Measure to lure social workers with student loan repayment awaits governor’s action | Granite City News


State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore

A measure that would allow some state social workers to be reimbursed for their student loans through the use of public funds awaits the governor’s signature.

Senate Bill 3761 expands the School Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program to include social workers employed by an Illinois municipality.

The social work loan forgiveness initiative was passed last year. The updated measure includes social workers employed by state schools and social workers who work for a municipality but do not report to the police department. The bill also prioritizes minority applicants who are underrepresented in the social work profession.

State Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, who is the House sponsor, explained during last month’s debate that more programs could be underway.

“This is an extension of social workers who work for educational institutions and it was added in response to local municipalities that they are eligible,” Walker said. “We also think we will have more programs like this for joint first responders.”

Walker acknowledged the cost could be as high as $6 million in state tax funds. The measure found bipartisan support.

“From my side, this is actually a good bill that will help bring back some social workers to our state,” the state said. Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore. “We had a split vote because some of us on our side would like to light this up like a Christmas tree.”

If approved by Gov. JB Pritzker, the measure provides up to $6,500 in student loan assistance to borrowers who have worked with an eligible employer for at least one year.


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