Macalester College (MN), Amherst College (MA), Pace University (NY), and the University of Chicago are among a growing number of institutions that offer stipends to students who pursue unpaid internships.
The strategy, featured in a recent New York Times article, is growing in popularity because it allows low- and middle-income students to foster critical connections in their field of interest without worrying about making ends meet. According to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, roughly half of all interns are offered a job by the company where they worked.
“We don’t want our students to pick a field because it pays and overlook another field because it doesn’t pay for an internship,” Meredith Daw, executive director of career advancement at the University of Chicago, told The Times.
The university annually places 2,000 students through its internship program. Employers are asked to cover the student’s 10-week salary. If they can’t, the university provides the student with a $4,000 stipend.
Macalester offers a similar program that subsidizes student internships with organizations that provide a social good. Last year, about 50 students took part in the program.
“This is an opportunity (for students) to try on a career no matter what their interest or major or economic situation is,” Mindy Dearduff, Macalester’s dean of career development, told The Times. “Especially for our students who have socioeconomic need, if we can get them in and let them try out some of the things that they are passionate about, it might get them over the hump of worrying whether they can afford it.”
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