Graduate Assistantship

Approximately 80% of our PhD students and 35% of our master's students receive a graduate assistantship (the percentages can differ greatly among disciplines). These graduate teaching, research, and administrative assistantships, and fellowships are available through the individual programs and affiliated research institutes in each academic college. To learn of these opportunities, contact your department or program of interest. For specifics about graduate assistantships, please refer to the Graduate College Handbook.


Graduate assistants must:

  • Be admitted on a full, provisional, or (in limited cases) restricted basis. Definitions for these categories can be found in the handbook.
  • Be registered as a student.
  • Devote a specified number of hours per week to the teaching, research, or administrative projects of the sponsoring department or program.

In addition, teaching assistants (and other graduate students who have teaching responsibilities) who are not native speakers of American English must take International TA Program (oral proficiency) tests before being assigned teaching duties by their department. If the international TAs test are below level-one they are required to take 1-2 semesters of communication classes. See the testing section for more details.


For the latest stipend amounts, visit the Stipend Ranges page. The stipend is subject to income tax withholding requirements as payment for work. For information on loans and other types of employment, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid, 0210 Beardshear Hall, 515-294-2223.

Tuition and Fee Reduction, and Other Benefits

  • Tuition: Graduate assistants with an appointment of one-quarter time or more for at least 3 months during each semester and 6 weeks during the summer term are assessed resident tuition for each term they have an assistantship. Spouses of graduate assistants are also assessed tuition at the resident rate. Contact Kara Schoepfer (, 214E Enrollment Services) in the Registrar's Office to initiate this process.
  • Tuition Scholarship: Graduate assistants who are on appointment for at least 3 months during each semester and 6 weeks during the summer, receive a Graduate Tuition Scholarship for a portion of resident tuition (unless they are on restricted admission or academic probation, or they hold a fellowship or traineeship that provides funds for tuition and fee payment). Students who are on half time assistantship or greater and are candidates for doctoral and certain professional master's degrees (M.Arch., M.L.A., and M.F.A.), beginning Summer 2006 will receive a scholarship award that pays 100% of the in-state tuition costs. Master's candidates will receive a 50% tuition scholarship award.
  • Computer fee reduction: Graduate assistants are assessed half of the required computer fee for the academic year.
  • Health insurance: Graduate assistants on an appointment at least 3 months during each semester receive single student health insurance coverage which includes a prescription drug plan at no charge (additional coverage for a spouse, children, and dental is available for additional premiums). Visit for information on how to enroll, costs, and specific plan information.

Graduate assistantship support is generally available for 3 years of full-time study for the master's degree or 5 years for the doctorate, although shorter periods may be stipulated by individual departments. Graduate students who are studying at ISU on a visa should contact the International Students & Scholars Office, located in Suite 3249 in the Memorial Union.