gillespie 031521ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – To address the growing student debt crisis, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) introduced legislation that would provide a loan repayment option for public school social workers that could cover up to $6,500 of a student’s debt.

“The student debt crisis is crushing our school social workers,” Gillespie said. “These careers typically require high educational requirements, with compensation that is less than adequate.”

The legislation would require the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to consider up to $6,500 in loan repayment assistance to borrowers with loans related to a degree in social work. Recipients must be employed at a public elementary or secondary school in Illinois for at least one year. Gillespie’s proposal also grants priority to applicants who are members of underrepresented communities in the social work field.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are over 1.6 million student borrowers in Illinois with a collective $60 billion in student debt.

The legislation, Senate Bill 662, awaits consideration in the Senate Higher Education Committee.