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Graduate Fellowship

The Fred S. Bailey Scholarship awards nearly $200,000 each year in undergraduate and graduate financial aid to University of Illinois students who demonstrate a deep commitment to service and action.

Award Description

The Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership, Service, and Activism supports University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus graduate and professional students who have shown passion, creativity, innovation, and commitment through community organizing, activism, and/or service in one or more of the following areas: social justice, environment, global engagement and/or interfaith cooperation.

Award amount

A $14,000 (9 month) stipend.

Tuition and fee waivers are included for most recipients excluding those in cost recovery or self-supporting programs. Please contact your departmental representative for its policy on courtesy tuition waivers.

Please note: The recipient of the Fellowship will be responsible for any and all income tax liability that may result from receipt of the Fellowship.


  • Candidates must demonstrate passion, commitment, leadership and impact towards Social Justice, Environment, Faith in Action, and/or International issues
  • Candidates must demonstrate how their efforts represent new and innovative ways to address Social Justice, Environment, Interfaith Cooperation and/or Global Engagement and/or have significantly expanded existing efforts.
  • Applicants in all academic disciplines are eligible. Applicants must be pursuing a doctorate, master's or professional degree. Tuition and partial fee waiver may not be available for students in all programs, particularly cost recovery or self-supporting programs. Please contact your departmental representative for its policy on courtesy tuition waivers.
  • Must be enrolled as a graduate or professional student at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois as of August 26 of the funded year.

Application Timeline

November 15 – Applications for Fall 2024/Spring 2025 open online

February 15 – Application submission deadline/ Reference letter submission deadline

Early May – Applicants notified of decisions

Selection Process

Fred S. Bailey Fellowship Applications will be evaluated and selected using a two-stage process.

Stage 1: The Fred S. Bailey Fellowship Selection Committee will screen each application to confirm the eligibility of the applicant and completion of the application per the guidelines described below.

Each application will be evaluated on its merits with emphasis on the candidate's past impact and leadership in relation to community leadership for service and activism. At the conclusion of Stage 1, the committee will identify up to 5 finalists to move on to Stage 2.

Stage 2: Selected finalists will be notified to complete an in-person or virtual interview with the Fred S. Bailey Fellowship Selection Committee in late March/early April.  At the conclusion of these interviews, the Committee will select up to 2 Fellows and notify all applicants of their decision by late April/early May.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit a copy of their transcript and references as part of their materials (see the FAQ for help).

Program Requirements

Scholar Engagement Plan and Project

Bailey Fellows work with the Bailey Scholarship team to develop an engagement plan based on their unique interests and skills.  Past projects include: a culturally responsive immigrant health fair, development of an assessment plan for a YMCA mentoring program, developing a training program for undergraduates learning to build workshops, developing a training program for mentors at C.U. SUCCEED and more!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a copy of my transcript?

You can request a copy of your official transcript from the U of I Office of the Registrar. If you are a current U of I student, you can order an electronic copy of your transcript and directly upload it to your application.

For more information, visit the Registrar Transcript Site. If your undergraduate institution does not offer an electronic transcript option, use a scanner to create a pdf of your transcript or contact Jen Romine (bailey@universityymca.org), Bailey Scholarship Administrator at (217) 337-1500 for more options.

DON'T wait until the last minute. It takes the Office of the Registrar approximately 5 days to process your request. The YMCA will give a 5-day grace period after the deadline to receive transcripts but you don't want all of your hard work to be wasted because you did not order a transcript!

Am I eligible for a Bailey award if I plan to graduate this fall?

Yes, you may apply for a Bailey Fellowship even if you will not be enrolled in the spring. However, the Bailey Fellowship award is divided evenly between the semesters so you would only receive ½ of the total award (i.e. $7,000 for the fall semester)

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

There is no minimum GPA required to be eligible as a Bailey Fellow. However, academic achievement is considered in evaluating applications.

Is there an income requirement?

There is no income requirement to be eligible as a Bailey Fellow. However, financial need is considered in evaluating applications.

Who evaluates my application?

The Bailey Committee appoints a special Fellowship Selection Committee each spring. The Selection Committee is made up of University YMCA board members, Y alumni, community leaders and activists, and University of Illinois faculty and staff. To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Bailey program, email bailey@universityymca.org or call (217) 337-1500.

Who should I ask to be a reference?

A good reference should be familiar with your involvement and impact in your community. References can be an advisor, an instructor, a fellow organization member, a volunteer supervisor, a community leader, or anyone else who can speak to your character, passions, leadership, and how you are making a difference.

I received a Bailey award previously. Can I still apply?

Students who have received a Bailey Fellowship may NOT reapply for the fellowship.

Students who received a Bailey award as an undergraduate are eligible to apply as a graduate or professional student at UIUC for the fellowship.

Will this scholarship affect my financial aid package?

All Bailey Scholarships are reported to the University of Illinois Office of Student Financial Aid and are considered part of your total financial aid.  Every individual student's financial aid package is unique, and therefore this award may have no effect on one student's financial aid package while it could replace a grant, loan, or other award in another student's financial aid package.  The Fred S. Bailey Scholarship program does not have access to individual student's award information.  To learn more about how the Bailey Scholarship could impact your financial aid, we encourage you to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at finaid@illinois.edu or (217) 333-0100 .