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Graduate Access Fellowship
The goal of the Graduate Access Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago is to increase the number of students from historically underrepresented groups in graduate education who enter careers as researchers and college faculty. Historically underrepresented groups include: African American, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders.
Formerly the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, the Access Fellowship (AF) has a streamlined application and retains the two rounds of applications: recruitment and retention.
Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States who come from groups that have been historically underrepresented in graduate education. Historically underrepresented groups include: African American, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders. Due to state and federal funding restrictions, DACA students are not eligible.
There are two rounds of competition. The first is for recruitment. It is primarily for graduate students new to UIC. Students previously admitted to the UIC Graduate College may be eligible for recruitment competitions IF they are being actively recruited to a new graduate program (transitioning from a master’s to a PhD program in the same department does not meet this criterion; however, being recruited from an MA in political science to the PhD in sociology, for example, would meet this criterion). Applicants must already be admitted to the nominating program.
Recruitment Applicants must be currently enrolled as a degree-seeking student in the doctoral or terminal master's program at UIC that is nominating them. Continuing terminal master's and doctoral students who are advanced in their academic studies may be nominated, which is defined as 24 completed credit hours for master's students and successful completion of the preliminary examination(s) for doctoral students by the application deadline.
For this competition, UIC's terminal master's programs are: Architecture (MArch; MS); Architecture in Health Design (MS); Design Criticism (MA); Moving Image, New Media Arts, Photography, Studio Arts (MFAs); Museum and Exhibition Studies (MA); Biomedical Visualization (MS); Graphic and Industrial Design (MDes); Environmental & Urban Geography (MA); Forensic Science (MS); Forensic Toxicology (MS); French and Francophone Studies (MA); Health Professions Education (MPHE); Latin American & Latino Studies (MA); Occupational Therapy (MS); Spanish (MAT).
Selection criteria for all Access Fellowships (AFs) will be based on academic achievement and promise.
Applicants must be nominated by their departments.
Recruitment Fellowship (Deadline: Feb. 1)
The first AF competition is for recruitment. These awards provide up to four years of Graduate College funding for doctoral students and two years for terminal master's students. Recipients of the AF will receive a stipend of $25,000 in the first year, or $2,083.33 per month in the first year of the fellowship. Ph.D recipients are eligible for an additional year of support from the Graduate College when they begin their dissertation research (after completing their preliminary examination, but not before their fourth year nor after their fifth year of study), providing they meet the following criteria: (1) The student must be making good progress in the program; (2) The student must have received a minimum of two years of support from their department. The Graduate College must be informed by April 1 of the academic year prior to the renewal year that students have passed their preliminary examination and plan to renew--and are not past the student's fifth year.
In the second year (for a master's recipient) and the second and third years (for a doctoral recipient), the student’s academic program must provide, minimally, a nine-month, 50% FTE appointment, as a fellow, research assistant, and/or teaching assistant. Stipends for these students must be equivalent to those provided to other students in the same department. Students with a 50% teaching or research assistantships will have their stipends topped off up to $25,000 or by a maximum of $6,000, paid over the summer by the Graduate College. If a doctoral graduate program has a mechanism for financial support for students during years one and two, the Access Fellowship could be deferred to years three and four, provided that the student has met the progress requirements described above and the program has communicated with the Fellowships and Awards Coordinator.
During the first and fourth year of funding from the Graduate College, recipients may accept part-time assistantships from UIC only if related to their field of study (i.e., student's own research) up to a total of 50% FTE. Work unrelated to the field of study is not allowed. Graduate hourly appointments are also not permitted. Recipients may not hold University or Dean's Fellowships simultaneously with the Access Fellowship, nor any external award where it is prohibited by that external funding agency. Other awards may be held simultaneously; however, they must be approved by the Graduate College. It is the student's responsibility to know and understand the regulations of the Access Fellowship and those of any other award (see Policies below).
Graduate Access Fellowship recipients also receive a full tuition and partial fee waiver from the Graduate College. The waiver covers all tuition (including differential, if any) service fee, health service fee, academic facilities maintenance fund assessment, library and information technology assessment, and part of the cost of coverage (see link) for Fall and Spring Semester towards CampusCare, if applicable. All other fees are the responsibility of the student.
Students supported by these fellowships are required to complete at least 12 semester hours each semester unless expressly authorized by the Dean of the Graduate College to carry a reduced course load. Fellows are not required to register for the summer session by the Graduate College; however, individual departments may require summer registration. Fellows who register in the summer must enroll in at least 6 hours to be eligible for a summer tuition waiver. Fellows should check with the department to ensure that summer registration is not required for the degree program.
Outstanding student applicants for University and Access recruitment fellowships will be considered for the Pipeline to an Inclusive (PIF) Program. For more information, please click here.
Retention Fellowship (Deadline: April 2)
During the second competition, terminal master's and doctoral students currently enrolled at UIC may be nominated for a one-year retention award.
The general terms are largely the same ($25,000 + tuition and partial fee waiver); however, there is only one year of support from the Graduate College and the nominating department has no financial obligations to the recipient in conjunction with the one-year fellowship. Continuing terminal master's and doctoral students who are advanced in their academic studies may be nominated, which is defined as 24 completed credit hours for master's students and successful completion of the preliminary examination(s) for doctoral students by the application deadline.
Students may not receive more than two years of Access Fellowship funding from the Graduate College, i.e., one cannot win both the recruitment award and later the retention award.
Fellowships and Student Loans
The stipend portion of the award is taxable income, although the University may or may not withhold federal or Illinois income taxes.
Students who are obtaining loans from Financial Aid: Obtaining a fellowship WILL affect your financial aid eligibility. Typically, students with fellowships are not permitted to borrow federal aid due to cost of attendance regulations. Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid on eligibility requirements and for further information.
If applying for loans and/or work-study, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. See the Graduate Student Guide from the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.
The Application for Graduate Appointment is no longer required. Follow the requirements for the correct competition.
Programs should refrain from submitting nominations that are clearly not competitive. Programs may submit up to 15% of their total fall graduate enrollment. Programs in which 15% of the graduate enrollment is fewer than two students may nominate two students. Programs in which 15% of graduate enrollment is greater than 10 students, they may nominate a maximum of 10--or 15%; whichever is the smaller number. Enrollment data can be found by visiting the "Faculty/Staff" tab of the Graduate College website (grad.uic.edu). Go to "Program Data" and then find the program.
To be considered for nomination, applicants/students need to submit the following documents to the nominating department/program's Director of Graduate Studies well in advance of the deadlines. Carefully follow the maximum word limits, where noted.
Note: An incomplete application will decrease the nominee’s chances for award.
Winners are selected by the Diversity Committee, which is composed of elected and appointed UIC faculty from across the disciplinary colleges.
The Director of Graduate Studies reviews the application package that was electronically submitted to the program by the student. The DGS completes the Transmittal Form (fillable PDF), adding it as the cover page. Save the forms/documents listed above as one single PDF per nominee -- Tips on combining multiple PDF documents -- using the following naming convention: AF_YearofCompetition_DepartmentName_NomineeLastNameFirstInitial.pdf.
Do not use spaces in the pdf name. Here is an example Chuck Baudelaire's application from History: AF_2019_Hist_BaudelaireC.pdf.
The PDF file must be emailed to the Graduate College using the relevant secure Box folder:
- Arts & Humanities and Behavioral & Social Sciences: 2019_AF.email@example.com
- Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences & Life Sciences: 2019_AF.firstname.lastname@example.org
*NOTE: The department/program has to review all student requests prior to submitting the documents to the Graduate College by the deadline of 4 p.m. (CST) on February 1, 2019. Consult with your program to determine its internal deadline. Round one winners will be announced by February 22nd.
- Arts & Humanities and Behavioral & Social Sciences: 2019_AF.email@example.com
- Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences & Life Sciences: 2019_AF.firstname.lastname@example.org
*NOTE: The department/program has to review all student requests prior to submitting the documents to the Graduate College by the deadline of 4 p.m. (CST) on April 2, 2019. Consult with your program to determine its internal deadline. Round one winners will be announced by April 23rd.
Full list currently unavailable. Please address questions to Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator, email@example.com.