Funding an Unpaid Internship

Have you learned about an amazing internship, but aren’t sure if you can afford to take the role because it is unpaid? Don’t be discouraged, there are a lot of options that can help make this work! Below you will find some great tips as well as information on funding sources that can help.

Negotiate!
While it is common for internships to be unpaid, these positions are often very flexible. Consider asking to work only 10-15 hours a week during the summer so you can supplement the internship with a paid job. Also ask if the organization provides stipends to cover parking or transportation costs.

Some for-profit organizations, especially small ones, don’t pay interns because much of an intern’s time is spent training and that time isn’t able to be billed to a client. If that is the case, ask if they will consider transitioning the internship from unpaid to paid, once you learn the ropes and are doing work that can directly be billed to the client. Many organizations will agree to this approach.

Apply for Financial Support

There are numerous funding sources on campus that can help you afford an unpaid internship or research experience. Check out the list below for more details. Please note some of the awards outlined below are intended to cover the cost of tuition for credited internships.

Undergraduate Internship Award
$2,500 |For summer internships include awards for internships abroad | April Application Deadline

AHSS Summer Internship Award
$3,000 |AHSS Juniors & Seniors doing summer internships for credit | April Application Deadline

AHSS Student Research Award
$1,250 | AHSS undergraduate and graduate students eligible | April Application Deadline

Taylor Internship Scholarship (Daniels)
Available for paid and unpaid internships for those with financial need | Ongoing application

Chancellor’s Global Innovation Fellowship
$5,000 | Undergraduate or Graduate students doing global impact internship | April Application Deadline

Partners in Scholarship
$1,500 | Conducting a research project with a faculty member | Deadlines on a quarterly basis

Summer Research Grant
Up to $3,500 | Summer research projects conducted with a faculty member | April Application Deadline

Graduate International Internship Grant
Up to $1,500 | Supports graduate students with internship positions outside of the U.S. and outside of the student’s home country. | Deadlines on a quarterly basis

Last, check with the department for your majors and/or minors. Some departments also have funding available to support experiential learning activities!

By Heidi Perman
Heidi Perman Executive Director, Career & Professional Development Heidi Perman