Grants for Unpaid Internships

Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF)

The GW Career Services Council established the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF) to encourage GW students to pursue high-quality, necessarily unpaid internships that foster their career exploration and enhance their academic program, while reducing the financial challenges associated with unpaid internships.

Necessarily Unpaid Internships

Made possible through the generous support of alumni and parents, this highly competitive program provides grants ranging up to $3,000 to GW undergraduate and graduate students pursuing internships that are necessarily unpaid. In order to maximize the number of students who receive funding, awards for internships in the District of Columbia and other U.S. domestic locations typically do not exceed $1,500.

Necessarily unpaid internships are typically those with non-profit, governmental, educational and non-governmental organizations that genuinely lack the financial resources to pay salaries or wages to their interns.

The Career Services Council believes the financial support provided by the fund will make a significant difference in the lives of GW students, just as the students will make a significant difference in the world and through their work with the organizations at which they intern.
 

Apply for the Award

Review eligibility requirements and the application process to help you prepare to apply for the award.

Past KACIF Recipients

Learn about the students who have received grants in the past, and where they interned, due in part to the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund.

Donate to the Fund

The Career Services Council is grateful to parents, alumni, and other donors who have made the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund possible with their generous donations. We welcome additional contributions from alumni, parents, students and friends.

GW Trustee Scott Amey, along with his wife Debbie, and Trustee Steven Ross are challenging the GW community to raise $100,000 toward this fund. These generous donors have agreed to match every dollar raised between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 up to $100,000 – doubling the impact of your gift! Check back quarterly to see the progress to date.
 

Determine Your Eligibility

Eligibility

Undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled full-time or part-time in any degree program at GW during the application and internship period are eligible.  Your primary designation must be "student" in order to be eligible to submit an application. Exchange students are not eligible.

Awardees may only receive a grant once during his or her academic career at GW.  Past KACIF recipients are not eligible to reapply for future funding.

Once you’ve established that you’re eligible to apply, review the requirements to ensure that your internship meets the required qualifications.

Academic Standing and Disciplinary Conduct Records

All applicants should be in good academic standing and the award is contingent upon the student maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5 for undergraduate students, or a minimum GPA of 2.8 for graduate students, through the end of the internship period.  

For example, if a Spring 2015 grant recipient's cumulative GPA falls below the eligibility criteria after Fall 2014 grades are posted, their grant will be subject to review.

The selection process will involve a review of academic and disciplinary conduct records maintained by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities.

Graduating Students and New Incoming Students

Undergraduate and graduate students who will continue as matriculating full-time or part-time students in a degree program in the semester for which you’re applying for the award are eligible.

Graduate students in their first year are eligible.  Undergraduate students in their first semester of their undergraduate degree are not eligible, but will be eligible for subsequent semesters once they've matriculated at the university.

International Students

As an international student, you are eligible to apply, but should first understand how the award would affect your taxes.

Security Clearance

Students who have internships that are contingent upon a security clearance are eligible to apply, but the award, if granted, will be contingent on the student eventually obtaining their security clearance.  If they do not pass, the KACIF grant award will be rescinded.

Updated June 28, 2016

Internship Qualifications


Before you apply for the award, ensure that your internship is eligible.
  • An internship is necessarily unpaid if the organization faces a genuine lack of financial resources to pay an intern a stipend, salary or wage.
  • Incidental support such as a minimal stipend for housing, transportation and/or meals does not disqualify an internship from being considered necessarily unpaid.
  • Unpaid practicums that are required as a part of a program curriculum and unpaid research assistantships supporting faculty members are not eligible to receive grants from the KACIF fund.
  • Internships at the George Washington University are not eligible.

Eligible Organizations

Generally, internships at most organizations where financial resources are at a premium are eligible, particularly:
  • non-profit
  • governmental
  • educational
  • non-governmental
Internships that are unpaid at for-profit organizations, such as Fortune 500 companies and media conglomerates, will not be considered for funding through KACIF, as these internships should be paid, regardless of the general practices of these organizations.

Applying a Grant Toward a Completed Internship

To be eligible for support, applicants must demonstrate that they will work a minimum of 160 hours at the internship after the end of the semester preceding the semester for which they are applying and before the start of the semester following the semester for they are applying. 

Grants cannot be applied retroactively to internship hours completed prior to the start of the semester for which they are applying. However, an internship that started prior to and extends into the semester in question may be eligible if 160 hours of it are completed during the latter semester.

Internships Abroad

If the internship meets the other eligibility requirements, international internships are eligible for support through KACIF.

Funding for Multiple Internships 

You may apply to use the funding to support multiple internships that meet the criteria, but only one award will be made, regardless of the number of qualifying internships that will be completed.