(110 ILCS 947/50)
    Sec. 50. Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program.
    (a) As used in this Section:
        "Eligible applicant" means a minority student who has
    
graduated from high school or has received a high school equivalency certificate and has maintained a cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, and who by reason thereof is entitled to apply for scholarships to be awarded under this Section.
        "Minority student" means a student who is any of the
    
following:
            (1) American Indian or Alaska Native (a person
        
having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment).
            (2) Asian (a person having origins in any of the
        
original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, but not limited to, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam).
            (3) Black or African American (a person having
        
origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa). Terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "Black or African American".
            (4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban,
        
Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race).
            (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a
        
person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).
        "Qualified student" means a person (i) who is a
    
resident of this State and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; (ii) who is a minority student, as defined in this Section; (iii) who, as an eligible applicant, has made a timely application for a minority teaching scholarship under this Section; (iv) who is enrolled on at least a half-time basis at a qualified Illinois institution of higher learning; (v) who is enrolled in a course of study leading to teacher licensure, including alternative teacher licensure, or, if the student is already licensed to teach, in a course of study leading to an additional teaching endorsement or a master's degree in an academic field in which he or she is teaching or plans to teach; (vi) who maintains a grade point average of no less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; and (vii) who continues to advance satisfactorily toward the attainment of a degree.
    (b) In order to encourage academically talented Illinois minority students to pursue teaching careers at the preschool or elementary or secondary school level, each qualified student shall be awarded a minority teacher scholarship to any qualified Illinois institution of higher learning. However, preference may be given to qualified applicants enrolled at or above the junior level.
    (c) Each minority teacher scholarship awarded under this Section shall be in an amount sufficient to pay the tuition and fees and room and board costs of the qualified Illinois institution of higher learning at which the recipient is enrolled, up to an annual maximum of $5,000; except that in the case of a recipient who does not reside on-campus at the institution at which he or she is enrolled, the amount of the scholarship shall be sufficient to pay tuition and fee expenses and a commuter allowance, up to an annual maximum of $5,000.
    (d) The total amount of minority teacher scholarship assistance awarded by the Commission under this Section to an individual in any given fiscal year, when added to other financial assistance awarded to that individual for that year, shall not exceed the cost of attendance at the institution at which the student is enrolled. If the amount of minority teacher scholarship to be awarded to a qualified student as provided in subsection (c) of this Section exceeds the cost of attendance at the institution at which the student is enrolled, the minority teacher scholarship shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount by which the combined financial assistance available to the student exceeds the cost of attendance.
    (e) The maximum number of academic terms for which a qualified student can receive minority teacher scholarship assistance shall be 8 semesters or 12 quarters.
    (f) In any academic year for which an eligible applicant under this Section accepts financial assistance through the Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarship Program, as authorized by Section 551 et seq. of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the applicant shall not be eligible for scholarship assistance awarded under this Section.
    (g) All applications for minority teacher scholarships to be awarded under this Section shall be made to the Commission on forms which the Commission shall provide for eligible applicants. The form of applications and the information required to be set forth therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the Commission shall require eligible applicants to submit with their applications such supporting documents or recommendations as the Commission deems necessary.
    (h) Subject to a separate appropriation for such purposes, payment of any minority teacher scholarship awarded under this Section shall be determined by the Commission. All scholarship funds distributed in accordance with this subsection shall be paid to the institution and used only for payment of the tuition and fee and room and board expenses incurred by the student in connection with his or her attendance at a qualified Illinois institution of higher learning. Any minority teacher scholarship awarded under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment. If a qualified student withdraws from enrollment prior to completion of the first semester or quarter for which the minority teacher scholarship is applicable, the school shall refund to the Commission the full amount of the minority teacher scholarship.
    (i) The Commission shall administer the minority teacher scholarship aid program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with this Section for its effective implementation.
    (j) When an appropriation to the Commission for a given fiscal year is insufficient to provide scholarships to all qualified students, the Commission shall allocate the appropriation in accordance with this subsection. If funds are insufficient to provide all qualified students with a scholarship as authorized by this Section, the Commission shall allocate the available scholarship funds for that fiscal year on the basis of the date the Commission receives a complete application form.
    (k) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (j) or any other provision of this Section, at least 30% of the funds appropriated for scholarships awarded under this Section in each fiscal year shall be reserved for qualified male minority applicants. If the Commission does not receive enough applications from qualified male minorities on or before January 1 of each fiscal year to award 30% of the funds appropriated for these scholarships to qualified male minority applicants, then the Commission may award a portion of the reserved funds to qualified female minority applicants.
    (l) Prior to receiving scholarship assistance for any academic year, each recipient of a minority teacher scholarship awarded under this Section shall be required by the Commission to sign an agreement under which the recipient pledges that, within the one-year period following the termination of the program for which the recipient was awarded a minority teacher scholarship, the recipient (i) shall begin teaching for a period of not less than one year for each year of scholarship assistance he or she was awarded under this Section; and (ii) shall fulfill this teaching obligation at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary school, or secondary school at which no less than 30% of the enrolled students are minority students in the year during which the recipient begins teaching at the school; and (iii) shall, upon request by the Commission, provide the Commission with evidence that he or she is fulfilling or has fulfilled the terms of the teaching agreement provided for in this subsection.
    (m) If a recipient of a minority teacher scholarship awarded under this Section fails to fulfill the teaching obligation set forth in subsection (l) of this Section, the Commission shall require the recipient to repay the amount of the scholarships received, prorated according to the fraction of the teaching obligation not completed, at a rate of interest equal to 5%, and, if applicable, reasonable collection fees. The Commission is authorized to establish rules relating to its collection activities for repayment of scholarships under this Section. All repayments collected under this Section shall be forwarded to the State Comptroller for deposit into the State's General Revenue Fund.
    (n) A recipient of minority teacher scholarship shall not be considered in violation of the agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (l) if the recipient (i) enrolls on a full time basis as a graduate student in a course of study related to the field of teaching at a qualified Illinois institution of higher learning; (ii) is serving, not in excess of 3 years, as a member of the armed services of the United States; (iii) is a person with a temporary total disability for a period of time not to exceed 3 years as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician; (iv) is seeking and unable to find full time employment as a teacher at an Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool or elementary or secondary school that satisfies the criteria set forth in subsection (l) of this Section and is able to provide evidence of that fact; (v) becomes a person with a permanent total disability as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician; (vi) is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain licensure as a teacher in Illinois; or (vii) is fulfilling teaching requirements associated with other programs administered by the Commission and cannot concurrently fulfill them under this Section in a period of time equal to the length of the teaching obligation.
    (o) Scholarship recipients under this Section who withdraw from a program of teacher education but remain enrolled in school to continue their postsecondary studies in another academic discipline shall not be required to commence repayment of their Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship so long as they remain enrolled in school on a full-time basis or if they can document for the Commission special circumstances that warrant extension of repayment.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15; 100-235, eff. 6-1-18.)