Student debtARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Two measures introduced by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that will assist school social workers with earning their degrees and paying off their tuition were signed into law today.

“As students return to in-person learning after over a year of virtual classes, the need for school social workers is greater than ever,” Gillespie said. “This package will incentivize social work students to start their careers in Illinois and will play a significant role in addressing the student debt crisis.”

Senate Bill 661 requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to award up to 250 Post-Master of Social Work Professional Educator License scholarships each year. Scholarship recipients are required to work at a public or not-for-profit P-12 school in Illinois for at least two of the five years immediately following their graduation.

Senate Bill 662 requires ISAC to consider up to $6,500 in loan repayment assistance to borrowers with loans related to a degree in social work. Recipients must be employed at a public elementary or secondary school in Illinois for at least one year.

Both of Gillespie’s proposals grant priority to underrepresented groups in the school social work field.

Senate Bill 661 is effective Jan. 1, 2022 and Senate Bill 662 is effective July 1, 2022.