Funding Your Summer Experience

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While many internships are paid, others, such as government and political groups, media companies and nonprofits, are not. And often sudents identify volunteer opportunities around the world that require some money for travel and living expenses.

Tips and resources for identifying summer funding are outlined below. We encourage you to make an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your specific situation.

You might want to start with the Cornell Career Services Library searchable database and the Link Library, which include information about grants, travel grants and fellowships. Also check out Cornell-affiliated programs and grants.

Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant

The Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant (SASEG) is designed to aid students to complete summer unpaid or minimally paid career-related experiences. It is meant to help students who would not be able to take on a summer career-related experience or would have a difficult time doing so. The funds are drawn from the Students Helping Students fund and are open to first-years, sophomores, and juniors in all 7 undergraduate colleges. Each college’s career office will be reading their own students’ applications, but the main administration of the grant will be coordinated by A&S Career Development.

SASEG Eligibility

The Summer Experience Grant provides funding for expenses incurred related to the completion of a career-related experience, like travel to and from an internship location and living expenses if you have to live away from home for an experience. Any sort of career-related experience is eligible – it does not have to be a formal internship. For students staying on campus and doing research, we will only fund those where it is a new lab or experience, or the duties that they will take on in the summer are substantially different and at a higher level than those of the previous experience. Make this case in your application.

Is my experience eligible?  Yes, unless it is one of the following:

  • Fee based programs: any program that charges tuition or a fee. If you go through a company that finds you an internship for a fee, or you are doing an internship through a program that charges tuition, it is ineligible.
  • Cornell in Washington, Urban Summer, Public Health minor programs, or any other college-based program charging tuition/program fees (at Cornell or any other university)
  • Personal research projects
  • Personal entrepreneurial ventures
  • Taking classes, at Cornell or elsewhere

Expenses not covered by summer experience funding include (but are not limited to): the purchase of a vehicle; clothing other than a required uniform or professional attire; test prep courses (LSAT, GRE, etc.); insurance; personal travel; and entertainment. This grant will not assist with your Summer Savings Expectation if you are a financial aid recipient.

You must have secured an internship or other career-related experience in order to apply for a grant. You do not have to have accepted the experience. Your experience must be unpaid or minimally paid. Examples of a minimally paid experience include: a lunch allowance, small stipend, or an honorarium. Stipends and other forms of compensation will be included on the Budget Form and will be deducted from the requested amount and evaluated on a case by case basis. If you are awarded and find out later that you will receive compensation, the amount will be deducted from the original award.

SASEG Important Dates

The following timeline is to serve as a general guide for the selection process. These dates are subject to change, as we are unsure how many applications we will receive. We request your patience throughout the process.

  • Application Opens - March 20
  • April 19 – Application deadline at 5:00 p.m. EDT
  • May 5 – Notifications sent to applicants. Applicants will receive a notice of: 1) Grant or 2) Declination. Notices will be sent to applicants via email.
  • May 19 – Deadline for recipients to submit (via email or in person) contracts and official offer letters on letterhead
  • May 25 – Funds disbursed

Any questions should be sent to as_careers@cornell.edu. You may also call 607-255-4166 or visit our office in 172 Goldwin Smith Hall.

SASEG Selection of Candidates

The Selection Committee will evaluate applications based on the following factors:

  • Quality of proposal
  • Fit with career interests and goals
  • Benefit to student
  • Financial need
  • Effort in identifying and securing the experience

While all these factors are important, financial need is the greatest consideration. We encourage all students to apply, but be aware that students with high financial need will be given preference. The Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from all seven colleges, also reserves the right to question the method(s) used to arrive at any figure provided in the Budget Proposal and to adjust the amount of funding awarded to applicants.

Students who are offered an award based on an experience from the organization designated in their original application, but then accept an experience from a different employer not detailed in their proposal, must submit an updated application. Based on a review of the updated application which provides details of the new experience, the committee will either: 1) alter the award; 2) make a new award; or 3) withdraw the award.

Once grants are awarded, all recipients will receive a contract and disclosure form which they must sign and return to the Arts & Sciences Career Development Center by the date specified. This contract will provide information about the terms of the award and the student and employer responsibilities during and after the experience. Grants will be distributed after signing the contract and supplying the indicated documentation.

Funding will be withheld from any recipient whose experience falls through before receiving the grant. Likewise, if the experience ends prematurely, funding will be pro-rated according to time worked. Failure to comply with other terms as stated in the contract may result in the cancellation of the grant or in the recipient being billed by the University for any or all amounts already received.

SASEG Application & Instructions

You must complete and upload all FOUR (4) application materials and submit them via Handshake. You should upload your documents well in advance of the deadline so that, if you experience problems, you can contact us during business hours for help. Career Development is not responsible for technical difficulties for which you waited until the last minute to notify us.

Application materials:

  1. Resume – Submit your current resume. IMPORTANT: PLEASE REMOVE YOUR NAME FROM YOUR RESUME. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON ANY DOCUMENTS.
  2. Summer Experience Grant Application  – Download the application here. Upload it to Handshake as an “Other Document.”
  3. Budget Form – The Budget Form should consist of expenses incurred as a result of taking an unpaid/minimally paid experience. Upload this to Handshake as an “Other Document.” The Summer Experience Grant does NOT cover lost wages. Budgets which include wages will be rejected. Arts & Sciences Career Development reserves the right to request proof of payment for housing, transportation (to and from site and one daily commute record), and utilities. The maximum amount of funding awarded to any one person is $3,000. Do not fill out your Budget Form and request a grant for more than $3,000. Do not budget for a program fee. We will not give grants to fee-based internship programs.
  4. Experience Confirmation – This document is a confirmation that you have been offered an internship or other career-related experience by your employer detailed in your application. This can be a scan of an official offer letter or simply a screenshot of an email. Upload this to Handshake as a “Cover Letter.” 

Other Sources of Funding

Other A&S Sources of Funding

For Arts & Sciences students, application to the Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant is also an application to these additional grants:

  • The Breitenbach Innovation Fund provides support to undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer internships in a start-up company or entrepreneurial venture.
  • The Journalism and Communications Internship Fund in the College of Arts & Sciences for Arts & Sciences undergraduate students pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer internships in the fields of journalism or communications.  Students who are on the staff of the Cornell Daily Sun will receive special consideration during the Fund’s awarding process.
  • The Government Internship Fund provides support to undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer internships in the field of government.  Preference will be given to students at the federal government level and students not pursuing a major in government or history, though students pursuing internships in local or state government and with all majors will be considered.
  • International Summer Internship Support provides support to undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer internships, with a preference towards students pursuing entrepreneurial ventures (though any student pursuing an international internship will be considered). 

In addition to these grants, you can read through this list of other funding opportunities offered by Cornell for summer internships, opportunities abroad, and more.

Work Study Eligible?

The Develop Your Own Internship Program provides a summer subsidy for students with work-study funding to develop their own paid internships with nonprofit organizations or small for-profit companies. If all aspects of the DYO Program are satisfied, Cornell will reimburse the employer for a portion of your wages: nonprofit employers receive up to 75 percent and for-profit employers 50 percent of your gross earnings. An information session is typically held in March and applications are due by mid-May.

Need Academic Credit?

Seeking credit or other internship support? If your employer requires credit or other documentation, contact our office for assistance. Additionally, if you are considering unpaid, credit-bearing internships with for-profit organizations, you should consider the U.S. Department of Labor's criteria for these programs when evaluating opportunities.

Fellowships

Fellowships and scholarships offer funding for continued study in distinct fields of academic/career interest. Your advising dean and Beth Fiori, fellowships advisor, in 103 Barnes Hall, can provide guidance in pursuing options. Check out the Cornell Fellowships website and then call 607-255-6931 to schedule an appointment.