Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship Program
Deadline: Anticipated 2/2022 ( Previous deadline 2/12/2021 )
DEADLINE: For UIUC students, applications (both new and renewal) must be submitted electronically to the Graduate College Office of External Fellowships by 5:00 p.m. on February 12, 2021. As part of the application process, FAFSAs must be completed online by February 11, 2021.
Offered by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), DFI fellowships support underrepresented graduate students who intend to teach or become administrators in higher education in the state of Illinois following graduation. To be eligible, a student must be a US citizen or permanent resident, a member of an underrepresented ethnic group, a resident of the state of Illinois, enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program, able to demonstrate financial need, and able to demonstrate academic excellence. Applicants must also commit to working full-time in higher education in the state of Illinois starting upon graduation and continuing for as many years as was supported by the fellowship.
The program's goal is to increase the number of underrepresented full-time tenure track faculty and staff at Illinois' two- and four-year public and private colleges and universities.
- Stipend: It is anticipated that new DFI awardees will receive $11,000 and renewing awardees will receive $15,000. Stipend amounts will be finalized by IBHE later in the year.
- Tuition Waiver: Tuition waivers may be available. Note, however, that students in cost-recovery or self-supporting programs (see program list here) are not eligible for the waiver.
- Use as concurrent funding (for UIUC students). For UIUC students holding up to a 50% assistantship, the fellowship may be held concurrently with the assistantship. Students wishing to hold a concurrent fellowship with the DFI must request approval from the Graduate College's Business & Fellowship Processing Office.
Duration of Support:
Total DFI funding will not exceed four years. The fellowship will support master's students for a maximum of two years, and doctoral students for a maximum of four years. Master’s students funded through DFI are eligible to apply for an additional two years of support if they transition into doctoral study.
- Admission: Applicants must be admitted unconditionally to a master's or doctoral program at a participating institution (UIUC is a participating institution) at the time of application; and, if awarded, enroll as a full-time student as defined by the institution. Note that students with a master's in hand are ineligible for DFI support while pursuing a second master's. Students with a master's in hand will become eligible only upon entering a PhD program.
- Citizenship: Applicants must be either a US citizen or a legal permanent resident of the US.
- Illinois Residency: To be classified as an Illinois resident, the applicant must meet one of the following:
- Received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution in Illinois OR
- Received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution outside of Illinois and has lived in Illinois continually for a period of at least three years prior to application and is a registered voter in the state of Illinois. Applicants must provide a copy of their current voter registration card.
- Underrepresented Groups: Applicants must be a member of at least one ethnic group that is underrepresented in higher education. Historically, this has included Black/African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander.
- Academic Ability: Applicants must demonstrate academic ability as evidenced by:
- An earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
- A minimum grade point average of 2.75 in the last sixty hours of undergraduate work or over a 3.2 in at least 9 hours of graduate study;
- Unconditional admission to a post-baccalaureate degree program.
- Academic Pursuit: Applicants in all academic disciplines are eligible. Students in any of the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields are encouraged to apply and will receive priority consideration. Applicants must be pursuing a doctorate or master's degree.
- Financial Need: Applicants must demonstrate financial need. A FAFSA must be filed each year to maintain eligibility.
TERMS OF THE AWARD (POST-GRADUATION COMMITMENT):
Upon graduation or separation from the DFI institution, an award recipient must agree to actively seek and accept when offered a teaching or non-teaching full-time appointment at an Illinois postsecondary educational institution, or accept a position as an employee of this state in an education-related position equal to the number of years for which he or she receives the DFI fellowship. Students failing to fulfill this condition of the award shall be required to repay 20 percent of their cumulative award amount, subject to revision by the DFI Program Board.
TO APPLY (The application process below applies to UIUC students and students seeking to use the fellowship at UIUC. Other universities will have their own application process.):
There are separate application processes for new applicants and renewal applicants. Read the appropriate set of guidelines below depending on whether you are a new or renewing applicant.
For New Applicants:
Applicants should read the instructions below and the instructions on the DFI webpage well in advance of the deadline. There are several parts to a completed application. Incomplete applications, late applications, and applications that do not follow the instructions below will be disqualified without review.
Applicants and letter writers should each prepare their respective materials, as instructed below. Applicants must scan their materials into a single pdf and submit the file electronically to the Graduate College's Office of External Fellowships through this Box folder by the campus deadline. The pdf should be named as follows: LastName, FirstName - DFI2021 (for example: Smith, John - DFI2021). The pdf must contain the following documents, arranged in the following order:
- Completed DFI Application Form. All questions and checkboxes on the form must be completed.
- Copy of your official acceptance letter for the degree program for which funding is being sought. If you no longer have your acceptance letter, you will need to obtain a copy from your department.
- Completed Financial Information Form (found on page 14 of the DFI Application Form). To complete the Financial Information Form, applicants must complete a 2021-22 FAFSA online no later than February 11, 2021. Applicants who do not complete the online FAFSA by this date are ineligible for the DFI fellowship.
- Copy of your FAFSA Confirmation Page Email (which you will receive from the Dept of Education upon completing your online FAFSA application). Please note that this is separate from your Student Aid Report. The document needed is the email you received from Federal Student Aid after you completed your online FAFSA registration, and the subject line of that email reads "FAFSA Confirmation Page E-mail."
- Professional Goals Statement. See the DFI Application Form for guidelines on this statement.
- A copy of the applicant's Voter Registration Card is required from students who did not receive a high school or post-secondary degree from an accredited educational institution in Illinois. In other words, applicants who are claiming Illinois residency by virtue of their having lived in Illinois for at least three years must submit a copy of their Voter Registration Card.
- Statement of Underrepresented Status. See the DFI Application Form for guidelines on this statement.
- Official transcripts. Students currently enrolled at UIUC must submit an official UIUC transcript. Students entering UIUC in the fall of 2021 must submit official transcripts from their current institutions. Transcripts must be included as part of this pdf.
- Three letters of recommendation are also required. Each letter must be written on official letterhead, scanned into a pdf, and submitted electronically by the recommender through this Box folder. The pdf must be named as follows: Student's Last Name, Student's First Name - DFI2021 - Recommender's Name (e.g., Smith, John - DFI2021 - Albert Einstein). Letters emailed directly to the Graduate College, sent via regular mail, hand delivered, or submitted with an improper file name will not be accepted.
ALL materials above must be submitted according to the instructions, through the online portal, by the campus deadline. Applications not following these instructions will be disqualified.
Selection Process: The University of Illinois may submit only 25 new applications for consideration by IBHE. The Graduate College will convene a review panel to review applications and select the 25 finalists. Review criteria will include evidence of academic achievement (GPA, publications, presentations, etc.), coherence and strength of the statements, and the level of endorsement found in the recommendation letters. Finalists’ applications will be sent to IBHE, and IBHE will select awardees.
For Renewal Applicants:
UIUC students who are eligible for renewal should submit the following items:
- Completed DFI Renewal Application.
- Current CV.
- Copy of your FASFA Confirmation Page Email. Please note that this is separate from your Student Aid Report. The document needed is the email you received from Federal Student Aid after you completed your online FAFSA registration, and the subject line of that email reads "FAFSA Confirmation Page E-mail."
Applicants must scan these three materials into a single pdf and name the file as follows: Last Name, First Name - DFIRenewal2021 (e.g., Smith, Jane - DFIRenewal2021). The file should then be uploaded to this Box folder by February 12, 2021.
Categories: Annual stipend of at least $10,000; Social Sciences; Sciences/Engineering/Math; Fine Arts; Humanities; US Citizens, Nationals, or Permanent Residents; Master's; Early Years of Doctoral Program; Fellowship/Grant; Underrepresented Students
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