DECATUR, Ill. – Public School teachers will now be eligible for a new tuition reimbursement program under new legislation introduced by state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur.
“Teachers are one of the most critical occupations to our society yet, they are critically undervalued for the work and skillset they provide for our education system,” said Scherer. “Many teachers have to go the extra mile financially for their students and lesson plans to have an effective and successful year of instruction, the reimbursement program will relieve some of our teachers of the financial burden of paying such high student loan debt when they give their services to Illinois schools.”
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, in 2017 the state had about 1,000 unfilled teaching positions. This year in 2021, that number is nearly 1,700 with 77% of Illinois School District reporting teacher shortages or difficulty hiring substitute teachers.
Scherer’s legislation will require the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to establish a teacher reimbursement grant program used for tuition and mandatory fees paid to a public institution of higher learning in the State. Eligible teachers may receive grants for the purpose of reimbursement worth 8 semesters of intuition for up to 10 years as a part of the program.
“We need to actively address the teaching shortage in our state as the pandemic and other factors have led to an increased need for educators,” said Scherer. “Not only will this encourage more individuals to pursue a career in education but it will also give our educators benefits and resources they deserve for the service they provide to our state and their communities.”