SPRINGFIELD – Human services professionals may soon have access to student loan repayment assistance, thanks to a law led by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Human services workers provide life-changing services to some of our most vulnerable communities,” Fine said. “It is past time that we provide them with much-needed assistance.”  

Employees in the human services industry include welfare caseworkers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions specializing in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage in employees, partially due to financial barriers. Many of these professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, salaries do not often match the educational achievements, and many human service workers struggle to pay off their student loans.

Fine’s law encourages more students to enter this rewarding and essential workforce by providing student loan repayment plans for employees of community-based human services agencies. The law works to combat the critical worker shortage for the industry and provides assistance to many current human services workers, many of whom are women and people of color.

“While it is necessary for human services professionals to have specialized degrees to work with at-risk communities, possible student debt should not be a deterrent for interested students,” Fine said. “This loan repayment program will help ensure that the cost of tuition is no longer a financial roadblock when pursuing a career in human services.”

Senate Bill 3925 was signed into law June 10, 2022. It takes effect immediately.