(110 ILCS 947/65.15)
    Sec. 65.15. Special education teacher scholarships.
    (a) There shall be awarded annually 250 scholarships to persons qualifying as members of any of the following groups:
        (1) Students who are otherwise qualified to receive a
    
scholarship as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Section and who make application to the Commission for such scholarship and agree to take courses that will prepare the student for the teaching of children described in Section 14-1 of the School Code.
        (2) Persons holding a valid certificate issued under
    
the laws relating to the certification of teachers and who make application to the Commission for such scholarship and agree to take courses that will prepare them for the teaching of children described in Section 14-1 of the School Code.
        (3) Persons who (A) have graduated high school; (B)
    
have not been certified as a teacher; and (C) make application to the Commission for such scholarship and agree to take courses that will prepare them for the teaching of children described in Section 14-1 of the School Code.
    Scholarships awarded under this Section shall be issued pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Commission; provided that no rule or regulation promulgated by the State Board of Education prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1993 pursuant to the exercise of any right, power, duty, responsibility or matter of pending business transferred from the State Board of Education to the Commission under this Section shall be affected thereby, and all such rules and regulations shall become the rules and regulations of the Commission until modified or changed by the Commission in accordance with law.
    For the purposes of this Section scholarships awarded each school year shall be deemed to be issued on July 1 of the year prior to the start of the postsecondary school term and all calculations for use of the scholarship shall be based on such date. Each scholarship shall entitle its holder to exemption from fees as provided in subsection (a) of Section 65.40 while enrolled in a special education program of teacher education, for a period of not more than 4 calendar years and shall be available for use at any time during such period of study except as provided in subsection (b) of Section 65.40.
    Scholarships issued to holders of a valid certificate issued under the laws relating to the certification of teachers as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection may also entitle the holder thereof to a program of teacher education that will prepare the student for the teaching of children described in Section 14-1 of the School Code at the graduate level.
    (b) The principal, or his or her designee, of an approved high school shall certify to the Commission, for students who are Illinois residents and are completing an application, that the students ranked scholastically in the upper one-half of their graduating class at the end of the sixth semester.
    (c) Each holder of a scholarship must furnish proof to the Commission, in such form and at such intervals as the Commission prescribes, of the holder's continued enrollment in a teacher education program qualifying the holder for the scholarship. Any holder of a scholarship who fails to register in a special education program of teacher education at the university within 10 days after the commencement of the term, quarter or semester immediately following the receipt of the scholarship or who, having registered, withdraws from the university or transfers out of teacher education, shall thereupon forfeit the right to use it and it may be granted to the person having the next highest rank as shown on the list held by the Commission. If the person having the next highest rank, within 10 days after notification thereof by the Commission, fails to register at any such university in a special education program of teacher education, or who, having registered, withdraws from the university or transfers out of teacher education, the scholarship may then be granted to the person shown on the list as having the rank next below such person.
    (d) Any person who has accepted a scholarship under the preceding subsections of this Section must, within one year after graduation from or termination of enrollment in a teacher education program, begin teaching at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool or elementary or secondary school for a period of at least 2 of the 5 years immediately following that graduation or termination, excluding, however, from the computation of that 5 year period (i) any time up to 3 years spent in the military service, whether such service occurs before or after the person graduates; (ii) any time that person is enrolled full-time in an academic program related to the field of teaching leading to a graduate or postgraduate degree; (iii) the time that person is a person with a temporary total disability for a period of time not to exceed 3 years, as established by the sworn affidavit of a qualified physician; (iv) the time that person is seeking and unable to find full time employment as a teacher at an Illinois public, private, or parochial school; (v) the time that person is taking additional courses, on at least a half-time basis, needed to obtain certification as a teacher in Illinois; or (vi) the time that person is fulfilling teaching requirements associated with other programs administered by the Commission if he or she cannot concurrently fulfill them under this Section in a period of time equal to the length of the teaching obligation.
    A person who has accepted a scholarship under the preceding subsections of this Section and who has been unable to fulfill the teaching requirements of this Section may receive a deferment from the obligation of repayment under this subsection (d) under guidelines established by the Commission; provided that no guideline established for any such purpose by the State Board of Education prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1993 shall be affected by the transfer to the Commission of the responsibility for administering and implementing the provisions of this Section, and all guidelines so established shall become the guidelines of the Commission until modified or changed by the Commission.
    Any such person who fails to fulfill this teaching requirement shall pay to the Commission the amount of tuition waived by virtue of his or her acceptance of the scholarship, together with interest at 5% per year on that amount. However, this obligation to repay the amount of tuition waived plus interest does not apply when the failure to fulfill the teaching requirement results from the death or adjudication as a person under legal disability of the person holding the scholarship, and no claim for repayment may be filed against the estate of such a decedent or person under legal disability. Payments received by the Commission under this subsection (d) shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Revenue Fund. Each person receiving a scholarship shall be provided with a description of the provisions of this subsection (d) at the time he or she qualifies for the benefits of such a scholarship.
    (e) This Section is basically the same as Sections 30-1, 30-2, 30-3, and 30-4a of the School Code, which are repealed by this amendatory Act of 1993, and shall be construed as a continuation of the teacher scholarship program established by that prior law, and not as a new or different teacher scholarship program. The State Board of Education shall transfer to the Commission, as the successor to the State Board of Education for all purposes of administering and implementing the provisions of this Section, all books, accounts, records, papers, documents, contracts, agreements, and pending business in any way relating to the teacher scholarship program continued under this Section; and all scholarships at any time awarded under that program by, and all applications for any such scholarships at any time made to, the State Board of Education shall be unaffected by the transfer to the Commission of all responsibility for the administration and implementation of the teacher scholarship program continued under this Section. The State Board of Education shall furnish to the Commission such other information as the Commission may request to assist it in administering this Section.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)