DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – Illinois teachers could have their tuition paid for under a bill introduced by State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur). 

Scherer’s plan is to require the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to establish a teach reimbursement grant program with the hope of addressing Illinois’ teacher shortage crisis. It would be used for tuition and mandatory fees that would be paid to a public institution of higher learning in Illinois. 

Eligible Illinois teachers would potentially get grants for reimbursing up to eight semesters of tuition for up to 10 years in the program. 

Scherer said she believes this program will encourage more people to pursue an education career and also give educators "benefits and resources they deserve for the service they provide to our state and their communities." 

“Teachers are one of the most critical occupations to our society, yet they are critically undervalued for the work and skill set 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.”

A press release from Scherer’s office cited the Illinois State Board of Education, which in 2017 reported Illinois had 1,000 unfilled teaching positions. That number grew to nearly 1,700 in 2021, with 77 percent of Illinois school districts reporting teacher shortages or difficulty hiring substitute teachers. 


October 7, 2021 at 07:24PM