Loyola University Chicago

The Graduate School


Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship

Starting in Fall 2021, for continuing PhD students, Loyola University Chicago is participating in the the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) fellowship program. The goal of the DFI program is to support graduate work of under-represented minorities who are residents of Illinois in order to increase the number of minority full-time tenure track faculty and staff at Illinois’ two-year and four-year, public and private colleges and universities.   

Completed applications are due to The Graduate School no later than midnight February 5, 2021. 


Eligibility Requirements

i. Enrollment Status for Fall 2021 - Applicants must be currently enrolled in a PhD program and, if awarded, must be enrolled as a full-time student as defined by the institution (students who are in supervision coursework are considered full-time). 

ii. Illinois Residency - 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.

iii. Membership in Underrepresented Groups - 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.

iv. Financial Need - Applicants must demonstrate financial need.  Please submit a completed Federal Applications for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA), which must be filed each year to maintain eligibility. 

v. Academic Ability - Applicants must demonstrate academic ability to pursue a graduate or professional degree, as evidenced by the following:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
  • Minimum grade point average of over a 3.2 in at least 9 hours of graduate study;
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals who can comment on fellow’s potential to complete degree program and obtain a full-time professional teaching or administrative position in higher education.

vi. Loans - New DFI Fellowship applicants with loans should be very clear, in advance, about any financial impact that receiving the fellowship may have.


Application Process


Loyola PhD students must submit applications directly to the Graduate School at gradschool@luc.edu. Applications and supporting documents should, preferably, be submitted as one single PDF using the following naming convention:



Only complete applications will be reviewed. A complete application includes the following documents:  

  1. New Applicant Preliminary Questionnaire [On page 9 of the application]
  2. Statement of Professional Goals
  3. Voter Registration Card [copies are acceptable]
  4. Statement of Underrepresented Status
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation*
  6. Signed and Completed Application Form
  7. Signed and Completed Financial Form
  8. Official Transcripts [No Copies]  – Sent to the applicant, scanned, & uploaded w/ application

 *Letters of recommendation should be sent to the applicant directly. Alternatively, send letters to gradschool@luc.edu. Letters must be saved in PDF using the following naming convention:




Example: If a recommender named Susan Smith were the writing a letter of recommendation for an applicant named George Washington the file would be named as follows

DFI_FY2022_New_SmithS_Letter of Recommendation_WashingtonG.pdf

Application Review

Application reviews occur at both the campus and the state levels. The campus-level review ensures that all applications are complete, thorough, and eligible. Institutional representatives forward eligible and competitive applications to the DFI Board for the second review at the state level.

Eligible and competitive applications that follow the submission process imperative for success in both the campus-level review and state-level competition. Applicants will be notified in March 2021 of the evaluation of the status of their applications. DFI Representatives will be notified of IBHE/ Board Approval of Awards in June 2021.  Program funding for the 2021-22 academic year (FY2022) is contingent on the availability of funds appropriated by the Governor and Illinois General Assembly.