Funding for Unpaid Summer Internships
Interested in funding for an unpaid internship? Check back in early February 2015 for an update on upcoming deadlines and the application process.
In the meantime, feel free to read details below and then click on the FAQs for information on the process; please read carefully. If you have additional questions (but please be sure to check out the FAQs below first!), contact Peggy Burns, Director of the Center for Careers & Internships, or stop in to see a CCI adviser during Quick Questions, Monday through Friday, 1-3 p.m. Advisers are here to answer your internship questions, ranging from help on determining which internship may be the best fit for you to advice on cover letters and resumes when applying for an internship.
What kinds of experiences do we fund?
The definition of a “Middlebury internship” is both flexible and broad. Here are some common characteristics of an internship that could be eligible for funding:
- Connects to your career exploration, academic pursuits, and/or personal passions and interests.
- Provides “real world” experiences beyond the classroom.
- Affords a rewarding and beneficial experience for both the student and the internship provider.
- Includes supervision and/or mentoring.
- Is at least 100 hours and three weeks in length.
- May be domestic or international.
- May be a volunteer service experience.
- May be a self-directed project, created on your own, not necessarily through an established organization.
Eligibility to Apply
Currently enrolled Middlebury College students in good academic and judicial standing who have at least one remaining summer before graduation in which to complete an internship are eligible to apply for funding. You cannot apply if you are on leave not related to Study Abroad the semester prior to or after the summer internship. Some exceptions may apply.
You must also have been offered the internship and accepted it. If this is a self-designed project, your plans should be solidly in place. We understand that accepting the internship may depend on receiving funding. Discuss our funding process with the organization; it is our experience that most are flexible regarding your decision timeline. If it is essential that you receive a decision prior to formal notification, please set up an appointment with Peggy Burns to discuss.
The Application Process
A strong proposal demonstrates that you have researched the opportunity carefully and that the organization has agreed to host you as an intern. In addition, you have clearly made the connection to your career exploration, your academic pursuits, and/or your deep personal interests and passions. Be sure to address all the questions asked in the internship description. Make the potential for the experience come alive for your reader. Another critical component is a thoughtful, practical, and realistic budget. In past years, we have typically received almost twice as many applicants for funding as awards.
Please check back in early February 2015 for updates on upcoming deadlines.
Funding may not be transferred--if you receive a funding award, it may be used only for the internship designated in your application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still apply even if I receive a stipend from my internship or project?
Yes, you can still apply for funding if your internship provider offers a modest stipend of $1000 or less for a six-week (or more) internship. Some exceptions may be made for a low-paid internship.
Does whether I receive financial aid from the College impact my application?
Some internship funding sources are for financial aid recipients only. For other funding sources, whether a student receives financial aid is one of many criteria used in the application review and decision process.
I need help making my budget. What are the guidelines?
In past years, we have typically received almost twice as many applicants for funding as awards. If your application is approved, funding will be awarded based on your budget and the overall funding amount available from the summer internship fund. We will do our best to meet your financial need and ask in turn that your budget is conservative and realistic. Many interns in the past have supplemented their internship funding with part-time jobs as well.
Creating a budget and thinking carefully about how much money you need for your experience can be a great learning experience. We have provided a sample budget template here.
We anticipate most of your funding request is likely to be for travel to/from the internship site, lodging, and food. Remember that this is a competitive application process, and we hope to fund as many students as possible. Your careful attention to your budget indicates that you approached the process thoughtfully--and did your homework! Here are some general guidelines:
- Funding to offset lost wages due to having an unpaid internship rather than a summer job should not be included in your budget. Funding is to help you with expenses associated with your internship only.
- Per diem websites by location are typically for the business or government traveler and tend to reflect hotel expenses and restaurant meals. For the purpose of your internship budget, these estimates rarely apply.
- Do not base a food budget on restaurant meals. While we don't expect you to survive on yogurt and ramen noodles, you can have your meals on a budget. We recommend allowing approximately $75 per week.
- Housing can be tricky. If you choose to stay in a university-based internship housing program (e.g., NYU in New York City), your entire internship funding allocation will likely be eaten up by that cost--and then some! But you don't want to spend your summer sleeping on someone's floor either. Start your search early, check out craigslist, look for house-sitting opportunities, enlist your various networks. We recommend allowing approximately $800 per month for housing. If you are living at home, we ask that you do not include housing in your budget. MIDDLEBURY HOUSING NOTE: Even if your internship is in the Middlebury area, receiving internship funding does NOT make you eligible for on-campus summer housing.
- Your budget can include transportation to and from your internship site. However, if you live in San Francisco, and your internship is in San Francisco, we would not expect you to include the cost of round-trip airfare in your budget. If your home is in Boston, and your internship is in San Francisco, then it is certainly appropriate for you to include round-trip airfare. Transportation costs can also include subway fare, commuting by train, gas and tolls, etc.
- If you are studying abroad and your internship will continue in your host country, you should not include return airfare to the US in your budget as you would be returning anyway. Budgeting for in-country transportation expenses or travel to another country for your internship is appropriate.
- Clothing typically is not included in a budget unless it is for a uniform or specific safety gear that you would not likely be able to use or wear again. The same can be said for specific equipment. Exceptions may be made.
When in doubt, just ask! Or add an explanatory note in the Comments section of the budget.
What is a typical award amount?
There is no "typical" award. Last year, awards ranged from $250 to $3000. The average award was $1800. In general, awards will not exceed $3000. In cases of significant financial need or special internship circumstances, some exceptions may apply.
Who makes the decision? And upon what criteria is the decision based?
The Center for Careers and Internships (CCI) staff as well as faculty members and other College staff participate in the review and decision process. As noted in other FAQs, the most important criterion is a well-done application that demonstrates the experiential value of the internship to your goals and the manner in which you will apply your liberal arts learning. Other criteria that may play a role in the decision include whether you have received CCI internship funding previously, your class year, and financial aid status.
Can I apply as part of a group?
Yes, applying as a group is fine. The application will explain the process. Please follow instructions carefully.
What are the characteristics of a strong application? Is it a very competitive process?
A strong proposal demonstrates that you have researched the opportunity carefully and that the organization has agreed to host you as an intern. In addition, you have clearly made the connection to your career exploration, your academic pursuits, and/or your deep personal interests and passions. You will have demonstrated how you will apply your liberal arts learning. Be sure to address all the questions asked in the internship description. Make the potential for the experience come alive for your reader. Another critical component is a thoughtful, practical, and realistic budget (see related FAQ).
In past years, we have typically received almost twice as many applicants for funding as awards. If your application is approved, funding will be awarded based on your budget and the overall funding amount available from the summer internship fund. We will do our best to meet your financial need and ask in turn that your budget is conservative and realistic.
What do I need to know about funding for international internships?
International internships require greater lead time in planning, particularly in terms of investigating any visa issues associated with your internship. These internships can be an incredible part of a post-Study Abroad immersion experience in addition to being an opportunity to explore work in international development or business, volunteer service, teaching, and languages. Please note that students must comply with international travel registration, waivers, and insurance coverage as described below in order to receive internship funding.
International registration and insurance coverage process: If you receive internship funding and your internship experience is in a country other than the US, you must complete steps to register your travel plans online and ensure that you have medevac, repatriation, and health insurance. If you do not have such insurance coverage, you must enroll (there is a charge of approximately $50 per month). If you are an international student with an internship experience in your home country, you do not have to purchase the insurance. Specific instructions will be included in your funding award notification. PLEASE NOTE: Funding requests for travel to countries on the State Department's travel warning list will necessitate additional paperwork and may be denied by the College based on a risk assessment analysis.
How do I know if my materials have been submitted correctly?
You will receive an automatic confirmation email. If you do not receive it within 24 hours of submission, please notify us by e-mail.
If I am awarded funding, when will I receive it?
You will receive your funding typically via direct deposit to your bank account around June 1. Please note that there are significant paperwork requirements for you to complete at the end of the summer, including evaluations, photo submission, and donor thank you letter. PLEASE NOTE: If you fail to complete these steps by the deadline, your Middlebury account will be charged for the full amount of your funding.
If you receive funding, you must attend a mandatory internship prep workshop held during the weeks of April 21 and 28. For those studying abroad, an online version will be made available.
Will my award be taxed?
What happens if I am not awarded funding? What else can I do?
Check out this link to see a variety of other sources of funding. Be sure to visit us in CCI to determine if we can help with you alternative plans.