sb 2776SPRINGFIELD — With her experience working as a student teacher and struggling to make ends meet, State Senator Natalie Toro is pushing legislation to help new teachers pursue their passions while helping provide financial stability. Her new measure, Senate Bill 2776, creates a Student Teaching Stipend program to further support recipients of the Minority Teacher of Illinois Scholarship Program.  

“It is difficult for young people to pursue a career as a teacher because most will have to work without pay for six months as a student teacher while trying to make ends meet,” said Toro (D-Chicago). “This legislation will give more student teachers financial stability and allow them to focus on becoming the future educators of our youngest Illinoisans.”

While the Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program lessens the financial burden on student teachers, it is often not enough to fully support all students, especially those who come from lower-income backgrounds. Senate Bill 2776 would establish the Student Teaching Stipend – beginning in the 2025-2026 school year – to provide financial assistance to MTI student teachers during their year of student teaching.

Currently, the program is administered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and awards scholarships of up to $5,000 per year to minority students enrolled in a teacher education program at a qualified Illinois college or university. In exchange for their scholarships, recipients are required to teach for one year in Illinois for each scholarship they receive through this program. The teaching obligation must be fulfilled at a nonprofit preschool, elementary or secondary school at which the enrollment is at least 30% minority.  

Under this measure, ISAC would administer the program and determine the amount students would receive on a yearly basis.

 “Having lived the experience of a struggling student teacher, I know this period in a teacher’s life can be discouraging and even cause student teachers to leave the program for their own financial stability,” said Toro. “We should be encouraging teachers to pursue this field and address any deterrents we can. Providing stipends for student teachers is a good place to start.”

Senate Bill 2776 awaits discussion in the spring legislative session.