NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants

One major purpose of an undergraduate education in the liberal arts is to help students shape a philosophy of life. At the same time, undergraduates today are increasingly preoccupied with postgraduate employment. The purpose of this grant program is to help colleges and universities develop more effective ways to strengthen the link between these two purposes of undergraduate education. It is designed to support institutions in their efforts to expand vocational exploration and discernment programs across the curriculum and cocurricular programs, with the following goals: (a) to help students develop more effective links between developing a philosophy of life and preparing for a career; (b) to include more faculty and students in the theological and intellectual exploration of vocation; and, in some cases, (c) to build connections with community partners, such as local businesses, nonprofits, and other community organizations.

Proposals may focus on upper-level undergraduates, lower-division study, or both. Proposals that seek to integrate vocational exploration as a continuum from the first year through the senior year, and/or across the range of academic disciplines and applied fields, are especially encouraged.

An optional special initiative within this grant program—Vocation across the Academy Community Partnerships—is designed to achieve many of the same objectives through partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations that more closely tie students’ vocational exploration to their professional and career preparation. Proposals made through this special initiative are eligible for additional funding.

Lilly Endowment Inc. logo

This initiative is administered by CIC with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Current Status

​NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants provide three years of grant funding for projects that are four years in duration. Institutions may request up to $30,000 for the first year, and are expected to raise third-party matching gifts in an equal amount by the end of the grant’s first year. These matching funds are to support activities proposed for the grant period’s second and third years. Upon fulfillment of the matching requirement, an institution will receive from CIC an amount equal to the initial award for use during the grant period’s second and third years. Thus, the entire funding from CIC and third-party sources may be up to $90,000 for the three-year period of the grant. Vocation across the Academy Grants are designed to augment the institution’s capacity to sustain a more significant level of vocation-related activity than was previously the case. Therefore, grant proposals should also describe the project’s fourth year, to be sustained at an appropriate level entirely with institutional funds.

Proposals offered under the special “Community Partnerships” initiative of this grant may include requests of an additional $5,000, for a total of $35,000 for the first year. This larger amount is also eligible for the special matching-grant bonus; if third-party funds are raised in the full amount, the institution will receive from CIC an additional amount equal to the original award—in this case, up to $35,000. Thus, for this special initiative, the entire funding from CIC and third-party sources may be up to $105,000 for the three-year period of the grant.

Examples of allowable expenses include (a) faculty or staff released time for mini-grants to design new courses; (b) special workshops or retreats for faculty members, career advising staff, chaplains, or student life staff to gain deeper understanding of how each group of college personnel can contribute to vocational exploration efforts; (c) purchase of reading materials and other resources for use during the grant period; (d) funds for expenses of student events led by faculty members or other campus leaders who would work closely together, including reading materials and refreshments for these events. Additional examples may be found in the summaries of current and previous grants, listed below. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, but not to substitute for faculty and staff costs that the institution is presently providing for its vocational exploration activities. Additional buyouts of faculty and staff time may be included as a part of the grant. Certain expenses are ineligible for grant support; for details, please consult the Grant Budget Guidelines. In general, grants should be used to offset one-time costs for programming and professional development in pursuit of the objectives of the project.

CIC has awarded 66 grants in the first five rounds of the NetVUE Vocation across the Academy grant program.

View Previous Grant Awards

In July 2018, awards were given to 21 NetVUE campuses. View summaries of the 2018 program initiatives.

In July 2019, an additional 12 NetVUE campuses received awards. View summaries of the 2019 program initiatives.

In July 2020, an additional 18 NetVUE campuses received awards.  View summaries of the 2020 program initiatives.

In July 2021, an additional six NetVUE campuses received awards. View summaries of the 2021 program initiatives.

In July 2022, an additional nine NetVUE campuses received awards. View summaries of the 2022 program initiatives.

In July 2023, an additional 14 NetVUE campuses received awards. View summaries of the 2023 program initiatives.


All NetVUE member institutions are eligible for these grants, as long as they do not currently hold another NetVUE grant (other than an Institutional Saga grant); in addition, any previous NetVUE grant must have been concluded (and a report submitted) before the proposal deadline. Previous recipients of a Vocation across the Academy Grant are eligible only if three years have passed between the spending deadline of the previous grant and the start date of the proposed grant. Proposals are typically due in the spring, with decisions announced in the early summer for funding that begins in July. Grantees are expected to submit an interim report, including documentation of the donor match, well before the end of the first year of the grant. Additional reports are due after each year of the project.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the grant application, please contact Carter Aikin, NetVUE grant director, at or (217) 854-5619.

About NetVUE

Learn more about NetVUE, including the array of programs and services that are available to member institutions.