The goal of DFI is to increase the number of minority full-time tenure track faculty and staff at Illinois’ two- and four-year, public and private colleges and universities.
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. The application deadline is posted on the DFI web page and provided to each institution's Institutional Representative each year. Individual institutions may set an internal deadline prior to the specified date for processing purposes. Please check with your institutional representative to comply with the application deadline.
To be classified as an Illinois resident, an applicant must have 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 for a period of at least three years prior to applying for a grant.
African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. "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.
Applicants must possess above average academic ability as evidenced by:
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.
Applicants must demonstrate financial need. A FAFSA must be filed each year to maintain eligibility.
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:
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.