NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois State University is hoping to address a shortage of school administrators in Illinois school systems.

ISU is offsetting tuition costs for 20 principal preparation candidates for the spring of 2023 semester.

Accepted students will receive a $2,000 scholarship per semester for up to four semesters of education in the program. Principal preparation is a masters level program within ISU’s Department of Educational Administration and Foundations.

Applicants to the program must have at least 2 years of teaching experience to be accepted.

Chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations Lenford Sutton said many local districts are concerned of losing administrators as people retire or leave the profession.

“Since 2014, 75% of our students who graduate from this principal prep program are now working school principals, so our partnerships with our local folks are really strong and it helps with succession planning,” Sutton said.

In addition to supporting students, the department will cover districts` costs for hiring substitute teachers to free up the principal candidates to complete internships in P-12 schools. This is necessary because most students in the program are classroom teachers.