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Block Grants

BLOCK GRANTS

The Graduate College's Block Grant Program supports departmental efforts to recruit and retain outstanding graduate students. The program provides grants to individual units, with the goal of allowing units to provide fellowship support to outstanding incoming or currently enrolled graduate students.

Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Block Grants:

In Fall 2018, an ad-hoc committee of graduate faculty members and Graduate College staff members was appointed and charged with reviewing the process used to determine Block Grant allocations. A summary of the committee's major recommendations is as follows:

  1. The Block Grant allocation should provide a minimum level of funding to all departments with a doctoral or terminal master’s degree program.
     
  2. The Block Grant allocation should account for the size of doctoral programs on our campus.
     
  3. Block Grant allocations should be allocated based on the average number of doctoral and terminal master’s degrees students enrolled in a department, to be determined by calculating the 5-year average of the number of students entering the program each year and the number of students completing the program each year.
     
  4. The Block Grant allocation should also account for the external funding available to a department for the support of graduate education, as indicated by the External Funding Index, and should be reduced in inverse proportion to the availability of these resources.
     

2021-22 Block Grant Allocations:

Following the recommendations of the ad hoc committee and in consultation with the Office of the Provost, the Graduate College now utilizes the following principles to determine the Block Grant allocation for each department:

  1. Minimum Funding Level: In order to provide sufficient funds to each department to support at least one student at the .50 FTE funding level, for AY 2021-22, the minimum Block Grant allocation irrespective of size will be set at $19,300, which is equivalent to the campus minimum funding level for a 9-month .50 FTE graduate assistantship.
     
  2. Program Size: Block grant allocations will be allocated based on the average number of students enrolled in a department’s doctoral and terminal master’s degree programs by calculating the 5-year average of the number of students entering the program each year and the number of students completing the program each year.
     
  3. External Funding: The 2021-22 allocation process will take into consideration the external funding available to a department for the support of graduate education, as indicated by the External Funding Index.  Funding will be allocated in inverse proportion to the availability of external resources, but reduced to no less than the minimum funding level ($19,300).
     
  4. Maximum Funding Level:  In order to permit the establishment of a minimum funding level of $19,300, a Block Grant cap of $50,000 per department will be established.

To operate in accordance with the above principles, the 2021-22 Block Grant program will distribute $1,931,121.
 

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