How much does it cost to attend graduate school at Iowa State University?

You can find information about Iowa State’s graduate student tuition here. However, most of our graduate students are funded, that is, they do not have to use their own money to pay for graduate school. In fact, they also get a stipend to assist them in covering their living expenses. This funding comes from an “assistantship.” All applicants are eligible to be considered for assistantships.

An assistantship for M.A. students in the 2020/2021 academic year includes the following:

  • a stipend of $9,625 (before taxes) each fall and spring semester with eligibility for a maximum of two years;
  • an assessment of in-state tuition ($5,434 per semester, including mandatory fees);
  • a tuition reduction of $2,439 (the assistantship pays $2,439 towards your tuition each semester, meaning that you pay $2,995 per semester for tuition and fees);
  • health insurance benefits (single health insurance coverage free of charge).

An assistantship for Ph.D. students as of the 2020/2021 academic year includes the following:

  • a stipend of $9,675 (before taxes) each fall and spring semester with eligibility for a maximum of five years;
  • a tuition waiver (the assistantship pays the full amount of your tuition each semester, meaning that you only pay $555 in fees per semester);
  • health insurance benefits (single health insurance coverage free of charge).

Please note that the above figures are for a “half-time assistantship,” which is the type of financial support our graduate students usually receive. These 2020/2021 figures will change slightly each year, but they should provide a good starting point for planning. The other important thing to know for planning is that Ames is an inexpensive place to live relative to other regions in the United States. For your reference, you can find general information about the cost of living in Ames here. Free bus transportation throughout Ames is available to all students.

What is an “assistantship”?

An assistantship is part-time work that graduate students do while they complete their degree programs. Most of our graduate students receive half-time assistantships that offer them teaching and research positions. Teaching is typically 6 hours in the classroom per week. Through teaching and research assistantships, graduate students make money to fund their education while gaining valuable experience in teaching and research, which serves in preparing them for their next steps.

Will I be expected to prepare courses I teach by myself?

No. Teaching assistants participate in a week-long orientation at the beginning of the semester as well as formal mentoring throughout the semester and a concurrent seminar devoted to pedagogical techniques and theory. In other words, you will have an excellent support system dedicated to supporting your daily teaching practices as well as your growth as a teacher.

Is there any funding for graduate student research expenses including conference travel?

Yes. The Department of English may contribute funding to assist current graduate students with travel expenses related to attending and presenting at conferences. You can find more information about this here: In addition, there are some small research grants that graduate students can apply for.

Is there any other funding available for graduate students?

Yes. There is a limited number of fellowships and scholarships awarded to new students on a competitive basis. You are automatically considered for these fellowships and scholarships when you apply to the program. Additionally, there are several awards and scholarships that graduate students can apply for after they are enrolled in the program.  The department accepts applications for awards and scholarships offered annually in the spring, and the graduate programs nominate students each semester for Graduate College awards that recognize outstanding writing, research, and teaching.

Who can I contact with other questions about funding my graduate education at Iowa State?

Feel free to reach out to us at with any questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you!