JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Application Procedures for SETTW

{ISAC Rules, Part 2765.30}

Application Process Overview
Application Completion
Acknowledgement of Application
Incomplete Applications

Application Process Overview

The Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note can be accessed from the SETTW Application page in the student and parent area or directly from the ISAC Student Portal. An applicant can sign into the student portal (either as a guest or the student already set up a profile and has an account), select Program Applications & Status Checks, then select SETTW Apply Here, sign-in and carefully read the instructions and eligibility requirements before selecting the “Start Application” button at the bottom, of the page.

After entering and submitting their data via the online application, students must follow the on-screen instructions to print the application, sign it, and mail page one to ISAC. In addition, an Email Acknowledgement with instructions reminding them to sign and mail page one of the application to ISAC is sent as soon as they submit the application data. The application is not complete until the Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note with an original ink signature, is received at ISAC. For priority consideration, ISAC must receive a complete application on or before March 1st preceding the academic year for which the applicant is applying.

By signing the application's Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note, the student promises to fulfill their teaching requirement according to the rules of the program under which they receive assistance. The applicant’s signature is legally binding. The applicant is promising to fulfill the teaching requirement or repay the funds received (prorated as appropriate) plus 5% interest and any reasonable collection costs. Recipients must begin to fulfill their teaching requirements within one year following the completion of the postsecondary education degree or certificate program for which the scholarship is awarded.

After the application is submitted to ISAC, SETTW processing will be done by colleges via the SETTW system on the GAP Access portal beginning with the 2021-22 academic year. Colleges will be notified when the SETTW system and SETTW User Guide is available.

The priority consideration date for the 2021-22 application was March 1, 2021. Complete applications postmarked after March 1 will be considered only if available waivers remain after all timely complete applicants have been awarded.

Application Completion

The SETTW application entry includes:

Section A – Applicant Information

All applicants must complete Section A of the application, which includes the applicant’s demographic information and college choice, check boxes to indicate whether they will graduate from high school in the current academic year or in a prior academic year, the name of their high school if they will graduate in the current year and reference information.

Section B – Required for Licensed Teachers Only

Applicants who are licensed teachers in the state of Illinois must complete section B. A licensed teacher, for purposes of this program, is defined as any person holding a valid teaching license that is not in the discipline of Special Education. A licensed teacher must be seeking initial licensure in a special education discipline to be eligible for the Illinois SETTW program.

Licensed teachers must sign and date Section B of the application. The application and a copy of their credential page from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) must be submitted to ISAC postmarked on or before March 1 preceding the academic year for which the waiver will be used for priority consideration.

Student/Borrower Certifications and Signature

All applicants must read the Student/Borrower Certification and Signature section and the terms of agreement before signing the SETTW Teaching Agreement/Master Promissory Note. An applicant’s signature on the application constitutes agreement with the terms and conditions of the program. The Teaching Agreement/Master Promissory Note shall include the following stipulations:

  1. the recipient pledges to begin teaching, on a full-time basis, in the field of special education at a nonprofit public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school in Illinois within one year following graduation from or termination of enrollment in a teacher education program and to continue teaching for at least 2 of the 5 years immediately following.
  2. if the teaching requirement is not fulfilled, the tuition waiver converts to a loan and the recipient must repay the entire amount of the tuition waiver (prorated according to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed), plus interest at a rate equal to 5% per annum; and
  3. the recipient agrees to provide ISAC with evidence of compliance with program requirements (e.g., responses to annual follow-up questionnaires, etc.).

If the application is incomplete, ISAC will notify the applicant. The applicant will then have an opportunity to furnish the missing information; however the application will be considered for processing as of the date that Section A – Applicant Information is complete and received at ISAC.

Acknowledgement of Application

When ISAC receives the applicant’s signed promissory note, an email acknowledgement that their application was received and is being processed is sent. An SETTW Notice of Timely Application is sent if the application is received on or before the priority deadline of March 1. An SETTW Notice of Untimely Application is sent if the application is received after the March 1. The letter also reminds applicants to:

  • notify the school they will be attending of their enrollment plans; and
  • notify ISAC in writing of any changes to their enrollment plans or address changes.

Incomplete Applications

For purposes of the application priority consideration date, applications will not be considered for processing until the date that a signed application/Promissory note is received at ISAC. If an application was entered in the Student Portal but a signed promissory note is not received at ISAC within 10 days, a reminder letter is sent to the applicant. An SETTW Notice of Incomplete Application is sent identifying the additional information that is needed.