Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantships

Funding for graduate studies takes on great importance and is a priority at UConn

The goal in HDFS is to provide at least half-time support (10 hours per week) and, in most cases, full-time support (20 hours per week) for Ph.D. students who request it and are making timely progress toward their degree. If additional funding is available, support may also be provided to M.A. students. We make every effort to maintain funding for graduate students throughout the degree program for which they were accepted. At the same time, because of limitations in funds, we encourage students to be enterprising and creative in developing their own funding opportunities.


There are essentially five sources of funds and two types of financial aid for graduate students in the Human Development and Family Studies Program

  • The largest of these consist of the departmental funds provided by the higher administration for basic functioning at the University provide nearly 75 percent of HDFS graduate student funding.Funds are provided in the form of “assistantships” and are allocated by the department Head, the Associate Head for Undergraduate Studies, and the Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies, for several kinds of purposes: primarily assisting in teaching undergraduate courses, independent teaching of an undergraduate course, assisting in the Student Services Center and supporting essential departmental functions.
  • Assistantships come with a complete waiver of tuition (that is, additional support from the Graduate School), and access to University health insurance.
  • As of A/Y 2015-2016 Graduate Assistants are members of the GEU-UAW bargaining unit and covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Stipend rates for graduate assistants are calibrated in terms of progress toward the advanced degree and experience.
  • Appointments ordinarily are made for the nine-month period, late August through mid-May, but may be of shorter duration for a variety of reasons.
  • Graduate School degree-seeking students who meet the criteria listed below are eligible:
    • Regular (not Provisional) status,
    • Maintain a cumulative average of at least B (3.00) in any course work taken,
    • Eligible to register for courses (i.e., must not have more than three viable grades of Incomplete on his or her academic record),
    • Enrolled in a graduate degree program scheduled to extend through the entire period of the appointment or reappointment,
    • Be a full-time student, counting course work and/or its equivalent together with assistantship duties throughout the period.
  • Funds from research grants are the second largest source in HDFS and provided by the federal government (National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, etc.) or private foundations to members of the faculty to hire assistants in carrying out a specific research project.These also come with tuition payment and health benefits.
  • Sometimes these assistantships require special skills – interviewing, data analysis, foreign language – and the selection of assistants is the prerogative of the faculty researcher (the “Principal Investigator” for the grant).
  • Research grants usually last between one and four years.
  • Generally, faculty with research grants for assistantships work with the Department Head and Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies to identify appropriate students and to manage their support.
  • Students desirous of such assistantships should make their wishes known to faculty who have or may be in the process of obtaining research funding.
  • A very small number of fellowships are available from the Graduate School.These include Graduate Scholarship awards, for those with outstanding academic records, and Multicultural Scholar Awards, for students from under-represented groups.These are usually allocated for recruitment purposes or as a final step of support for students who are nearing completion of their studies.
  • On occasion, students obtain their own grants, usually for research, from the National Institute of Health or from foundations that have doctoral support programs, such as the Spencer Foundations.
  • The application process usually involves a faculty sponsor, and it requires a high degree of academic maturity and motivation, but the process itself is educational and, when won, these fellowships mark an excellent beginning to an academic vita.
  • Some HDFS students obtain assistantships from other departments at UConn for assisting in teaching, research, or student counseling.
Two types of financial aid are available

(1) aid based on academic merit includes: Graduate Assistantships for teaching or research (previously discussed), University Pre-doctoral Fellowships, Dissertation Fellowships, and Summer Fellowships. Assistantships, fellowships, and other awards from University sources are used in combination with need- based aid to calculate final financial aid amounts offered either for a semester or an academic year.Application for merit aid should be made directly to the academic department. Continuing University of Connecticut graduate students should apply early in the spring semester

New applicants for admission to the Graduate School should apply as early as possible, however no later than the deadline imposed by the appropriate academic department

(2) aid based on demonstrated financial need includes: Federal Direct Stafford Loans (FDSL), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and University of Connecticut Tuition Remission Grants.

Citizens or permanent residents of the United States apply for need based financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

UConn’s on time deadline each year is March 1 (May 1, for entering graduate students).

More information regarding financial aid can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website.



Our current graduate students have had a vast array of assistantship experience that is personally, academically, and financially rewarding.  Examples include:

  • Instructor of Record for the following courses:
    • Research Methods in HDFS (HDFS 2004W)
    • Human Development: Infancy Through Adolescence (HDFS 2100)
    • Family Interaction Processes (HDFS 2300)
    • Issues in Human Sexuality (HDFS 3277)
    • Risk and Resilience in Individual Families (HDFS 3319)
    • Individual and Family Interventions (3340)
    • Abuse and Violence in Families (3420)
  • Teaching Assistantships for the following courses:
    • Close Relationships Across the Lifespan (HDFS 1060)
    • Individual and Family Development (HDFS 1070)
    • Diversity Issues in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS 2001)
    • Research Methods in HDFS (HDFS 2004W)
    • Honors Proseminar (HDFS 3087)
    • Death, Dying & Bereavement (HDFS 3252)
    • Communications in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS 4007W)
  • Research Assistantships: Center for Applied Research in Human Development (CARHD), analyzing data and managing the following projects, among others:
    • Evaluation of Local Head Start/Early Head Start Programs
    • Evaluation of UConn First Star Academy
    • Crossover Youth Project
  • Assistantships to support the Certification in Family Life Education (CFLE) advisor
  • UConn’s Pre-College Summer Program/Office of Early College Programs
  • UConn Wellness and Prevention Services (WPS), Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD)
  • Connecticut Children's Medical Center.  Example projects include:


Assistantships are also available to UCONN graduate students at Career Services, the Individualized Major program, Graduate Student Senate, Resident Honors House Supervisor, UConn Writing Center, Neag School of Education University Program for College Students with Learning Disabilities, Student Health Services, and the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.


More information regarding graduate assistantships can be found in the HDFS graduate handbook or by contacting Edna Brown, Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies

or write:

University of Connecticut
Human Development & Family Studies
Student Services Center- Graduate Program
348 Mansfield Road, Unit  1058
Storrs, CT  06269-1058