Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I apply?
- Complete the online Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or (if applicable) Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. Read and follow all instructions carefully, including how to enter your data, complete and submit the applications and – for the MTI application – corresponding Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note.
- Once MTI application data has been successfully submitted online, a confirmation page will display to verify the exact date and time it was received by ISAC.
- Incomplete MTI application data cannot be saved, and will not be submitted to ISAC. Once you start to complete the application online, you must fully complete all required fields and then submit the completed application data. If you are unable to fully complete all required fields, you will need to begin the online process again when you are ready to provide and submit all data.
- For priority consideration, complete applications must be submitted on or before March 31 preceding the academic year for which you are applying. All other applications will be processed in date-received order, within program guidelines.
2. What are the selection criteria?
ISAC selects recipients among qualified applicants based on a combination of program-specific selection criteria.
- The total number of scholarships awarded in a given fiscal year is contingent upon available funding.
- When appropriated funds for this program are insufficient to provide scholarships for all qualified applicants during any fiscal year, available funds will be awarded to qualified students who submit complete timely applications (i.e., the complete MTI Scholarship application and FAFSA or Alternative Application are submitted no later than March 31) based on the following priority order:
- Scholarships will first be awarded to renewal applicants who continue to meet all of the program’s eligibility requirements (including minority student status). You are considered a renewal applicant if during the previous academic year you received funds from the program for which you are currently applying.
- If funds remain after all qualified renewal applicants have been awarded, then at least 35 percent of appropriated funds will be reserved for male qualified applicants. If enough applications are not received on or before January 1 of each fiscal year to award 35 percent of available funds to male qualified minority applicants, then a portion of the reserved funds will be awarded to female qualified minority applicants.
- When at least $2,850,000, but less than $4,200,000 is appropriated for this program in a given fiscal year, then – to the extent allowed by the amount of funding that remains – at least ten percent of the appropriated funds will be reserved for qualified bilingual minority applicants, with priority given to those applicants who are enrolled in an educator preparation program with a concentration in bilingual, bicultural education.
- When at least $4,200,000 is appropriated for this program in a given fiscal year, then – to the extent allowed by the amount of funding that remains – at least 30 percent of the appropriated funds will be reserved for qualified bilingual minority applicants, with priority given to those applicants who are enrolled in an educator preparation program with a concentration in bilingual, bicultural education.
- If sufficient funding remains after awarding has been completed for applicants included in priority categories 1-4 (above), then awards may be made to other qualified applicants.
- If the appropriated funding for this program in any given year is insufficient to award all qualified applicants within any of the priority categories 1-5 (above), then awards within that category will be prioritized as follows:
- to students that demonstrate the most financial need;
- to students with the earliest date of received complete applications (i.e., in date-received order); and
- to qualified applicants enrolled at or above the junior level.
3. How will I know if I am awarded a teacher scholarship?
- The financial aid office at the school you indicated on your application will certify your eligibility to participate in the MTI Scholarship Program.
- Your school must certify your eligibility for the scholarship before an award is determined. You will be considered a qualified applicant if a complete MTI application and FAFSA or Alternative Application is submitted, and your school certifies you as eligible for the scholarship.
- ISAC will notify you, in writing, of your eligibility status. You will receive one of the following letters:
- Notice of Eligibility
- Notice of Ineligibility
- Notice of Unavailable Funds
4. Who determines the scholarship amount, and how is the money disbursed?
Your school will determine the amount, up to $5,000, and the number of disbursements.
Your school will certify your enrollment and request payment for each term. Funds are multiply disbursed based on your enrollment status and period of enrollment. If you fail to meet any of the eligibility requirements during the academic year, all undisbursed funds will be deobligated and awarded to the next eligible applicant(s).
5. What expenses does the scholarship cover?
The scholarship award amount can be applied to tuition, fees, allowance for books, supplies, and room and board expenses charged by the school for students living on-campus; or tuition, fees, allowance for books and supplies, and the standard commuter cost-of-living allowance for students living off-campus. Based on current appropriation levels, the MTI Scholarship amount cannot exceed $5,000 per academic year.
6. Can I receive additional financial aid if I receive a scholarship?
Yes. However the amount of the scholarship plus other financial aid cannot exceed the total cost of attendance.
7. Will I automatically be considered for the MTI Scholarship for the next academic year?
No. A new Application/Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note/Student Certification must be submitted to ISAC, and the FAFSA or Alternative Application must be submitted, for each academic year by the March 31 application priority consideration date. To qualify for an additional MTI Scholarship you must continue to meet all the eligibility requirements as previously stated.
8. What is the teaching agreement and how is it fulfilled?
If you are an MTI Scholarship recipient, you must teach one year on a full-time basis 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), or
- if you received the MTI Scholarship as a qualified bilingual minority applicant, in a transitional bilingual education program or in a school in which at least 20 English learner students in the same language classification are enrolled.
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.
You will be required to submit evidence that you are complying with program requirements.
9. What happens if I fail to fulfill my teaching commitment for MTI?
If the teaching commitment 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. If applicable, you will pay reasonable collection costs.
The interest rate is 5%. Refer to the promissory note (located in the Terms and Conditions) for an explanation of the extensions and deferments available to you to extend the time period to fulfill your teaching and/or repayment obligation.
10. What if I do not make my loan payments for MTI?
If you do not make your payments as scheduled, your loan may go into default status. Possible consequences of default for any educational loan include:
- Your default may be reported to all national credit bureaus. You may not be able to get credit cards (e.g., VISA, MasterCard, or department store), car loans, mortgages, etc.
- Your negative credit rating will stay on your credit history for seven (7) years after the loan is repaid.
- You may lose future eligibility for financial aid, including student loans.
- You may be sued, and court costs/legal fees will be added to what you owe.
- Your federal and state income tax refunds may be withheld.
- Your Illinois professional license may not be renewed.
- Your employer may withhold part of your salary for payment of your loan.