JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Eligibility Requirements

NOTE: Effective beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, the Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible Illinois undocumented students and transgender students who are disqualified from federal financial aid to apply for all forms of state financial aid. Further details are provided in the Pathway to Apply for ISAC Programs section of the RISE Act page.

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
  • Meet one of the following conditions: you are a high school graduate; or you are scheduled to graduate from an approved high school by the end of the academic year in which the award is made and you performed in the upper half of your graduating class according to performance-based academic data provided by the high school; or you hold a valid teaching license that is not in the discipline of special education
  • Be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, at one of the eligible public four-year colleges in Illinois (providing the institution offers a concentration in Special Education) as an undergraduate or graduate student seeking initial licensure in any area of special education
  • Be enrolled in a program of special education within 10 days after the beginning of the term for which the waiver was initially awarded
  • Not at any time have received cumulative Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver benefits that equal or exceed the program maximum of four calendar years (note that, once you obtain an initial licensure in any area of special education, you are no longer eligible for this program regardless of how many years you have used the waiver)
  • Complete the application process by:
    • submitting a fully-completed Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program application, which includes the Teaching Agreement/Master Promissory Note (in order to receive priority consideration for an award, the complete application must be received at ISAC on or before the March 1 immediately preceding the academic year for which the tuition waiver is requested),
    • being certified as meeting eligibility requirements by the college at which you will use the tuition waiver, and
    • accepting the tuition waiver (if one is offered)*
  • Sign the application's Teaching Agreement/Master Promissory Note promising to fulfill the teaching commitment or repay funds received plus interest
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your college
  • Remain in attendance at the college on a continuous basis for up to four years (unless granted an approved leave of absence, in which case the course of study must be completed within six years)
  • Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant.
  • Comply with federal Selective Service registration requirements (see the note at the top of this section for possible exceptions)
  • Not receive funds from the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program or the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program during the same term(s) for which you receive funds from the Illinois SETTW Program.

* Once an academic year has ended, adjustments to benefits received will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., the applicant cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate eligibility for the future).