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 Students & Parents area or directly from the ISAC Student Portal. In order to apply online, the applicant must sign in to the Student Portal (if they have not already done so, they may create a profile here), select Program Applications & Status Checks, then select "SETTW Apply Here". The applicant should carefully read the instructions and eligibility requirements before beginning to complete the application.

After entering and submitting their data via the online application, students must follow the on-screen instructions to sign and submit the application to ISAC. Applicants will have the option of electronically signing and submitting the application (preferred method), or they may print and sign the application by hand and then mail it to ISAC. An e-mail acknowledgement is sent to the applicant by ISAC as soon as the application is received. The application is not complete until the signed Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note 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 tuition waiver is awarded.

After the application is submitted to ISAC and tuition waivers have been awarded, SETTW eligibility certification is completed by colleges via the SETTW system of the GAP Access portal. Colleges will be notified each academic year when the SETTW system is available.

The priority consideration date for the 2024-25 application was March 1, 2024. Complete applications submitted (i.e., electronically signed or postmarked) to ISAC 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 collects the applicant’s demographic information and college choice, education information (including the name of their high school if they will graduate in the current year) and reference information.

Student/Borrower Certifications and Signature

All applicants must read the Student/Borrower Certification and Signature section and the Terms & Conditions before signing the SETTW Teaching Agreement/Master Promissory Note. An applicant’s signature on the application, whether signed electronically or by hand, 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 SETTW Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note, an e-mail is sent acknowledging that their application was received (different e-mail acknowledgements are sent depending on whether the application is signed or unsigned).  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 SETTW Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note is received at ISAC. When applicable, an SETTW Notice of Incomplete Application is sent identifying the additional information that is needed.