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Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship (DFI)

2020-2021 Application

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) releases the application in early 2020.  As soon as released, we will update here so please check back.  In the meantime, you may visit IBHE's website for more information on the scholarship.


1920-2020 Application

The 2019-2020 New and Renewal applications for the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Program are now posted on the Illinois Board of Higher Education's (IBHE) website at  For more than 23 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.

Completed application materials must be submitted to the NLU's DFI Institutional Representative on or before Friday, February 15, 2019, 5:00 p.m. CST.  A complete list of the DFI Institutional Representatives can be found on the DFI website at applications or applications submitted after Friday, February 15, 2019 will not be considered.

The DFI Program was established by the Illinois General Assembly and signed as Public Act 093-0862 on August 4, 2004. 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.

Program funding for the 2019-2020 academic year (FY2020) is contingent on the availability of funds appropriated by the Governor and Illinois General Assembly.

Students who are pursuing a second Master's degree are not eligible to receive funding, therefore, your application will not be considered if you choose to apply.

Although you may have received the DFI Application, all information that you submit must go through your Graduate School/Institutional Representative.  Please DO NOT forward or submit any applications and/or documentation directly to the DFI Program.

*Completion of the New Applicant Preliminary Questionnaire form is required for consideration in the DFI Program.  This form replaces the online registration form.

Completed 2019-2020 academic year DFI New application and material must be submitted directly to the DFI Institutional Representative on or before Friday, February 15, 2019The following documents constitute a complete New DFI application:

  • Official Acceptance Letter
  • 2018-2019 DFI New Application
  • DFI New Application Screening Page
  • Completed Financial Form-page (14) of the DFI Application
  • Professional Goals Statement-Please provide a list of your academic awards, presentations, publications, and honors in your Professional Goals Statement.  
  • Voter Registration Card, if required
  • Statement of Underrepresented Status
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

NLU has a limit of ten (10) new applications that can be submitted for consideration, therefore, the first ten (10) completed applications that are received will be submitted.

Thank you for your interest in the DFI program for 2019-2020. DFI recipients who have questions regarding the DFI Renewal Application proccess, please contact the NLU's DFI Institutional Representative or Dr. Arthur Sutton, Deputy Director Diversity and Outreach at (217) 557-7347 or via e-mail: DFI@ibhe.orgIf you will not be renewing your DFI Fellowship in 2019-2020, please contact DFI immediately to let them know and provide the reason as to why you are not planning to renew your DFI Fellowship.

Best of Luck to you!


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