The number of awards made through this program, as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.
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To encourage Illinois students to work, and to continue to work, as social workers in public school districts and Illinois municipalities, the School and Municipal Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program provides assistance toward the repayment of student loans. The program is intended to assist in paying eligible loans as an incentive to participate in the social work field, particularly by minority applicants, who are underrepresented as school and municipal social workers. A one-time award of up to $6,500 is available.
To be eligible, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen or meet the "undocumented student" criteria of the RISE Act
- Be an Illinois resident
- Have an outstanding balance due on an eligible educational loan (includes Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans, consolidation loans, Supplemental Loans for Students, alternative loans, and other types of government and institutional loans used for education expenses)
- Be an individual holding a degree in social work who is currently employed, and was so employed, for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of application (for example: "August 2, 2022 – August 1, 2023”) by:
- an Illinois public elementary school,
- an Illinois public secondary school, or
- a city, village, or incorporated town in the state of Illinois, excluding social workers employed by police departments.
- Not be in default on any federal guaranteed educational loan, nor owe a refund on any scholarship or grant program administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).
When it becomes available each year, the School and Municipal Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program application may be accessed via the Applications page of this website. You must submit your application to ISAC's Deerfield office as indicated on the application. Allow at least four weeks for processing.
Qualified applicants are sent a Notice of Eligibility from ISAC.
An authorized official of your employer is required to complete a section of your application, certifying that you have met the employment requirements of the program.
If your application, including required documentation, is incomplete, you will receive a letter from ISAC explaining the reason(s) and advising how to resolve the issue.
Recipients are selected from among qualified new applicants, with priority given to minority applicants. The total number of awards each year is contingent upon available funding. If funding in any given year is insufficient to pay all eligible applicants, awarding will be based on the date the complete application (with all required documentation) is received at ISAC's Deerfield office.
Award amounts are based on the applicant's remaining balance on eligible education loans, not to exceed $6,500. Proceeds will be remitted directly from the State of Illinois Comptroller's Office to the holder/servicer/lender of the loan(s) to be repaid.
Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.
For the 2024 Fiscal Year
(last updated on August 1, 2023):
ISAC is accepting School and Municipal Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program applications for the 2024 fiscal year (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024).
Allow at least 4-6 weeks for the processing of the application, at which time you will be notified by ISAC regarding your eligibility status.