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Program Requirements

Some financial aid programs have requirements that must be fulfilled as a condition to receiving the financial aid. If the requirements are not met, the financial aid received will convert to a loan. Program requirements for Illinois’ scholarship programs are as follows:

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

How to Document Fulfillment of Your Commitment

For programs with an associated commitment, you are required to provide documentation that you are fulfilling your obligation.  Once you have secured a position you must inform ISAC. See the below program descriptions to determine the timeframe within which you must begin teaching/practicing, and the length of your time commitment, based on the program you received. Additionally, at the end of each year (academic year for teachers) during the time you are fulfilling your commitment, you must provide us with a letter documenting your employment. If you are a self-employed optometrist, you must provide evidence of your practice. The letter, on employer letterhead, is to be sent to us:

by mail: Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Attn: Program Requirements Department, Mail Code D-1C
1755 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield IL 60015
by fax: 847.831.8549

To ensure your personal information is kept secure, we do not recommend sending the letter via e-mail.

The letter must contain the following information:

  • Your name, last four digits of your Social Security number and permanent address
  • Name and address of employer, and if applicable, type of school
  • Start and end date of the teaching period/practice
  • Teaching/practice status (full or part time, substitute, etc.) and if applicable, grade level(s), teaching shortage discipline(s) and field of special education
  • Name and signature of authorized official or school principal  

Those recipients who are required to teach as part of their financial aid requirements may find these websites helpful in locating a teaching position in the required field/area:

Illinois Future Teacher Corps (IFTC) Program

2011-12 IFTC Program Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note/Terms and Conditions

If you are a recipient of both the DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship (DTSS) and the IFTC program, you must fulfill the requirements of the IFTC program.

If you are a recipient of the IFTC program, you must teach for a period of not less than five years on a full-time basis at a nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school. You must begin teaching within the one year following your termination from the program of study funded by the scholarship, and continue until the obligation is fulfilled. Your teaching must fulfill the commitment/agreement that you signed prior to receiving the program benefits, e.g., if you made a commitment to teach in a teacher shortage discipline and/or at a hard to staff school, you must fulfill your five years of teaching accordingly.

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. To view ED’s list for teacher loan forgiveness, visit the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory page and, in the box entitled “User Agreement,” click on the box indicating you agree and consent to the terms and conditions, then click on the “Search” button. ED's listing reflects Illinois school data through the 2016-17 academic year.

Extensions

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

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • enrolled full-time as a graduate student in a course of study related to your field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;
  • temporarily totally disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician; or
  • 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.
  • taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or
  • fulfilling the teaching requirements associated with other programs administered by ISAC and 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, you must complete and 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 you must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s) prorated according to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest. The repayment period for the amount due must be completed within 10 years after the scholarship(s) convert to a loan. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs. The interest rate is 5 percent.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • six months after the first day of the calendar month after you 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 you do not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you 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. The repayment obligation may be temporarily postponed if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • pursuing a graduate course of study and enrolled on a full-time basis for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years;
  • seeking and unable to find full-time employment for one continuous period, not to exceed two years; or
  • withdrawn from a course of study leading to certification/approval in a teacher shortage discipline, but remain enrolled at least half-time in another academic discipline for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years.

During the time a recipient qualifies for deferment, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

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

DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship Program (DTSS)

If you are a recipient of both the DeBolt Teacher Shortage Scholarship (DTSS) and the IFTC program, you must fulfill the requirements of the IFTC program.

If you are solely a DTSS recipient, you must teach one year on a full-time basis in a designated teacher shortage discipline for each academic year, or a portion of the academic year, for which you received the DTSS award. This teaching obligation must be fulfilled at an Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school. You must fulfill the teaching obligation within five years following your termination from the program of study funded by the scholarship.

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 you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • enrolled full-time as a graduate student in a course of study related to your field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;
  • temporarily totally disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • 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, for one continuous period of time—which shall not exceed two years in duration; or
  • 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, you must complete and 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 you must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s) prorated to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest within 10 years. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs. The interest rate for repayment is determined in accordance with federal regulations for the highest rate applicable to new student loans under the FFEL Program.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • six months after the first day of the calendar month after you 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 you do not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you 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. The repayment obligation may be temporarily postponed if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • pursuing a graduate course of study and enrolled on a full-time basis for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years;
  • seeking and unable to find full-time employment for one continuous period, not to exceed two years; or
  • withdrawn from a course of study leading to certification/approval in a teacher shortage discipline, but remain enrolled at least half-time in another academic discipline for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years.

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

Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program

If you are a MTI Scholarship recipient, you must teach on a full-time basis one year for each academic year, or portion of an academic year, in which you received the award. This 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). You must begin teaching 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 you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • enrolled full-time as a graduate student in a course of study related to your field of teaching at an institution of higher learning;
  • temporarily totally disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • 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;
  • taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or
  • fulfilling teaching requirements associated with other programs administered by ISAC and 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, you must complete and 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 you must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s) prorated to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest, within 10 years. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs. The interest rate is 5 percent.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • six months after the first day of the calendar month after you stopped pursuing, on a half-time basis, a course of study leading to certification as a teacher at the preschool, elementary or secondary school level;
  • the date ISAC is informed that you do not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you 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. The repayment obligation may be temporarily postponed if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment for one continuous period, not to exceed two years;
  • withdrawn from a course of study leading to certification as a teacher, but remain enrolled full-time in another academic discipline; or
  • pursuing a graduate course of study and are enrolled on a full-time basis for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years.

During the time a recipient qualifies for deferment, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

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

Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program

If you received any assistance through the SETTW Program, you must teach two years on a full-time basis in the field of special education. This teaching obligation must be fulfilled at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school beginning within one year immediately following graduation or termination of enrollment and continuing for two of the subsequent five years.

Those recipients 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.  The U.S. Department of Education (ED) defines a “teacher” 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 period to fulfill the teaching requirement may be extended if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • enrolled full-time in an academic program related to the field of teaching, leading to a graduate or postgraduate degree;
  • temporarily totally disabled for a period of time not to exceed three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • actively seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment as a teacher at an Illinois nonprofit public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school for one continuous period, not to exceed two years;
  • taking additional courses on at least a half-time basis, in order to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or
  • fulfilling teaching requirements associated with other programs administered by ISAC and 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, you must complete and 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 amount received through the tuition waiver converts to a loan, and you must repay the entire amount prorated to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest within ten years. (For tuition waivers awarded prior to July 1, 2014, the repayment term is five years.) If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs. The interest rate is 5 percent.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • six months after the first day of the calendar month after you stopped pursuing, on a half-time basis, a course of study leading to initial certification as a teacher in Special Education (if you have transferred and are waiting to be accepted into a Special Education program at the new university, then you are not subject to this provision provided you are enrolled and are pursuing coursework that meets the new university’s requirements to gain admission to the Special Education program);
  • the date ISAC is informed that you do not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you must have begun teaching in order to complete the teaching obligation within the prescribed timeframe.

Award recipients will not be required to repay the amount of the tuition waiver(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 waiver, the repayment period shall be completed within ten years after the waiver converts to a loan. (For repayment obligations that began prior to July 1, 2014, the repayment term is five years.) The repayment obligation may be temporarily postponed if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment for one continuous period not to exceed two years;
  • withdrawn from a course of study leading to a teacher certification in Special Education, but remain enrolled on at least a half-time basis in another academic discipline; or
  • pursuing a graduate or postgraduate degree and are enrolled on a full- time basis for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years.

During the time a recipient qualifies for deferment, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

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

Nurse Educator Scholarship Program (NESP)

If you were a recipient of the now-expired Nurse Educator Scholarship Program, you must work as an educator in an approved program of professional nursing education or an approved program of practical nursing education for five years at an approved Illinois institution. (Due to the many different opportunities to teach, there is no set minimum number of hours that a nurse educator must work to fulfill this commitment. The approved Illinois institution makes the determination of what is considered as one year of teaching.) You must begin teaching within one year following your termination from the program of study for which you received assistance, and continue until the obligation is fulfilled. Your teaching must fulfill the commitment/agreement that you signed prior to receiving the program benefits, as certified by an authorized individual at the approved Illinois institution.

All proceeds received must have been 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

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

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • temporarily totally disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • actively seeking, but unable to find, employment as a nurse educator at an approved Illinois institution for one continuous period of time—which shall not exceed two years in duration; or
  • taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification in a nursing educator program in Illinois.

To qualify for any of these extensions, you must complete and 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 amount of proceeds received (including scholarship and stipend dollars) converts to a loan, and you must repay the entire amount of the award prorated to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, plus interest within 10 years. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs. The interest rate is 5 percent.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • six months after the first day of the calendar month after you stopped pursuing, on a half-time basis, a course of study leading to certification as a nursing educator;
  • the date ISAC is informed that you do not plan to fulfill the teaching obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you 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 proceeds received, the repayment period must be completed within 10 years after the award converts to a loan. The repayment obligation may be temporarily postponed if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces; 
  • temporarily totally disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician;
  • seeking and unable to find full-time employment for one continuous period, not to exceed two years;
  • withdrawn from a course of study leading to certification as a nursing educator, but are enrolled full-time in another academic discipline, not to exceed three years; or
  • pursuing a graduate course of study and are enrolled on a full-time basis for one continuous period of time, not to exceed three years.

During the time a recipient qualifies for deferment, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

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

Optometric Education Scholarship Program

If you are an Optometric Education Scholarship Program recipient, you must practice in Illinois as a licensed optometrist for a period of not less than one year for each year of scholarship assistance received. You must also begin practicing optometry in Illinois within one year following completion of the academic program for which you were awarded the scholarship and practice on a continuous basis until the obligation is fully completed.

Extensions

You will not be in violation of the agreement during periods in which you are:

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

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

Repayment

If the requirement to practice optometry in Illinois is not fulfilled, the scholarship converts to a loan and you must repay the entire amount of the scholarship(s), prorated according to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest within 10 years. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection fees. The interest rate is 5 percent.

The repayment period starts and interest begins to accrue on the earliest of the following dates:

  • the first day of the first calendar month after you have ceased to pursue a course of study leading to certification as an optometrist;
  • the date you inform ISAC that you do not plan to fulfill the practice obligation; or
  • the day after the latest date upon which you must have begun practicing as an optometrist after completing the education for which the scholarship 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

If you are required to repay any portion of the scholarship, the repayment period must be completed within 10 years after the scholarship converts to a loan. The 10-year period may be extended if you are:

  • serving, for not more than three years, as a member of the United States Armed Forces;
  • 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
  • temporarily disabled, for not more than three years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a licensed qualified physician.

During the time a recipient qualifies for deferment, payment is not required and interest does not accrue.

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