FAQs for Civic House Public Interest Internship Funds

Who is eligible for funding?

Undergraduates currently in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years can apply for funding from the Civic House Public Interest Internship Funds.

Will you help me find a summer internship?

The staff at Civic House (and of course the great folks at Career Services) is happy to meet with you to provide general assistance in seeking a summer internship that is right for you. However, we do NOT place students in internships for the summer. Students who apply are expected to have applied for and been offered their preferred internship by the time they submit their applications. Exceptions are made for students who can provide clear evidence that they are being considered for an internship and will receive a decision by mid to late April.

What is the application process and when is the deadline?

All applicants will be asked to submit a personal statement detailing how their internship serves the public interest and connects to their academic and career goals. Additionally, applicants will submit a resume, information about any financial aid received from Penn if applicable, a budget template, and information about the organization they hope to work with. The application deadline for funds for summer 2016 will be announced in spring 2016. Late applications will not be accepted.

What types of experiences typically receive funding?

Students who receive funding do a wide variety of work for nonprofit and public sector organizations ranging from placements with community art programs, to direct service work with people in the U.S. or abroad, to research with a public interest focus for a government or non profit organization. We do not give preference to any particular issue, but we do give preference to an internship over a research opportunity. Please note that students interested in international internships are eligible to apply for the funds. In almost no circumstance will a student receive funding to work for a for-profit organization (even if they are doing consulting for non-profits).  In addition, funding is designed to support daily living expenses and will not be given to cover the costs of program fees or of service trips. 

Can I apply for multiple internships if I have not yet been accepted?

Applications which contain numerous internship opportunities are accepted. However, if relevant, a separate budget template, personal statement, and organization information is required for each internship. Remember, that applicants are chosen on the basis of a number of factors, including the internship's relevance to your projected career goals. Applications with a number of internships that are not clearly related to one particular academic focus are generally not regarded as strong applications. Additionally, if you are awarded funds before you have been accepted to the internship, your award is contingent upon your acceptance to one of the internships listed in your application and a confirmation from the organization is required.

If I don't have all of my application materials, can I still apply?

Rather than waiting, you should give us everything you have in hand by the deadline, and get the rest to us AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  We will be distributing materials to the selection committee soon after the deadline, so the longer we have to wait for materials, the less able we will be to consider your candidacy with a full application.

The only item we can really be flexible about is the employer letter. Generally, applicants should include a brief explanation of their circumstances in their application.  If possible, you should also include a confirmation from the organization(s) that you have applied, and/or something "official" (e.g. the literature about the position) that indicates the timeline/process.

The bottom line is that the selection committee rarely gives awards to people without confirmed positions. In this instance, if you are among those selected (it is competitive, by the way), we might give you a letter indicating an award amount contingent upon our receiving a confirmation letter from the organization.

What types of awards do accepted students usually receive?

The amount of each award varies widely based on your planned summer experience as well as your financial need. In general, a student who is spending the summer living abroad or far from home will receive a larger award than a student who will be working in their hometown and living with family members. In the past few years, awards have been as low as $300 and as high as $5,000.  Please note that there is a four week delay in receiving pay as it takes time for the university to process your paperwork once it has been submitted.  In addition, international students should be aware that any funds they are awarded will be taxed up front at a rate of around 35%. 

If my internship is paid, or I have other sources of funding can I still apply?

The Civic House Public Internship Funds are intended to provide a summer living wage to undergraduate students working in the public interest, and the amount awarded is in part based on financial need. If your internship does provide a stipend that covers your basic living costs for the summer, you probably will not be eligible to receive our funding. If however, your wage, stipend, or other sources of funding do not cover your summer living costs, and your internship meets the basic requirements, you can apply for our funds.

Are there other, similar sources of funding at Penn that I could apply for?

A collaboration between the Middle Atlantic Regional Advisory Board (MARAB) and Civic House, the MARAB DC Internship is designed to provide University of Pennsylvania undergraduate students from the Washington D.C. area or students interning in the Washington D.C. area with financial support to participate in unfunded or underfunded summer internships in the public interest.

Career Services offers a Careers for the Common Good website, which includes funding opportunities.

The Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships does provide information and assistance for undergraduates applying for University and other sources of funding for research and research-related activities. For details visit their website at http://www.upenn.edu/curf/.

Additionally, if your financial aid award includes a personal contribution you can apply for a summer waiver through Student Financial Services. The personal contribution can be waived in full, or partially depending on the students' qualifications and preference. For more information visit the Financial Services web page at www.sfs.upenn.edu.

If you have additional questions, please contact Elizabeth Cannon at
cannone@pobox.upenn.edu or 215-898-4831.