HB1378 EngrossedLRB103 04756 RJT 49765 b

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 the
5Illinois Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (iGROW) Act.
6    Section 5. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
7Section 5.990 as follows:
8    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
9    Sec. 5.990. The Illinois Graduate and Retain Our Workforce
10(iGROW) Fund.
11    Section 10. The Higher Education Student Assistance Act is
12amended by adding Section 65.120 as follows:
13    (110 ILCS 947/65.120 new)
14    Sec. 65.120. iGROW scholarship program.
15    (a) As used in this Section:
16    "Eligible applicant" means a student who has graduated
17from high school or has received a State of Illinois High
18School Diploma, who has maintained a cumulative grade point
19average of no less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, who is pursuing or
20intends to pursue a qualifying degree in a qualified



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1institution, and who is entitled to apply for assistance under
2this Act.
3    "Full-time" means the number of credit hours the
4Commission determines is full-time enrollment for a student
5for purposes of the program.
6    "Minority student" has the same meaning as the term is
7defined under Section 50 of the Higher Education Student
8Assistance Act (110 ILCS 947).
9    "Program" means the iGROW program created by this Act.
10    "Qualifying degree" means an associate or a bachelor's
11degree granted by a qualified institution that qualifies an
12individual to work in a qualifying job, as determined by the
14    "Qualifying job" means a job selected by the Commission
15(i) for which a recipient of an award under this Act is
16pursuing a qualifying degree, (ii) for which the recipient has
17completed a qualifying degree, or (iii) in which the recipient
18is working.
19    "Qualified student" means a person (i) who is a resident
20of this State; (ii) who, as an eligible applicant, has made a
21timely application for an iGROW scholarship under this
22Section; (iii) who is enrolled on at least a half-time basis at
23a qualified institution; (iv) who is enrolled in a course of
24study approved by the Commission, which includes, but is not
25limited to (1) computer and information sciences; (2)
26information technology; (3) information science; (4) computer



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1science; (5) computer systems networking and
2telecommunications; (6) computer and information systems
3security or information assurance; (7) management information
4systems; or (8) any other similarly designed college majors as
5determined acceptable by the Commission, (v) who maintains a
6grade point average of no less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale; and
7(vi) who continues to advance satisfactorily toward the
8attainment of a degree.
9    "Recipient" means an Illinois resident enrolled in a
10qualified institution who receives an award under this Act.
11    (b) Subject to appropriation, and no sooner than the
122024-2025 academic year, there is established the Illinois
13Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (iGROW) Scholarship Program
14to recruit and train individuals to work in technology jobs
15that have a high demand for new employees and offer high wages
16by awarding scholarships.
17    (c) Each iGROW scholarship awarded under this Section
18shall be determined by the Commission in an amount up to and
19including the full costs of tuition and fees and room and board
20of the qualified institution at which the recipient is
21enrolled if the institution is public, or an equivalent rate
22established by the Commission for private institutions. The
23total amount of iGROW scholarship assistance awarded by the
24Commission under this Section to an eligible applicant in any
25given fiscal year, when added to other financial assistance
26awarded to that individual for that year, shall not exceed the



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1cost of attendance at the institution at which the student is
2enrolled. If the amount of iGROW scholarship to be awarded to a
3qualified student exceeds the cost of attendance at the
4institution at which the student is enrolled, the iGROW
5scholarship shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount
6by which the combined financial assistance available to the
7student exceeds the cost of attendance.
8    (d) The maximum number of academic terms for which a
9qualified student can receive iGROW scholarship assistance
10shall be 8 semesters or 12 quarters.
11    (e) All applications for scholarships awarded under this
12Section shall be made to the Commission on forms which the
13Commission shall provide for eligible applicants. The form of
14applications and the information required to be set forth
15therein shall be determined by the Commission, and the
16Commission shall require eligible applicants to submit with
17their applications such supporting documents or
18recommendations as the Commission deems necessary.
19    (f) Subject to appropriation for such purposes, payment of
20any iGROW scholarship awarded under this Section shall be
21determined by the Commission. All scholarship funds
22distributed in accordance with this subsection shall be paid
23to the qualified institution and used only for payment of the
24tuition and fees assessed by the institution and the standard
25housing and food allowance used for all undergraduate students
26by the qualified student in connection with his or her



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1attendance at a qualified institution. Any iGROW scholarship
2awarded under this Section shall be applicable to 2 semesters
3or 3 quarters of enrollment annually. The qualified
4institution can only request payment for tuition and fees up
5to the amount of actual tuition and fee expenses incurred. If a
6student withdraws after the expiration of the tuition refund
7or withdrawal adjustment period, the student may receive
8payment for tuition and fees incurred up to the term award. The
9housing and food allowance will be prorated based on the
10qualified institution's return of funds policy.
11    (g) Prior to receiving scholarship assistance for any
12academic year, each recipient of a iGROW scholarship awarded
13under this Section shall be required by the Commission to sign
14an agreement under which the recipient pledges that the
15recipient (i) shall work in the State in a qualified job for a
16period of not less than one year for each year of scholarship
17assistance he or she was awarded under this Section; however,
18in no event shall he or she agree to work in the State in a
19qualified job for a period of less than two years; (ii) shall
20work with an employer in the State performing work that is
21related to the field of study which qualified the candidate
22for scholarship assistance under this Act; and (iii) shall,
23upon request by the Commission, provide the Commission with
24evidence that he or she is fulfilling or has fulfilled the
25terms of the agreement provided for in this subsection. If a
26recipient of an iGROW scholarship awarded under this Section



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1fails to fulfill the obligations set forth in this subsection,
2the Commission shall require the recipient to repay the amount
3of the scholarships received, prorated according to the
4fraction of the employment obligation not completed, at a rate
5of interest equal to 5%, and, if applicable, reasonable
6collection fees. The Commission is authorized to establish
7rules relating to its collection activities for repayment of
8scholarships under this Section. All repayments collected
9under this Section shall be forwarded to the State Comptroller
10for deposit into the State's General Revenue Fund. A recipient
11of an iGROW scholarship shall not be considered in violation
12of the agreement entered into pursuant to this subsection if
13the recipient (i) enrolls on a full-time basis as a graduate
14student in a course of study related to the technology degree
15for which he qualified for the iGROW scholarship at a
16qualified institution; (ii) is serving, not in excess of 3
17years, as a member of the armed services of the United States;
18(iii) is a person with a temporary total disability for a
19period of time not to exceed 3 years as established by sworn
20affidavit of a qualified physician; (iv) is seeking and unable
21to find full-time employment with a State employer that
22satisfies the criteria set forth in this subsection and is
23able to provide evidence of that fact; (v) becomes a person
24with a permanent total disability as established by sworn
25affidavit of a qualified physician; or (viii) meets any other
26criteria that the Commission may deem necessary.



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1    (h) Scholarship recipients under this Section who withdraw
2from a program of computer science or other related major area
3of study but remain enrolled in school to continue their
4postsecondary studies in another academic discipline shall not
5be required to commence repayment of their iGROW scholarship
6so long as they remain enrolled in school on a full-time basis
7or if they can document for the Commission special
8circumstances that warrant extension of repayment.
9    (i) If the iGROW scholarship program does not expend at
10least 90% of the amount appropriated for the program in a given
11fiscal year for 3 consecutive fiscal years on or before
12January 1 in each of those fiscal years, then up to 3% of
13amount appropriated for the program for each of next 3 fiscal
14years shall be allocated to increasing awareness of the
15program. The Commission shall make a recommendation to the
16General Assembly by February 1 of the year immediately
17following the end of that third fiscal year regarding whether
18the amount allocated to increasing awareness should continue.
19    (j) The Commission shall administer the iGROW scholarship
20program established by this Section and shall make all
21necessary and proper rules not inconsistent with this Section
22for its effective implementation.
23    (k) The Commission shall establish a methodology for
24prioritizing applications from applicants who demonstrate a
25financial need or hardship, applications from minority
26students, and applications from applicants demonstrating



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1academic excellence.
2    (l) Each fiscal year, the Commission may use up to 5% of
3money appropriated for the iGROW scholarship program for
5    (m) Scholarships may be made under this Section through
6the 2029-30 academic year.
7    (n) The Illinois Graduate and Retain Our Workforce (iGROW)
8Fund is created as a special fund in the State treasury. Moneys
9in the fund may come from both public or institutional,
10organizational, or other private entities. All money in the
11Fund shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the Illinois
12Student Assistance Commission to implement and administer the
13program pursuant to this Section.
14    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect January
151, 2024.