(110 ILCS 947/65.70)
Optometric Education Scholarship Program.
(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that the provision of graduate
education leading to a doctoral degree in optometry for persons of this State
such an education is important to the health and welfare of this State and
consequently, is an important public purpose. Many qualified potential
deterred by financial considerations from pursuing their optometric education
consequent irreparable loss to the State and Nation of talents vital to health
A program of scholarships, repayment of which may be excused if the individual
practices professional optometry in this State, will enable such individuals to
qualified public or private institutions of their choice in the State.
(b) Beginning with the 2003-2004 academic year, the Commission shall, each
year, consider applications for scholarship assistance under this Section. An
eligible for a scholarship under this Section if the Commission finds that
(1) a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen;
(2) a resident of Illinois; and
(3) enrolled on a full-time basis in a public or
(c) Each year the Commission shall award 10 scholarships under this Section
among applicants qualified pursuant to subsection (b). Two of these
shall be awarded to eligible applicants enrolled in their first year, second
year, third year,
and fourth year. The remaining 2 scholarships shall be awarded to any level of
The Commission shall receive funding for the scholarships through
the Optometric Licensing and Disciplinary Board Fund. If in any year the number
qualified applicants exceeds the number of scholarships to be awarded, the
shall give priority in awarding scholarships to students demonstrating
exceptional merit and who are in financial need. A
shall be in the amount of $5,000 each year applicable to tuition and fees.
(d) The total amount of scholarship assistance awarded by the Commission
this Section to an individual in any given fiscal year, when added to other
assistance awarded to that individual for that year, shall not exceed the cost
at the institution at which the student is enrolled.
(e) A recipient may receive up to 8 semesters or 12 quarters of scholarship
assistance under this Section.
(f) Subject to a separate appropriation made for such purposes, payment of
scholarship awarded under this Section shall be determined by the Commission.
All scholarship funds distributed in accordance with this Section shall be paid
institution on behalf of the recipients. Scholarship funds are applicable
semesters or 3 quarters of enrollment within an academic year.
(g) The Commission shall administer the Optometric Education Scholarship
Program established by this Section and shall make all necessary and proper
inconsistent with this Section for its effective implementation.
(h) Prior to receiving scholarship assistance for any academic year, each
recipient of a scholarship awarded under this Section shall be required by the
Commission to sign an agreement under which the recipient pledges that, within
one-year period following the termination of the academic program for which the
recipient was awarded a scholarship, the recipient shall practice in this State
licensed optometrist under the Illinois Optometric Practice Act of 1987 for a
period of not
less than one year for each year of scholarship assistance awarded under this
Each recipient shall, upon request of the Commission, provide the Commission
evidence that he or she is fulfilling or has fulfilled the terms of the
provided for in this subsection.
(i) If a recipient of a scholarship awarded under this Section fails to
practice obligation set forth in subsection (h) of this Section, the
require the recipient to repay the amount of the scholarships received,
to the fraction of the obligation not completed, plus interest at a rate of 5%
applicable, reasonable collection fees. The Commission is authorized to
relating to its collection activities for repayment of scholarships under this
(j) A recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Commission under this
shall not be in violation of the agreement entered into pursuant to subsection
(h) if the recipient (i) is serving as a member of the armed services of the
enrolled in a residency program following graduation at an approved
institution; (iii) is
a person with a temporary total disability, as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified
(iii) cannot fulfill the employment obligation due to his or her death,
incompetency, as established by sworn affidavit of a qualified physician. No
repayment may be filed against the estate of such a decedent or incompetent.
extension of the period during which the employment requirement must be
be subject to limitations of duration as established by the Commission.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)