According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 2,893 teaching and school support positions went unfilled this school year. Senate Bill 1930 would provide free college education for future STEM teachers, a particularly difficult area for school districts to staff. The bill is an effort to encourage future Illinois educators to teach science, technology, math and engineering.
The bill would create the “Grow Your Own STEM and Vocational Education Teachers Act” that would require public colleges and universities to waive tuition and on-campus housing costs for students if funds are appropriated to the Board of Higher Education.
To qualify, students would be required to:
- pursue a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, science, technology, engineering or mathematics for certain occupations
- teach at a hard-to-staff school as defined by the Board of Higher Education
- maintain a 3.0 GPA
- fully reimburse the school for any waived tuition, fees or costs if the student fails to teach at least three years at a high school or five years at a higher education institution or community college in Illinois