Numerous teaching and research assistantships are available to graduate students; in almost all cases, they are awarded to students who intend to study for the Ph.D. degree. Ordinarily, support for first-year students takes the form of teaching assistantships, although in unusual cases a research assistantship may be made available. Typically, a teaching assistant will supervise undergraduate laboratory sections and grade lab reports, quizzes and/or exams.
First year students who are fully qualified teaching assistants will ordinarily receive a competitive stipend, along with a waiver of tuition and most fees. An exceptional candidate may qualify for a prestigious University Fellowship, which is accompanied by a substantially higher stipend.
Keep in mind that the cost of living in the Lafayette area is extremely reasonable, especially when compared to costs in major metropolitan areas. Visit this link to compare the salary equivalent for Lafayette to other US cities.
The university provides 80% of the cost of a comprehensive health insurance plan for graduate students who have graduate assistantships and fellowships.