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Block Grants

The Graduate College’s Block Grant Program supports departmental efforts to recruit and retain outstanding graduate students. Starting in Fall 2018, the Block Grant program will offer two primary mechanisms of support.

1. Support to Departments:

The program will provide grants to individual units, with the goal of allowing units to provide University Fellowships to outstanding incoming or currently enrolled graduate students. Fellowship awardees will be selected at the unit level, and the Graduate College will determine unit allocations based on doctoral and terminal masters degree (e.g. MFA) enrollment.  Enrollment data per unit will be reviewed annually, and allocations for the following year will be made accordingly.

 2. Support for Underrepresented Minority Students:

The program will also promote campus diversity by allocating funds to support Graduate College Fellowships for Underrepresented Minority Students. Graduate College Fellowships are intended as campus recruitment fellowships. Students must be US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents, and they must be members of a group traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Priority will be given to students of African-American, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (Guam or American Samoan) descent. Students in approved cost-recovery or self-supporting programs are not eligible for nomination. Information about the application process is available here. In addition, limited resources will be made available to support departmental efforts to mentor underrepresented students.

By dedicating the Block Grant program to these two endeavors, the Graduate College will foster both academic excellence and diversity, thereby promoting a campus-wide culture of graduate education that celebrates difference while providing enhanced opportunities for all students.

For details on how departments must use their fixed-sum Block Grant allocations, see the following guidelines. 

Block Grant Guidelines:

Block Grant allocations must be used by departments for University Fellowships during the fiscal year, with appointments beginning no earlier than July 16 and ending no later than June 15. Departments that make fellowship offers exceeding their allocations must assume financial responsibility for commitments in excess of the allocation. Departments should determine the award period using the standard fellowship award periods, found at www.grad.illinois.edu/faculty-staff/toolkits/fellowship-dates. Units may award fellowships either as the sole support or concurrently with assistantships or other fellowships.

Fellowships must be administered in accordance with the fellowship policies outlined in the Graduate College Handbook at www.grad.illinois.edu/gradhandbook. Departmental decisions will govern University Fellowship appointments with the understanding that submissions will be subject to a brief administrative review in the Graduate College. The Graduate College, not the department, will send each Fellow a formal Notice of Fellowship Appointment. Vacancies created by declines of these fellowships may be filled at any time during the fiscal year.

Fellowships are awarded under the following terms:

  1. University Fellows must be degree-seeking graduate students in good academic standing. Students admitted on limited status due to GPA or current students on academic probation or dismissal status are not eligible.
  2. The University Fellowship must either be sufficient to generate a waiver (minimum fellowship stipend amount sufficient to generate a waiver is listed below by academic year) or else must accompany a waiver-generating appointment (assistantship, fellowship, or traineeship).
  3. Students receiving University Fellowships that meet the minimum stipend amounts will receive a full tuition waiver, regardless of their academic program. This includes Fellows in academic programs whose students receive base-rate waivers with their assistantships. Fellows receive a full waiver of tuition, service fee, AFMFA fee, and Library/Technology fee, full payment of the health service fee, partial payment of the health insurance fee along with University-paid dental and vision coverage for each term of the fellowship. This means that the Fellow is responsible for paying the balance of all other fees, unless departments elect to pay them from other funds.
  4. With a waiver-generating University Fellowship, a Fellow may carry assistantship or hourly appointments of no more than 50% time (20 hours total) with prior approval of the Graduate College Fellowship Office.
  5. Services are not required for University Fellowship holders, although services are required for any concurrent assistantships that they hold

Related links: Procedures for the Administration of University Fellowship Funds