Keicher files bill to help address Illinois’ teacher shortage

State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, has filed new legislation to help address Illinois’ need to recruit more teachers. House Bill 3364 aims to help mitigate Illinois’ teacher shortage by providing financial assistance, by way of the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, to a person who is in enrolled in an educator preparation program approved by the state.

Currently, if a person has a received a baccalaureate degree, they are ineligible to receive a MAP grant.  Under Representative Keicher’s bill, if you are going back to school after receiving a degree to become a teacher and enroll in a program to receive a teaching certificate, you could be eligible for a MAP.

The goal is to encourage someone who has already received a degree and has a desire to become a teacher, but unable to do so financially, to go back and get their certification.  To be eligible, a person must also agree to teach in Illinois for 5 years after receiving a Professional Educator License.

“Illinois has many of the finest teachers in the country, but the fact is, we need more of them,” Representative Keicher said.  “My bill can help us do that, by making the MAP grant program available to eligible students in financial need who return to school in order to earn their teaching certification.”

The Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grant assistance to eligible students demonstrating financial need. MAP grants are applied toward tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate students, not to exceed the maximum award amount for the academic year.

Approved Illinois public and private two- and four-year colleges, universities, and certain other degree-granting institutions participate in the MAP grant program.

To determine financial need, an applicant completes and submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1 preceding the academic year for which they are applying. Funding for the MAP grant is limited; to ensure full-year consideration for an award, an applicant must apply early.