The Diversifying Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship program supports graduate work of under-represented minorities who are residents of Illinois. 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 post-secondary 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.


Deadline for FY2023 DFI New Application: February 11, 2022 at 4pm CST

Deadline for FY2023 DFI Renewal Application: February 11, 2022 at 4pm CST



  • Admission: Applicants must already be admitted to a Master’s or Doctoral program at a participating institution at the time of application.
  • Illinois Residency: To be classified as an Illinois resident, an applicant must have received a high school diploma or postsecondary degree from an accredited educational institution in Illinois and have three or more years of residency in Illinois.
  • Underrepresented Groups: “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.
  • Academic Ability: Applicants must have an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning; applicants must possess a minimum grade point average of 2.75 (scale 4.0 = A) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and over a 3.2 (scale 4.0 = A) in at least 9 hours of graduate study;
  • Applicants in all academic disciplines are eligible. Candidates pursuing degrees 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, terminal master’s or master’s degree.
  • Financial Need: Applicants must demonstrate financial need. A FAFSA must be filed each year to maintain eligibility


Application Instructions:

The following must be submitted via email to Kevin Doherty,

  • Copy of Proof of Admission (acceptance letter)
  • Completed application form submitted through your Institutional Representative. All questions on application form pertain to the degree program for which funding is being sought, unless otherwise indicated:
  • Completed financial form (included on application form)
  • Copy of FAFSA
  • The Professional Goals Statement (instructions on application form)
  • Copy of Voter Registration Card, if required
  • Statement of Underrepresented Status (instructions on application form)
  • Three letters of recommendation addressed to Beth Powers, DFI UChicago Representative, UChicago GRAD, 970 E. 58th Street. Chicago, IL 60637 and sent via email to
  • Only official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions (no copies)


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