SPRINGFIELD — Human services professionals may soon have access to student loan repayment assistance, thanks to legislation spearheaded by State Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview).
“Social service workers provide life-changing services to some of our most vulnerable communities,” Fine said. “It’s high time we got them the help they so desperately need.”
Employees in the human services industry include social workers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions that specialize in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage of employees, partly due to financial barriers. Many of these professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, salaries often do not match academic performance, and many social service workers struggle to repay student loans.
Fine’s Law encourages more students to join this rewarding and essential workforce by offering student loan repayment plans to employees of community social service agencies. The law aims to address the critical shortage of workers for the industry and provides assistance to many current social service workers, many of whom are women and people of color.
“While it is necessary for social service professionals to have specialized degrees to work with at-risk communities, potential student debt should not deter interested students,” Fine said. “This loan repayment program will help ensure that tuition is no longer a financial barrier when pursuing a career in social services.”
Senate Bill 3925 was signed into law on June 10, 2022. It is effective immediately.