Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB1453
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Full Text of SB1453  103rd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2023 and 2024


Introduced 2/7/2023, by Sen. Javier L. Cervantes


New Act
30 ILCS 105/5.990 new

    Creates the Graduate and Retain Our Workforce Act. Establishes the GROW Illinois Program, in which public institutions of higher education award incentive loans to applicants. Provides that, subject to appropriation, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission may, each year, administer applications for assistance under the GROW Illinois Program. Sets forth qualifications for recipients, degrees, and jobs. Provides for loan repayment and rulemaking. Amends the State Finance Act to create the Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (GROW) Illinois Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Effective immediately.

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1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Graduate and Retain Our Workforce Act.
6    Section 5. Purpose. In order to encourage academically
7talented students who are residents of this State to enter the
8workforce in this State upon graduating from degree programs
9in high-demand fields of study, while also combating this
10State's ever worsening problem of outbound migration of high
11school students, this Act establishes the Graduate and Retain
12Our Workforce (GROW) Illinois Program.
13    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
14    "Commission" means the Illinois Student Assistance
16    "Full-time" means the number of credit hours the
17Commission determines is full-time enrollment for a student
18for purposes of the program.
19    "Program" means the GROW Illinois Program created by this
21    "Qualifying degree" means an associate or a bachelor's
22degree granted by a qualifying public institution that



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1qualifies an individual to work in a qualifying job, as
2determined by the Commission.
3    "Qualifying job" means a job selected by the Commission
4pursuant to Section 20 of this Act (i) for which a recipient of
5an award under this Act is pursuing a qualifying degree, (ii)
6for which the recipient has completed a qualifying degree, or
7(iii) in which the recipient is working.
8    "Qualifying public institution" means a public institution
9of higher education located in this State.
10    "Recipient" means a State resident enrolled in a
11qualifying public institution who receives an award under this
13    Section 15. GROW Illinois Program.
14    (a) There is established the Graduate and Retain Our
15Workforce (GROW) Illinois Program to recruit and train
16individuals to work in certain jobs that have a high demand for
17new employees and offer high wages by awarding forgivable
18incentive loans.
19    (b) Subject to appropriation, the Commission may, each
20year, administer applications for assistance under this Act.
21    (c) Subject to available funds, a qualifying public
22institution shall award an incentive loan to an individual
24        (1) is enrolled full time in the qualifying public
25    institution;



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1        (2) has completed at least:
2            (A) one semester of full-time equivalent course
3        work if the individual is pursuing an associate
4        degree; or
5            (B) 2 semesters of full-time equivalent course
6        work if the individual is pursuing a bachelor's
7        degree;
8        (3) is pursuing or declares an intent to pursue a
9    qualifying degree;
10        (4) declares an intent to work, which may be fulfilled
11    by completing and signing an application created by the
12    Commission pursuant to Section 30 of this Act, in a
13    qualifying job in this State following graduation;
14        (5) applies, via an application created by the
15    Commission pursuant to Section 30 of this Act, to the
16    qualifying public institution to receive an incentive
17    loan; and
18        (6) meets other criteria determined by the Commission
19    by rule under Section 30 of this Act.
20    (d) A qualifying public institution may do any of the
22        (1) Award an incentive loan to a recipient in an
23    amount up to the cost of resident tuition, fees, and books
24    for the number of credit hours in which the recipient is
25    enrolled each semester.    
26        (2) Award an incentive loan to a recipient for up to



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1    the expected amount of time for the recipient to complete
2    a qualifying degree, as determined by the institution.
3        (3) Cancel an incentive loan in accordance with rules
4    adopted by the Commission under Section 30 of this Act.
5    (e) A qualifying public institution may use money from a
6partnership with an industry or business for funding or
7repaying an incentive loan.
8    (f) Each fiscal year, the Commission may use up to 5% of
9money appropriated for the program for administration.
10    Section 20. Selection of qualifying jobs and qualifying
12    (a) Subject to appropriation, for the 2023-2024 academic
13year or for the first academic year for which the General
14Assembly appropriates funds for the program, whichever occurs
15first, the following eligible majors shall be considered for
16the program:
17        (1) computer and information sciences;
18        (2) information technology;
19        (3) information science;
20        (4) computer science;
21        (5) computer systems networking and
22    telecommunications;
23        (6) computer and information systems
24    security/information assurance;
25        (7) management information systems; and



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1        (8) any other similarly designed college majors as
2    determined acceptable by the Commission.
3    (b) Subject to appropriation, starting with either the
42024-2025 academic year or the academic year following the
5first academic year for which the General Assembly
6appropriates funds for the program, and every 2 academic years
7thereafter, the Commission shall select 5 qualifying jobs that
8have the highest demand for new employees and offer high wages
9and select the qualifying degrees required for each of those
10qualifying jobs.
11    (c) The Commission shall ensure that each qualifying job
12selected ranks in the top 40% of jobs based on an employment
13index that considers the job's growth rate and total openings,
14ranks in the top 40% of jobs for wages, and requires an
15associate degree or a bachelor's degree. The Commission shall
16publish and make available to the public an annual report
17covering the selection of the 5 qualifying jobs and their
18qualifying degrees.
19    (d) For purposes of administering this Section, the
20Commission may consult with the Illinois Community College
21Board, the Board of Higher Education, the Department of
22Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of
23Employment Security, or any other State agency deemed
24necessary by the Commission.
25    Section 25. Repayment of an incentive loan.



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1    (a) For each year that a recipient works in a qualifying
2job in this State following completion of a qualifying degree,
3the qualifying public institution that awarded the incentive
4loan shall waive repayment of the amount of one year of the
5recipient's incentive loan. Except as provided in subsection
6(b), a qualifying public institution may not require a
7recipient to repay an incentive loan.
8    (b) Repayment of an incentive loan may be required as
10        (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this
11    subsection (b), a qualifying public institution shall
12    require a recipient to repay to the qualifying public
13    institution:
14            (A) the full amount of an incentive loan if the
15        recipient fails to either graduate with a qualifying
16        degree within 6 years after initially receiving the
17        incentive loan or work in a qualifying job in this
18        State within one year after completing a qualifying
19        degree; or
20            (B) the outstanding amount of an incentive loan if
21        the recipient works in a qualifying job for fewer
22        years than the number of years required to waive
23        repayment of the full incentive loan.
24        (2) A qualifying public institution may waive or delay
25    a repayment described in paragraph (1) of this subsection
26    (b) in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission



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1    under Section 30 of this Act.
2    (d) A qualifying public institution may require
3appropriate interest with the repayment of an incentive loan.
4    (e) A qualifying public institution shall use all
5repayments received under this Section for the program.
6    Section 30. Rulemaking. The Commission has the power to
7adopt rules necessary for the implementation of this Act,
8including, but not limited to, rules:
9        (1) establishing an application process for an
10    individual to apply for an incentive loan;
11        (2) subject to Section 15 of this Act, establishing
12    qualifying criteria for an individual to receive an
13    incentive loan;
14        (3) establishing how State funding available for
15    incentive loans is distributed among qualifying public
16    institutions;
17        (4) establishing how to determine the amount of an
18    incentive loan;
19        (5) establishing the circumstances under which a
20    qualifying public institution may either cancel an
21    incentive loan or waive or delay repayment of an incentive
22    loan; and
23        (6) establishing a methodology for prioritizing
24    applications from applicants who demonstrate a financial
25    need or hardship and applications from applicants



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1    demonstrating academic excellence.
2    Section 35. Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (GROW)
3Illinois Fund. The Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (GROW)
4Illinois Fund is created as a special fund in the State
5treasury. Money from institutional, organizational, or other
6private entities shall be deposited into the Fund. All money
7in the Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the
8Commission to implement and administer the program pursuant to
9this Act.
10    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
11Section 5.990 as follows:
12    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
13    Sec. 5.990. The Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (GROW)
14Illinois Fund.
15    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
16becoming law.