ADMISSION. Applicants must be admitted to a Master's or Doctoral program at a participating institution at the time of application; and, if awarded, enroll as a full-time student as defined by the institution. Application deadline is February 19th for the following academic year, although individual institutions may set an internal deadline prior to that date for processing purposes. Please check with your institutional representative to determine the actual application deadline.
ILLINOIS RESIDENCY. To be classified as an Illinois resident, an applicant must have received a high school diploma or post-secondary degree from an educational institution in Illinois or have lived in Illinois for the past three years.
UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS. African American, Hispanic American, Native American or Asian American. "Traditionally underrepresented minority group" means any of the minority groups designated in the Act which are represented in Illinois post-baccalaureate enrollment at a percentage rate less than the percentage of the minority group's representation in the total Illinois population. The Illinois Board of Higher Education shall determine annually which groups are underrepresented based upon census data and annual graduate enrollment reports from Illinois institutions of higher education.
ACADEMIC ABILITY. Applicants must possess above average academic ability as evidenced by:
An earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
A minimum grade point average of 2.75 (scale 4.0 = A) in the last sixty hours of undergraduate work or over a 3.2 (scale 4.0 = A) 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. Applicants must be pursuing a doctorate or master's degree. Applicants must plan on pursuing a career in teaching or administration at an Illinois post-secondary institution or Illinois higher education governing board.
- FINANCIAL NEED Applicants must demonstrate financial need. A FAFSA must be filed each year to maintain eligibility.
- MORE on Eligibility Requirements
Terms of the Award
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 administrative, educational-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.
The DFI Award is available for a maximum of four years:
- Doctorate Degree - Four (4) Years
- Master Degree - Two (2) Years
Master’s degree holders funded through DFI are eligible to apply for additional years of support for doctoral study; total DFI funding is not to exceed four years. [ MORE on Terms of Award ]