Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 096-0672
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Public Act 096-0672




Public Act 096-0672
HB1143 Enrolled LRB096 07447 NHT 18648 b

    AN ACT concerning education.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Mental
Health Graduate Education Scholarship Act.
    Section 5. Purpose. The purpose of this Act is to establish
a program in the Department of Human Services to upgrade mental
health care services for all citizens of this State by
providing scholarships to graduate students in mental health
fields who agree to practice in areas of this State
demonstrating the greatest need for more mental health
services. The program shall encourage mental health
practitioners to locate in areas where mental health manpower
shortages exist in this State.
    Section 10. Definitions. The following terms, whenever
used or referred to, have the following meanings, except where
the context clearly indicates otherwise:
    "Advisory Council" means the Mental Health Consortium
Advisory Council created under Section 35 of this Act.
    "Approved institution" means a public or private college or
university located in this State.
    "Department" means the Department of Human Services.
    "Designated shortage area" means an area designated by the
Secretary as a shortage area, a mental health underserved area,
or a critical mental health manpower shortage area, as defined
by the United States Department of Health and Human Services or
as further defined by the Illinois Department of Human Services
to enable it to effectively fulfill the purpose stated in
Section 5 of this Act. These areas may include the following:
        (1) an urban or rural area;
        (2) a population group; or
        (3) a public or nonprofit private mental health
    "Enrollment" means the establishment and maintenance of an
individual's status as a student in an approved institution,
regardless of the terms used at the institution to describe
such status.
    "Fees" means those mandatory charges, in addition to
tuition, that all enrolled students must pay, including
required course or lab fees.
    "Full-time enrollment" means enrollment by a student for at
least 9 hours per school term or as otherwise determined by the
institution of higher learning.
    "Mental health employment obligation" means employment in
this State as a licensed professional counselor, licensed
clinical professional counselor, licensed clinical
psychologist, licensed social worker, licensed clinical social
worker, or licensed marriage and family therapist in direct
patient care in a human services capacity in a designated
shortage area for at least one year for each year of
scholarship assistance received through the program.
    "Program" means the Mental Health Graduate Scholarship
    "School term" means an academic term, such as a semester,
quarter, trimester, or number of clock hours, as defined by an
approved institution.
    "Secretary" means the Secretary of Human Services.
    "Student in good standing" means a student maintaining a
cumulative grade point average equivalent to at least the
academic grade of a "C".
    "Total and permanent disability" means a physical or mental
impairment, disease, or loss of a permanent nature that
prevents employment with or without reasonable accommodation.
Proof of disability shall be a declaration from the federal
Social Security Administration, the Illinois Workers'
Compensation Commission, the federal Department of Defense, or
an insurer authorized to transact business in this State who is
providing disability insurance coverage to a contractor.
    "Tuition" means the established charges of an institution
of higher learning for instruction at that institution.
    Section 15. Creation of program; functions of Department.
The Mental Health Graduate Scholarship Program is created, to
be administered by the Department. The Department shall prepare
and supervise the issuance of public information about the
provisions of this Act, prescribe the form and regulate the
submission of applications for scholarships, determine the
eligibility of applicants, award the appropriate scholarships,
prescribe the contracts or other acknowledgments of
scholarship that an applicant is required to execute, and
determine whether all or any part of a recipient's scholarship
needs to be monetarily repaid or has been excused from
repayment and the extent of any repayment or excused repayment.
The Department may require a scholarship recipient to reimburse
the State for expenses, including, but not limited to,
attorney's fees, incurred by the Department or other agent of
this State for a successful legal action against the recipient
for a breach of any provision of the scholarship contract. In a
breach of contract, the Department may utilize referral to the
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to revoke,
suspend, refuse to renew, place on probationary status, or take
other disciplinary action concerning the recipient's
credentials. The Department is authorized to make all necessary
and proper rules, not inconsistent with this Act, for the
efficient exercise of its functions under this Act.
    Section 20. Scholarships.
    (a) Beginning with the fall term of the 2009-2010 academic
year, the Department, in accordance with rules adopted by it
for this program, shall provide scholarships to individuals
selected from among those applicants who qualify for
consideration by showing all of the following:
        (1) That the individual has been a resident of this
    State for at least one year prior to application and is a
    citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien of the United
        (2) That the individual enrolled in or accepted into a
    mental health graduate program at an approved institution.
        (3) That the individual agrees to meet the mental
    health employment obligation.
    (b) If in any year the number of qualified applicants
exceeds the number of scholarships to be awarded, the
Department shall, in consultation with the Advisory Council,
consider the following factors in granting priority in awarding
        (1) Financial need, as shown on a standardized
    financial needs assessment form used by an approved
        (2) A student's merit, as shown through his or her
    grade point average, class rank, and other academic and
    extracurricular activities.
The Department may add to and further define these merit
criteria by rule.
    (c) Unless otherwise indicated, scholarships shall be
awarded to recipients at approved institutions for a period of
up to 2 years if the recipient is enrolled in a master's degree
program and up to 4 years if the recipient is enrolled in a
doctoral degree program.
    Section 25. Requirements for scholarship recipients.
    (a) Within 12 months after graduation from a graduate
program in mental health, any recipient who accepts a
scholarship under this Act shall begin meeting the required
mental health employment obligation. In order to defer his or
her continuous employment obligation, a recipient must request
the deferment in writing from the Department. A recipient shall
notify program staff within 30 days if he or she spends up to 4
years in military service before or after graduation. If a
recipient receives funding through the program for a higher
graduate degree, the mental health employment obligation shall
be deferred until he or she is no longer enrolled or has
graduated. The recipient must begin meeting the required mental
health graduate employment obligation no later than 6 months
after the end of the deferment.
    (b) Any person who fails to fulfill the mental health
employment obligation shall pay to the Department an amount
equal to the amount of scholarship funds received per year for
each unfulfilled year of the mental health employment
obligation, together with interest at 7% per year on the unpaid
balance. Payment must begin within 6 months following the date
of the occurrence initiating the repayment. All repayments must
be completed within 6 years from the date of the occurrence
initiating the repayment. However, this obligation may be
deferred and reevaluated every 6 months if the failure to
fulfill the employment obligation results from involuntarily
leaving the profession due to a decrease in the number of
counselors, psychologists, social workers, or marriage and
family therapists employed in this State or if the failure to
fulfill the mental health employment obligation results from
total and permanent disability. The repayment obligation must
be excused if the failure to fulfill the mental health
employment obligation results from the death or adjudication as
incompetent of the person holding the scholarship. No claim for
repayment may be filed against the estate of such a decedent or
    (c) Each person applying for a scholarship under this Act
shall be provided with a copy of this Section at the time of
application for the benefits of the scholarship.
    Section 30. Amount of scholarship. To determine the
scholarship amount, the Department shall consider tuition and
fee charges at colleges and universities statewide and
projected living expenses. Scholarship amounts for students
pursuing graduate degrees in human services at a college or
university shall include 75% of the weighted tuition and fees
charged by public universities in this State plus the uniform
living allowance used in the Monetary Award Program formula and
annually reported by the Illinois Student Assistance
Commission. The Department may provide that scholarships shall
be on a quarterly or semi-annual basis and must be contingent
upon the student's diligently pursuing mental health studies
and being a student in good standing. Scholarship awards may be
provided to part-time students; the amount shall be determined
by applying the proportion represented by the part-time
enrollment to full-time enrollment ratio to the average per
term scholarship amount for a student in the same mental health
degree category.
    Section 35. Advisory Council.
    (a) The Mental Health Consortium Advisory Council is
created, consisting of 9 members. Two members must be appointed
by the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association, 2 members
must be appointed by the Illinois Psychological Association, 2
members must be appointed by the National Association of Social
Workers-Illinois Chapter, 2 members must be appointed by the
Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and one
public member must be appointed by the Secretary.
    (b) The Advisory Council shall assist and advise the
Department in the administration of this Act.
    Section 40. Student enrollment and obligations of
    (a) An approved institution is free to accept a student who
is a scholarship recipient under this Act in compliance with
its own admissions requirements, standards, and policies. The
Department may disburse a scholarship for tuition and fees to
the approved institution directly for the payment of tuition
and other necessary fees or for credit against the student's
obligation for such tuition and fees, and, upon acceptance
thereof, the approved institution shall be contractually
obligated (i) to provide facilities and instruction to the
student on the same terms as to other students generally and
(ii) to provide the notices and information described in this
    (b) If, in the course of an academic period, a student
enrolled in an approved institution pursuant to a scholarship
granted under this Act shall for any reason cease to be a
student in good standing, the institution shall promptly give
written notice to the Department concerning such change of
status and the reason thereof.
    (c) A student to whom a renewal scholarship has been
awarded may either re-enroll in the institution that he or she
attended during the preceding year or enroll in any other
approved institution; and, in either event, the institution
accepting the student for such enrollment or re-enrollment
shall notify the Department of such acceptance.
    Section 45. Program funding. A maximum of $100,000 of money
for scholarships under this Act shall come from the Department
of Financial and Professional Regulation's licensure fund
collected for counselor, psychologist, social worker, and
marriage and family therapist licensure.
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 8/25/2009