Illinois Special Education Teacher Waiver Program

If you are a teacher or an academically talented student pursuing a career in special education as a nonprofit public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school teacher in Illinois, you may be eligible for the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program. This program will exempt you from paying tuition and mandatory fees at an eligible institution, for up to four calendar years. Mandatory fees are those assessed by a college to every full-time student for each term. Examples include fees for activities, facility operations, grants, health, registration, technology, transportation and others. The college determines fees that are considered mandatory.

By receiving the tuition waiver, you must teach in Illinois in the field of special education. If this teaching commitment is not fulfilled, the amount of benefits received converts to a loan, and you must repay the entire amount plus interest. It is recommended that you monitor your college billing statements to keep track of the amount waived, in the unlikely event the tuition waiver converts to a loan. You can estimate the loan payments by accessing the Monthly Payment Estimates Calculator on this website.

SETTW recipients, including those who are pursuing or have secured a position as a Speech-Language Pathologist, should take note that in order to fulfill the teaching requirements, their position must be that of a “teacher”, as certified by their employing school official. A “teacher” is defined as a person who provides direct classroom-type teaching or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting.

Accordingly, only if a Speech-Language Pathologist’s teaching position meets the above definition, and is certified as such by the school official, would the position be considered as fulfilling the SETTW teaching requirements.

For the 2019-20 Academic Year
(last updated on May 14, 2018):

Please note: the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver is a program created by an Act of the Illinois General Assembly. Further action by the legislature could make changes to the program that affect the future availability of this benefit. Be sure to regularly visit this page for the latest updates regarding this program.

It is anticipated that the application for the 2019-20 Illinois SETTW Program will be available at this website in mid-December of 2018.