Summer Funding

ABOUT the summer funding program

Many summer internships, particularly in certain fields, provide only a small stipend or do not pay at all.  Frequently the internships are located in cities with a high cost of living. This means that many students are unable to take advantage of excellent positions, which are sometimes the first step towards a career in a given field.  Other students wish to participate in not for profit or NGO work abroad, or to do a research project, but the travel costs to get there are prohibitive.

This year, thanks to generous donors, Career Services has a fund of money to allow students to pursue unfunded or under-funded summer opportunities.  The funds could cover travel expenses, living expenses, or both.  No award will exceed $3500.*

Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate the following:

  • That the experience is tied to long-term career goals/professional interests
  • An ability to make an impact in their field/industry
  • An opportunity for professional growth
  • Financial need and/or being the first in their family to go to college
  • Previous usage of Career Services advising (walk-ins, appointments, mock interviews or program attendance) as part of their career development

NEW! Turner Schulman Human Rights Internship Award

One of the dedicated summer funding awards through Career Services is the Turner Schulman Human Rights Internship Award, created in June 2017 by Suzie Turner C'82 and David Schulman C'82 L'85 to allow Penn students to follow their passions to further human rights causes here and around the globe . If your opportunity is related to human rights, please indicate that as part of your Career Services summer funding application questionnaire, as directed by the application instructions on Handshake:

Application Instructions
Review Process

2018 Application Timeline

Application Open: January 30th, 2018

Application Deadlines:

First Round Deadline: March 2nd, 2018 (with summer experience offer confirmed by April 15th)

Second Round Deadline: April 2nd, 2018 (with summer experience offer confirmed by April 15th)

Decision & Notification Date:

First Round Applications: Early April

Second Round Deadline: Late April

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Be a full-time returning Penn student (students graduating in May or August of 2018 are not eligible for funding); preference will be given to undergraduates (all are eligible), but graduate students in the schools we serve** are also encouraged to apply
  • Have applied for a summer opportunity such as an internship, service program, or research plan, either here in the US or abroad that is at least six weeks in length; Funding will only be guaranteed once offers are given. You must send the offer letter to Career Services by April 15, 2018, but you may still apply if you have not yet received confirmation
  • Agree to write a brief (450 word) summary of your experience which will be shared with our donors and posted on our blog Penn and Beyond. You can see past examples here:
  • Apply by one of the two deadlines, March 2nd, 2018 or April 2nd, 2018

Please do NOT apply for funding if:

  • You are seeking funding for a study abroad program or other summer course, even if that course has an internship or volunteer component
  • You are already receiving funds that cover the cost of living and travel expenses for this opportunity
  • You are participating in a fee-based internship program
  • Your summer experience is shorter than 6 weeks
  • You will graduate in May or August 2018

Application Components & Instructions

All summer funding applications should be submitted via Handshake ( and will consist of the following:

    1. Career Services Summer Funding Application Survey (via qualtrics) which will detail your intended summer opportunity and a proposed budget for your summer funds. Preference will be given to students who submit a modest budget that demonstrate an ability to live economically.

    2. Goal Statement. In no more than 450 words, explain how this opportunity aligns with your career goals, and how this funding would help address any specific needs you have. In your statement, students should:

    • Clearly state the position you are applying to, and whether this is a funded/unfunded position
    • Explain what you hope to learn from this position in terms of specific skills and knowledge, and why this will help you in your career path
    • Demonstrate why this particular opportunity is a good fit, and what you have done to determine this
    • Provide information related to your financial need

    Note for Research Opportunities: Students will need to also:

    • Identify how the summer experience will differ from research you have previously done, especially if it is in the same lab
    • Provide a letter from a faculty member that states you have been given this offer and that explains how this experience will be mutually beneficial. This will serve as your "offer letter."

    When completed, upload your statement as a cover letter as part of your Handshake application.

    3. Resume (not to exceed 1 page). Please see resume guidelines and samples on our website: Upload your resume to your Handshake application.

    4. Internship Offer Letter (if in possession). If applicable, please provide a copy of your offer letter by emailing it as an attachment to Kelly Walsh at with the subject line  "CS Summer Funding Offer Letter." In the body of your email, please include your full name and Penn ID number for reference.

    6. Financial Aid Documentation (if applicable). If you receive financial aid from Penn, please provide the associated documentation available from PennInTouch. Instructions: Log-in into PennInTouch, open your "Financial Aid" tab, and then select "Financial Aid Awards." Copy and paste the information from this page into a Word document and upload it as an "other document" as part of your Handshake application.

    Review Process & Notification

    A committee will review all applications, and will select those who will receive support.  We hope to fund over 40 students for summer 2018, but please note that we expect this to be a competitive process as we received over 200 applications last year. Decisions will be announced in late April 2018. 

    *The award will be treated as taxable income, which the recipient will be responsible to report for the tax year in which it was received. Please note that international students are taxed at a higher rate (30%) than domestic students.

    **Annenberg, Arts and Sciences, Biomedical Graduate Programs, Engineering, Design, Graduate School of Education, Nursing, Social Policy and Practice and Wharton Doctoral.


    Be sure to check out the Career Services Summer Funding FAQ page