice Agreement/Promissory Note that shall include the following stipulations:

  • Promises to practice in Illinois as a licensed optometrist for a period of not less than one year for each year of scholarship assistance received.
  • Begin practicing optometry in Illinois within one year following completion of the academic program for which the student was awarded the scholarship and promises to practice on a continuous basis until they have fully completed their obligation.
  • If the requirement to practice optometry in Illinois is not fulfilled, the scholarship converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the amount of the scholarship(s), prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5%, and, if applicable, reasonable collection fees.

All scholarship funds must be used for educational expenses. Program recipients agree to provide ISAC with evidence of compliance with program requirements (e.g., respond to annual follow-up questionnaires, etc.).

Extensions

A recipient of the scholarship will not be in violation of their agreement during periods in which the recipient:

  • serves, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • is enrolled full-time in a residency program at an approved institution for one continuous period of time, not to exceed one year, following graduation;
  • is temporarily totally disabled for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician;
  • cannot fulfill the practice obligation due to his or her death, verified by a certified copy of a death certificate; or
  • cannot fulfill the practice obligation due to his or her disability or incompetency, as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician.

To qualify for any of these extensions, the recipient must provide to ISAC written evidence of your eligibility. Contact the ISAC Call Center for more information.

Repayment

If the recipient does not fulfill the requirement to practice optometry in Illinois, the scholarship converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s), prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5%, and, if applicable, reasonable collection fees. 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.

A recipient shall enter 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 certification as an optometrist;
  • the date the recipient informs ISAC that s/he does not plan to fulfill the practice obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which the recipient must have begun practicing as an optometrist after completing the education for which the scholarship was awarded.

A recipient shall not be required to repay the amount of the scholarship(s) received if s/he becomes permanently totally disabled, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed representative, or if his or her representative provides ISAC with a certified death certificate.

Deferments

The 10-year repayment period may be extended if the recipient:

  • serves, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • is enrolled full-time in a residency program at an approved institution for one continuous period of time, not to exceed one year, following graduation; or
  • is temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed physician.

During the time a recipient qualifies for a deferments or an extension, s/he is not required to make payments 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.