CHICAGO – Today, in recognition of Veterans Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced grant funds are available to nurses working at Illinois Veterans’ Homes to help them pay off student loans. Nurses who provide care for Illinois Veterans in the state’s four Veterans’ Homes are now eligible to have as much as $5,000 of their student loans repaid by the state, thanks to the new Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). There is a total of $1.22 million available for nurses through this program.
“We are making every effort to help make sure that all of our veterans get the quality care they deserve. But we should also be able to help the nurses who are working so hard to provide the best care for our veterans,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “This new Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program will not only help nurses repay their student loans, it will attract even more qualified nurses to pursue their career helping take care of our veterans.”
“As we observe Veterans Day, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by the men and women who now reside in Illinois Veterans’ Homes. One way to honor these warriors is by providing the best care possible,” IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth said. “The Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program enables us to keep quality nursing professionals on the job doing what they do best.”
“Nursing is a tough profession that takes a special kind of person, one with commitment and compassion,” ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis said. “When it comes to caring for our veterans, the people of Illinois wish to attract and retain the very best nursing professionals. This program will help do so.”
To be eligible for the repayment, the registered professional or licensed practical nurse must:
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and be an Illinois resident;
- have an outstanding balance due on an eligible educational loan (includes Stafford Loans, Graduate PLUS loans, consolidation loans, nursing student loans, Supplemental Loans for Students, alternative loans and other types of government and institutional loans);
- be a nurse who meets licensing requirements of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation;
- be a nurse whose employment is in good standing by the IDVA;
- fulfill a 12-month period as a RPN or LPN at one of the State’s four Veterans’ Homes.
The annual award can be up to $5,000 and granted up to four years. The award may only be used to pay the recipient’s educational loan.
IDVA has four Veterans’ Homes located in Anna, LaSalle, Quincy and Manteno. Each Veterans’ Home is fully staffed with caring and dedicated professionals to provide economical and quality long-term care for veterans and their spouses which includes domiciliary care, intermediate care, and skilled care.
“We have so many hard working nurses at our facility and we appreciate all the hard work they do on a daily basis, serving our veterans. These nurses deserve an additional incentive, as many of them are still paying off student loans,” Quincy Veterans’ Home Administrator Bruce Vaca said. “This repayment program is a great idea and I know will be really appreciated.”
For more information or to apply for the Veterans’ Home Nurse Loan Repayment Program, visit ISAC’s web site, collegezone.com. Information can be found in the “Student Zone” in the “After College” section. To download the application, click on “Applications” under the “Publications & Applications” section of the homepage. Applications are also available at each of the four Veterans’ Homes.