Funding for Unpaid Summer Internships

Interested in funding for an unpaid internship? The application process will go live in late February and will be due in early April.  

CCI will be offering three types of grants for students:

  • Summer Internship Funding Grants of $2500
  • First-Year Explore Grants of $1000 (resume review required prior to submission—see FAQs below)
  • Dance Festival & PTP Grants ($1000 or $500)

We are here to help you in the process, but please start by reading the FAQs below first.

If you still have questions about the funding process, how to use CCI resources to find an internship, or need advice on your resume or cover letter, drop by Quick Questions Monday-Friday from 1:00-3:00 pm or first-years can also visit First-Year Fridays from 3:00-5:00 pm on Fridays.  No appointments necessary.  If you need more targeted advice about which type of internship might be best for you or help in refining your proposal, make an appointment with the appropriate CCI adviser in your interest area.

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.
  • Includes a substantive time commitment to the experience (a minimum of 100 hours).
  • 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 Cheryl Whitney Lower 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.

Funding may not be transferred--if you receive a funding award, it may be used only for the internship designated in your application.

What are the award amounts?

We will award three set grant amounts.

  • Current sophomores, juniors, and senior Febs are eligible to apply for $2500 Summer Internship Funding Grants, and you may be awarded this grant only once during your college career. To be eligible for this grant, you must have completed three regular semesters by June and have at least one more semester to complete after the summer.  If you have received funding previously, you will still be eligible as this is a new guideline.
  • Current first-year students (including new Febs) are eligible to apply for $1000 Explore Grants. First-years may not apply for $2500 grants.
  • Dance and Theatre students may also apply for $1000 Dance Festival Funding Grants or $500 PTP Funding Grants.
Can I still apply even if I receive a stipend from my internship or project?

No, generally you cannot apply for funding if you will receive wages or a stipend from your internship, but some exceptions may apply.

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.

What are the components of the funding applications?

Both the Summer Internship Funding Grant and the Explore Grant require an online application which includes a 750 word essay, a budget, and a resume. Dance Festival and PTP Funding Grants require an online application with a 750 word essay and a resume.  Students applying for the First Year Explore grant must have their resume reviewed prior to applying by submitting their resume to the online resume review e-mail between February 23 and March 29.  All students applying for grants are strongly encouraged to have their resumes reviewed prior to submission at between February 23 and March 29.  This will strengthen your application.

If the grants are set amounts, why do I need to submit a budget?

Creating a budget will assist you in your planning process, Researching and thinking about all the costs associated with your internship , such as food, lodging, transportation, etc, will help you determine whether the experience will work within your means. In addition, we need to understand your costs in order to evaluate your proposal.

Does my budget need to add up to $2500 or $1000?

No. Your costs may be substantially higher, in which case you will need to assess how you will cover the additional costs. Consider these grants a gesture of support from CCI to help cover the costs associated with your internship. You may need to apply for funding from other sources or obtain a part-time job to finance the whole experience. On the other hand, if your costs are low (i.e. you decide to live at home) the set grant amount exceed your budget, and that is fine. The set grant amounts give you decision-making power over your own summer experience.

I need help making my budget. What are the guidelines?

Creating a budget and thinking carefully about how much money you need for your experience can be a great learning experience. Click here to see our sample budget.

We anticipate most of your funding request is likely to be for travel to/from the internship site, lodging, and food. But you may also make the choice to keep your expenses low and use the grant money to make up for lost summer wages. Remember that this is a competitive application process; we have limited funds to award. Your careful attention to your budget indicates that you approached the process thoughtfully--and did your homework! Here are some general guidelines:

  • The funding may offset lost income that you would have earned from a summer job. Funding can also be used to help you with expenses associated with your internship.

  • A typical food budget will vary depending on where you live, but typically students have used a budget (for non restaurant meals) of 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.

When in doubt, just ask! Or add an explanatory note in the Comments section of the budget.

Who makes the decision? And upon what criteria is the decision based?

The Center for Careers & Internships 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.

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 application. Make the potential for the experience come alive for your reader. Another critical component is a thoughtful, practical, and realistic budget (see related FAQ).  Internships that include a substantive time commitment to the experience (beyond the minimum of 100 hours) are more competitive.

In past years, we have typically received almost twice as many applicants for funding as awards, so yes, it is a competitive process. If your application is approved, you will be granted a set amount -- $2500, $1000, or $500 depending on the grant you apply for.

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 event held in late April or early May. For those studying abroad, an online version will be made available.

Will my award be taxed?

The award affects domestic and international students differently.

If you are an international student, please read more about this issue at ISSS here.

If you are a domestic student, please read the information here.