Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program

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Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program (DFI) is a program for graduate students with aspirations of becoming future faculty. This program provides financial assistance to students during graduate school. The financial assistance is forgiven when the student becomes employed by an Illinois college/university.

For more than 21 years, the DFI program and its predecessor programs have provided competitive need-based financial awards to underrepresented students who have earned graduate degrees (master’s or doctoral) from a participating Illinois higher education institution.

The DFI Program annually provides competitive fellowship awards to over 100 Illinois minority graduate students.  The program aids students to complete graduate degrees (master’s or doctoral) leading to a faculty or staff position at Illinois higher education institutions.  Applicants must be enrolled full time in order to be eligible for a DFI award.  Applicants must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Illinois resident – applicant must have received a high school diploma or postsecondary degree from an accredited educational institution in Illinois or have 3 or more years of residency in Illinois
  • Underrepresented group
  • Academic ability
  • Academic pursuit
  • Financial need
For more information check the DFI webpage