Assistantships, Scholarships, and Financing for Graduate Students

Financial resources available to our graduate students come in the form of assistantships, scholarships, research funding opportunities, and travel money.


Nearly all of the qualified graduate students receive assistantships, scholarship support, and/or tuition waivers making graduate training in HDFS at Iowa State University a viable graduate education experience.

There are two types of assistantships – research and teaching:

  • A research assistantship involves working with a faculty member on his/her research and may include collecting data, analyzing data, and helping write publications or grants.
  • We also have several teaching assistantships. Some of them involve helping with college courses while others involve independently teaching college courses.

Applying for assistantships: Applicants to HDFS indicate their assistantship preference on the Admissions Supplemental Information Sheet.

Salary: Currently graduate assistantships in Human Development and Family Studies at half-time (20 hours each week) for 9-months receive $16,200.00

Tuition assistance: If a 20-hour appointment is granted, tuition scholarships cover:

  • Full tuition at the Ph.D. level
  • Half the in-state tuition at the M.S. level.

Out-of-state students with assistantships qualify for in-state tuition.

Income from assistantships is subject to state and federal income taxes.

Incoming students

The director of graduate education in Human Development and Family Studies (DOGE), in combination with the chair of HDFS, assigns each incoming student to a research and/or teaching assistantship. Assignments are made that are a good fit for the student based on the student’s application materials, skills, research interests, and career aspirations.

Faculty members may also request specific students to work with them.

Continuing students

Continuing students are sent a form yearly that asks them about their assistantship preferences for the next year. Faculty members are sent forms asking them what research and teaching assistantships they will have available and who they want to work with. Matches between student and faculty requests as well as departmental needs are made by the department chair and DOGE.


In addition to our financial support through assistantships, the College of Human Sciences (CHS) offers a limited number of scholarship opportunities to students yearly. These scholarships are offered to both incoming and continuing students each year. The Graduate Education Committee reviews admission applications as well as current students’ productivity in the areas of coursework, teaching, research, and service each year to determine who receives scholarships based on the pool of students who apply.

The CHS scholarship application should be submitted to preferably at the same time as your other application materials, but no later than the deadline for scholarship applications (February 1). Scholarship application deadline for continuing students is March 1.

Additional scholarship resources

ISU Scholarship Opportunities

Search FastWeb Scholarships

Search FinAid Scholarships

Graduate student research fund

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies, as part of its mission to educate and support the learning experiences of its graduate students, offers the Graduate Student Research Grant Program. The fund supports thesis ($750) or dissertation ($1,000) research. 

Application deadline: Rolling deadline

Submitting request: Follow the instructions on the Grad Research Fund.

Graduate student travel fund

HDFS pays up to $500 for HDFS graduate students traveling to present a refereed paper or poster.

HDFS does not have the funds to support students who are only traveling and not presenting; however, GPSS Travel PAG funds can be requested.

Use the Travel Template to create your budget.

HDFS does not have a form developed for requesting the HDFS travel funds, so students must use the GPSS Travel PAG form to request HDFS funding. The HDFS travel funds are in addition to Graduate College and Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS Travel PAG) funds.

Submitting request: All PAG forms must be submitted to HDFS first (to Linda Ritland, 2330 Palmer) as soon as possible after receiving confirmation of registration.