NASW-IL Advocacy at Work: Financial Assistance for SSWs Approved in Recent Budget
We are excited to report that two NASW-Illinois Chapter initiatives from last year were included in the most recent budget approved by the Illinois General Assembly, thus allowing for college financial assistance for school social workers.
MSWs who did not get their school social work specialty while in graduate school must return to school to complete a PEL bridge program. This added student debt creates an unnecessary burden to access that excludes those without the financial means to return. With this budget appropriation, up to 250 MSWs who wish to complete the graduate bridge program to become school social workers can apply for a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition at an Illinois public university.
Also appropriated was funding for existing school social workers who are working or agree to work in a public school in Illinois (and have existing student loan debt) to apply for loan repayment grants to help cover some of the high education costs of acquiring a school social work license.
Both programs give priority for the funds to minority applicants to encourage diverse candidates to pursue school social work and help remove barriers to access.
A special thank you to Senator Ann Gillespie and State Representative Lindsey LaPointe, MSW (and NASW-IL Member!) for championing these bills last session and advocating that they receive budget allocations this session.
At the time of posting, the application and process for applying for these funds has not yet been finalized. NASW-IL will post this news as soon as it is made available.
Budget Bill: “Section 150. The sum of $6,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for costs associated with Social Worker Scholarships and loan repayment assistance.”
For a round-up of other bills that the NASW-Illinois Chapter pushed for during the past spring 2022 legislative session as well as other advocacy-related news, click one of the links below:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20.000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.