Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship


The UIC Graduate College is accepting applications for the  Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois [DFI] Fellowship Program.

The Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program (DFI) was established by the Illinois General Assembly and signed as Public Act 093-0862 on August 4, 2004. The purpose of DFI is to provide Fellowships to students pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees as part of the state’s effort to diversify the faculties and professional staffs at Illinois higher education institutions.

All academic fields at the master’s and the doctoral level will be considered for this award. The DFI Program Board prioritizes applicants who are interested in: a) obtaining a full-time instructional and administrative position in Illinois higher education; b) applicants pursuing degrees in any of the STEM fields; c) and applicants pursuing a doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree. Annual stipend levels are, generally, $10K-15k, depending on state funding. Full-time enrollment is required while on the fellowship. The UIC Graduate College provides a tuition and partial fee waiver for recipients in enrolled in graduate degree programs. The Fellowship is renewable for one year for master’s students and up to three years for doctoral students. Continued funding is contingent upon strong academic progress toward completion of the degree.


Applications must be submitted to the UIC Graduate College on or before February 15, 2019, @ 5:00 PM CST via the Graduate College’s Box.com folder: New_DFI.5mnii6ei2wqw19u1@u.box.com ONLY!


Eligibility is determined by citizenship, Illinois residency, underrepresented minority status, academic ability, academic pursuit, and financial need. Please see the application for detailed explanations.


The 2019-20 DFI Fellowship New Applicant Preliminary Questionaire and New Application are now available.


UIC Graduate students must submit their own applications [No Departmental Transmittal Form]. Applications and supporting documents should, preferably, be submitted as one single PDF using the following naming convention:


Students must submit the applications to: New_DFI.5mnii6ei2wqw19u1@u.box.com ONLY!  Only complete applications will be reviewed. Include the following documents:

  1. New Applicant Screening Form [Required for all Applicants]
  2. Official Acceptance Letter
  3. Signed and Completed Application Form
  4. Signed and Completed Financial Form
  5. Professional Goals Statement
  6. Voter Registration Card [Required for all Applicants]
  7. Statement of Underrepresented Status
  8. Official Transcripts [Must be sent to the applicant, scanned, and uploaded] w/ application
  9. Three Letters of Recommendation*

*Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the applicant directly. Alternatively, recommenders may confidently upload letters to the Graduate College’s secure Box.com folder at: New_DFI.5mnii6ei2wqw19u1@u.box.com   Letters must be saved in PDF using the following naming convention:


Example: If a recommender named Susan Smith were the writing a letter of recommendation for an applicant named George Washington the file would be named as follows:


Submit the letters to New_DFI.5mnii6ei2wqw19u1@u.box.com ONLY!

Do not send email attachments to the Institutional Representative. Applications not received according to the instructions above are unacceptable.


Information regarding the student’s Cost of Attendance [COA] less the Expected Family Contribution [EFC] determines financial need [Need].  Applicants must have a financial need of at least $10,000 for eligibility. Please consult the 2019-20 DFI Application and the UIC Office of Student Financial Aid to determine the impact of accepting the DFI Fellowship stipend and tuition and partial fee waiver.


There are 21 participating institutions. Application reviews occur at both the campus and the state levels. The campus-level review ensures that all applications are complete, thorough, and eligible. Institutions forward those applications onward to DFI Board for the second review at the state level. UIC graduate students win roughly one-third of 100 awards in the state each year. UIC may submit up to 25 new applications for 2019-20.

Eligible and competitive applications, as well as adherence to the application submission process, is imperative for success in both the campus-level review and state-level competition. Applicants will be notified in March 2019 of the evaluation of the status of their application. Notification of awards typically occurs in August or September 2019. Program funding for the 2019-20 academic year (FY2020) is contingent on the availability of funds appropriated by the Governor and Illinois General Assembly.


Students in need of assistance with DFI Fellowship Applications may attend one of the following workshops listed below.  Please register via https://goo.gl/forms/kodzVrtBCpJKZJhp2 or click on the hyperlinks below:

2019-20 DFI Fellowship Application Workshops [For Applicants]

Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 4-6 PM in 650 UH

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 from 12-2 PM in 650 UH

Tuesday, January 29, from 4-6 PM in 650 UH


New DFI Applicants with loans should be very clear about any impact of accepting the DFI Fellowship in advance of accepting it.


Please contact Lunaire Ford [lford@uic.edu], UIC DFI Institutional Representative, if you have questions.