The Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant application period is currently closed.
While many summer experiences are paid, others, such as government and political groups, media companies and nonprofits, are not. Often students 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, Link Library and the Opportunities Marketplace, 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 (SEG) provides financial support for students to complete summer unpaid or minimally paid career-related experiences. It aims to help students who would not be able to take on a summer career-related experience or would have a difficult time doing so. First-years, sophomores, and juniors in all 7 undergraduate colleges are eligible to apply for a limited number of SEG awards. The selection process is extremely competitive, as we receive a large number of high quality applications for a limited amount of funding. Each college’s career office completes the grant review process for their own students. Administration of the grant is coordinated by A&S Career Development--funding comes from the students helping students fund.
HOW DOES FUNDING WORK?
- Student submits application, including all necessary supplementary materials (listed in below section)
- Applications are reviewed. Successful candidates will be asked to sign and return a grant contract.
- Funding will be given in the form of a reimbursement, meaning that the student is responsible for making and paying for their own travel arrangements, reservations, and other expenditures. The grant will help to offset some or all of the costs.
- Once all paperwork is received, the request for funds will be submitted to Financial Aid (please allow at least 2 weeks for processing)
- Once processed by Financial Aid, the student will receive a reimbursement check for the sum of the grant awarded.
- Students may set up direct deposit to have the funds dispersed directly into their account.
To allow for application and funding processing time, we recommend applying at least 3 weeks in advance of when you need to begin paying for your professional development opportunity. As a note: Financial Aid asks for at least 2 weeks for funding to process and be dispersed to the student. Arrival of funds is contingent upon processing at Financial Aid. The A&S Career Development office has no ability to expedite funding. We appreciate your patience in the processing of your check.
Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a Student Assembly SEG:
- Currently enrolled, matriculated undergraduate student; must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at Cornell and in good academic standing.
- Returning to complete at least one full-time semester of coursework towards their bachelor’s degree at Cornell following the summer experience
- Have an offer for a career-related summer experience that is at least 4 weeks in length working 15 hours/week (if you are planning to work less than 15 hours/week and think that your experience should qualify, please email us to discuss your situation). Your experience does not have to be accepted yet.
- Have secured a career-related experience that is 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 should 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.
Students are NOT eligible to apply for funding if:
- They have an OCR violation.
- They are on a leave of absence.
Eligible experiences include:
- Any career-related experience – it does not have to be a formal internship.
- Research where it is a new lab or experience, or the duties are substantially different and at a higher level than those of a previous similar experience. (Make this case in your application)
Non-eligible experiences include:
- Fee based programs: any program that charges tuition or a fee. If you go through a company that finds you an experience for a fee, or you are doing an experience through a program that charges tuition, it is ineligible.
- Cornell in Washington, Urban Summer, Global Health minor programs, or any other college-based program charging tuition/program fees (at Cornell or any other university) Exception: Cornell in Hollywood
- Personal research projects
- Personal projects or entrepreneurial ventures
- Taking classes, at Cornell or elsewhere
- Research that is supervised by a graduate student. Research experiences must be supervised by a Principal Investigator or faculty member.
Eligible expenses covered by the Student Assembly SEG include:
- Travel to and from an experience location (bus, plane, or train ticket)
- Daily transportation
- Living expenses if you live away from home (including rent, food, etc.)
Expenses not covered by the Student Assembly SEG include (but are not limited to):
- Lost wages/income
- Purchase of a vehicle
- Clothing other than a required uniform or professional attire
- Test prep courses (LSAT, GRE, etc)
- Personal travel
- Summer Savings Expectation (The Berger Fund is the only exception).
Please note that students who have received a grant in the past are not eligible to receive the same grant again (ex. an Arts & Sciences student who has received the Government Internship Fund Grant in the past is not eligible to receive said grant again, but would be eligible for the International Summer Internship Support Grant).
Important Dates (2019)
The following timeline is to serve as a general guide for the selection process. A&S applicants are strongly encouraged to apply earlier rather than later. These dates are subject to change based on number of applications received. We request your patience throughout the process.
March 18 – Application opens
April 17 – Priority deadline*. Applications due by 11:59pm.
May 8 by 4:30pm – Notifications sent to applicants. Applicants will receive a decision via email.
May 17 – Deadline for recipients to submit Grant Contracts and Employer Verification Form*
*Grant processing is dependent on receipt of all completed paperwork. Therefore, we encourage students to complete their contracts as soon as possible.
Mid-June – Funds disbursed to students
Any questions should be sent to email@example.com. You may also call 607-255-4166 or visit our office in 172 Goldwin Smith Hall.
Selection of Candidates
The Selection Committee will evaluate applications based on the following factors:
- Financial need
- Fit with career interests and goals
- Benefit to student
- Thoroughness of proposal
- Effort in identifying and securing the experience
We encourage all students to apply, however students with high financial need will be given preference. If you have extenuating circumstances contributing to your need, make that case in your application. The Selection Committee, comprised of staff 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.
Once grants are awarded, all recipients will receive a contract and disclosure form which they must sign and return to Arts & Sciences Career Development by the date specified. This contract will provide information about the terms of the award, the student responsibilities, and employer responsibilities--both during and after the experience. Grants will be processed upon receipt of a signed contract and employer verification form.
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.
Application & Instructions
You must complete the short answer questions and upload all four (4) supplemental documents via the application portal. Upload your documents well in advance of the deadline so that you can contact us during business hours for help if you have technical difficulties. A&S Career Development is not responsible for technical difficulties if you wait until last minute to submit your materials. Please note that other grants associated with the Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant, such as the Berger fund, DO require additional application materials.
The priority deadline is Wednesday, April 17 at 11:59pm (Eastern). Any submissions after the priority deadline will be flagged as late applications. These applications will only be considered after decisions have been made for those who applied before the priority deadline (contingent on if there is any remaining funding).
- Short answer questions
Describe your summer experience search process.
What do you hope to learn from your summer experience? Relate your answer to your expected job responsibilities.
How does this experience relate to your career goals/interests?
Describe your financial circumstances to help us understand your funding needs.
What would you do if you were not awarded this funding?
- Resume – Submit your current resume. IMPORTANT: PLEASE REMOVE YOUR NAME FROM YOUR RESUME.
- Budget Form – The Budget Form (download by clicking here) consists of expenses incurred as a result of taking an unpaid/minimally paid experience.
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 for the Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant is $3,000. Exceptions: All A&S specific funds have a maximum of $5,000/person.
We will not give grants to fee-based programs. Do not budget for a program fee.
- Experience Confirmation – This document is a confirmation that you have been offered a career-related experience by the employer detailed in your application. This can be a scan of an official offer letter or a screenshot of an email.
- Financial Aid Letter – Upload a PDF of your most recent financial aid letter (which you can download from the Student Center). The selection committee members will confidentially review your Cornell academic and financial aid status and other materials submitted as part of your Summer Experience Grant application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if my experience changes after being offered an SEG award?
- A: 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.
Q: What if I have not secured a summer opportunity yet, but am in the process?
- A: Students must be able to provide an employer confirmation at the time of application. Therefore, we will not review an application for a pending summer experience. Please wait to apply until you have secured a written offer or agreement with your summer opportunity employer. We will accept an official offer letter or screen shot of email confirmation.
Q: What if I cannot complete the entire duration of my proposed experience?
- A: If the experience ends prematurely, funding will be pro-rated according to time worked. You may be responsible for returning funds if they have already been dispersed. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How long does it take for me to get the funds?
- A: Once grants are awarded, students will be asked to submit paperwork to finalize the acceptance of their award. Once all paperwork is received, the request for funds will be submitted to Financial Aid. After the request is sent to Financial Aid, it can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks to receive funding in your account. Students are encouraged to set up direct deposit.
Q: Are international students eligible?
- A: Yes! All currently enrolled, matriculated undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program at Cornell are eligible.
Q: Can A&S Career Development speed up the processing of my funding?
- A: No. Once the request is made to Financial Aid, we have no ability to expedite funding. Any questions about the dispersal process should be directed to the Financial Aid Office or Bursar's Office.
Q: Can I get academic credit for my summer experience?
- A: If your employer requires credit or other documentation, reach out to your College Career Office for infomation about how to gain credit. Additionally, if you are considering unpaid, credit-bearing experiences with for-profit organizations, you should consider the U.S. Department of Labor's criteria for these programs when evaluating opportunities.
Arts & Sciences Specific Funding
For Arts & Sciences students, application to the Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant is also an application to the below additional A&S grant funds. All of the following funds have a maximum of $5,000/student. These funds provide support to undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer experiences in specific areas:
- The A&S Summer Experience Fund provides support with a preference given towards students with financial need.
- The Berger Summer Internship Fund is given by family and friends of Sandy Berger, a graduate of A&S who served as advisor to President Clinton. Preference will be given to students interning at think tanks or government related positions in Washington, DC. A short questionnaire completed by a faculty member is required; a link will be provided in the application form. (No longer accepting recommendations for Bergar 2019 awards)
- The Berman Family Summer Experience Grant Fund provides support for students with demonstrated financial need. This grant will alternate between students in the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. (2019 awarded to A&S student)
- The Breitenbach Innovation Fund provides support for those pursuing an experience at a start-up company or entrepreneurial venture.
- The Douglas S. Scherr ‘89 Summer Experience Grant Fund provides support for students who are pursuing careers in healthcare.
- The First-Gen/Low-Income Fund provides support for students who are first-generation students (as defined by the College of Arts & Sciences) and students with high financial need.
- The Government Internship Fund provides support for experiences 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 Fund provides support with a preference towards students pursuing entrepreneurial ventures (though any student pursuing an international internship will be considered).
- The Journalism and Communications Internship Fund supports experiences in the fields of journalism or communications. Students who are on the staff of the Cornell Daily Sun will receive special consideration.
In addition to these grants, you can read through other funding opportunities for A&S students.
College Specific Funding
- The Cornell in Hollywood (CIH) Fund is given by the Cornell Club of LA for two (2) students participating in CIH. Students in all 7 undergraduate colleges are eligible for this fund. The funding dispersal date for this grant will be later than the other funds as students await internship placement.
- ILR Specific Funding: For ILR students, applying to the Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant is also an application to ILR-specific funding. Students need only apply to SASEG to be considered for the other funds. ILR provides funding to both BSILR and MILR students. MILRs are not eligible for the Student Assembly SEG, but they are eligible for ILR specific funds.