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110 ILCS 947/50

    (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 bilingual minority applicant" means a
    
qualified student who demonstrates proficiency in a language other than English by (i) receiving a State Seal of Biliteracy from the State Board of Education or (ii) receiving a passing score on an educator licensure target language proficiency test.
        "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 or who has received one or more College and Career Pathway Endorsements pursuant to Section 80 of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act and commits to enrolling in a course of study leading to teacher licensure, including alternative teacher licensure; (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 and to address and alleviate the teacher shortage crisis in this State described under the provisions of the Transitions in Education Act, 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. However, if at least $2,850,000 is appropriated in a given fiscal year for the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program, then, in each fiscal year thereafter, each 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 $7,500; 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 $7,500.
    (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 to qualified students who submit a complete application form on or before a date specified by the Commission based on the following order of priority:
        (1) To students who received a scholarship under
    
this Section in the prior academic year and who remain eligible for a minority teacher scholarship under this Section.
        (2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection
    
(k), to students who demonstrate financial need, as determined by the Commission.
    (k) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subsection (j), at least 35% of the funds appropriated for scholarships awarded under this Section in each fiscal year shall be reserved for qualified male minority applicants, with priority being given to qualified Black male applicants beginning with fiscal year 2023. If the Commission does not receive enough applications from qualified male minorities on or before January 1 of each fiscal year to award 35% 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 in accordance with subsection (j).
    Beginning with fiscal year 2023, if at least $2,850,000 but less than $4,200,000 is appropriated in a given fiscal year for scholarships awarded under this Section, then at least 10% of the funds appropriated shall be reserved for qualified bilingual minority applicants, with priority being given to qualified bilingual minority applicants who are enrolled in an educator preparation program with a concentration in bilingual, bicultural education. Beginning with fiscal year 2023, if at least $4,200,000 is appropriated in a given fiscal year for the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program, then at least 30% of the funds appropriated shall be reserved for qualified bilingual minority applicants, with priority being given to qualified bilingual minority applicants who are enrolled in an educator preparation program with a concentration in bilingual, bicultural education. Beginning with fiscal year 2023, if at least $2,850,000 is appropriated in a given fiscal year for scholarships awarded under this Section but the Commission does not receive enough applications from qualified bilingual minority applicants on or before January 1 of that fiscal year to award at least 10% of the funds appropriated to qualified bilingual minority applicants, then the Commission may, in its discretion, award a portion of the reserved funds to other qualified students in accordance with subsection (j).
    (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; (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 or may instead, if the recipient received a scholarship as a qualified bilingual minority applicant, fulfill this teaching obligation in a program in transitional bilingual education pursuant to Article 14C of the School Code or in a school in which 20 or more English learner students in the same language classification are enrolled; 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.
    (p) If the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program does not expend at least 90% of the amount appropriated for the program in a given fiscal year for 3 consecutive fiscal years and the Commission does not receive enough applications from the groups identified in subsection (k) on or before January 1 in each of those fiscal years to meet the percentage reserved for those groups under subsection (k), then up to 3% of amount appropriated for the program for each of next 3 fiscal years shall be allocated to increasing awareness of the program and for the recruitment of Black male applicants. The Commission shall make a recommendation to the General Assembly by January 1 of the year immediately following the end of that third fiscal year regarding whether the amount allocated to increasing awareness and recruitment should continue.
    (q) Each qualified Illinois institution of higher learning that receives funds from the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program shall host an annual information session at the institution about the program for teacher candidates of color in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission. Additionally, the institution shall ensure that each scholarship recipient enrolled at the institution meets with an academic advisor at least once per academic year to facilitate on-time completion of the recipient's educator preparation program.
    (r) The changes made to this Section by this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly will first take effect with awards made for the 2022-2023 academic year.
(Source: P.A. 100-235, eff. 6-1-18; 101-654, eff. 3-8-21.)