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 information on the application process below 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.
KACIF Travel Grants for Public Transportation Expenses
The KACIF Travel Grant is a reimbursement grant that is available to students who are participating in unpaid internships that will advance their career development and who need assistance in paying for their public transportation to and from the internship location (up to $300). If you are interested, please review KACIF Travel Grant information and application instructions.
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 challenged the GW community to raise $100,000 towards KACIF and matched every dollar raised between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, up to $100,000. Thanks to their match and your generosity, we beat the goal and raised over $230,000 last year.
For 2016-2017, the Ameys and Mr. Ross have generously continued the $100,000 challenge, and our goal this year is to hit $250,000. Please help us continue supporting students by making another gift to KACIF.
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.
As an international student, you are eligible to apply, but should first understand how the award would affect your taxes.
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
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 or internships 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.
Applying a Grant Toward a Completed Internship
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.
Funding for Multiple Internships
The early decision option for Summer 2017 applications allows you to receive notice a month early if you have already secured an unpaid summer internship. All applications will receive fair consideration, regardless of whether they are submitted by the early decision deadline or the general deadline.
- February 15-March 1, 2017: Summer 2017 Early Decision applications accepted.
- April 15, 2017: Early Decision applicants notified of decision by e-mail.
- April 1-15, 2017: Summer 2017 general application cycle applications accepted.
- May 15, 2017: General application cycle applicants notified of decision by e-mail.
- July 1-15, 2017: Fall 2017 applications accepted
- August 15, 2017: Applicants notified of decision by e-mail.
Note: You must update and verify your address listed in the GWeb system before you apply. If you're selected for an award, your funding will be processed using your banner address. Any errors with your address will cause a delay in the disbursement of your funding.
The following documents will need to be submitted with your application form. The internship verification letter and budget templates are available along with the application form on the application portal.
Resume or Curriculum Vitae (PDF format)
As the application review process is a "blind" review, it is requested that you remove all contact and identifying information from the submitted resume.
Unofficial GW transcript (PDF format)
- If you are unable to provide an unofficial transcript (i.e. first semester at GW), contact the Office of the Registrar for a "letter of no transcript" to show that you are a current GW student in good standing.
- As the application review process is a "blind" review, it is requested that you remove all contact and identifying information from the official or unofficial transcript. Transcripts can be obtained through GWeb or requested through the Registrar. Self-prepared transcripts will not be accepted.
Internship Verification & Description Letter or Signed Contract*
There are two methods of submission for this requirement:
- The first option is to fill out the Internship Verification & Description Letter (PDF) document and submit it.
- The second option is to submit a signed contract or offer letter written in English which states that the internship has been offered and accepted, includes the start/end dates of the internship, total number of hours to be worked and that it is unpaid.
- Submit an online application form, which includes personal essay questions.*
- There are several funding opportunities from the George Washington University that, if accepted, will make you ineligible to accept KACIF funding. Please list all sources of potential funding, including any other scholarships you may receive at the same time (even if you aren't sure you've received the scholarship or not), on your budget template.
*These documents are available on the application portal.
The Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund grant can be held concurrently with any other GW merit awards, although these awards/sources should be included in the budget section of your application.
Note: All correspondence regarding your application will be sent to your official GW student e-mail account (@gwmail.gwu.edu).
- A committee consisting of members of the Career Services Council will review and select the award recipients.
- Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and evaluated against the student's financial need, demonstration of the internship’s connection to career and academic goals, quality of internship and how the funds will be used.
- The application process employs a "blind review", in which the applicant remains anonymous throughout the double-review process. The reviewers will not have access to student contact and demographic information.
- This is a competitive process - approximately 1/3 of all applicants receive grants.
- 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.
- If you're selected for an award, it will take approximately one month for your funding to be directly deposited into your account after you accept the award.
- Decisions are final and there is not an appeals process. We encourage you to research additional GW funding opportunities on the Division of Student Affairs Student Financial Resources website.
You may be disqualified from receiving the award if:
- The application is submitted after the deadline.
- There is inaccurate representation of internship information.
- You transfer or drop from the GW degree program in which you were enrolled before, during, and after the internship supported by the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund award.
- There are University Honor Code or academic or disciplinary conduct violations.
- Your internship is virtual/independent or unsupervised.
- The host organization is owned or run by a member of your immediate family.
- You do not complete the internship requirements.
- You do not complete your post-internship commitments.
After you complete your internship you will be required to:
- Submit a professional photo and (if permitted) an image of you on-site working at your internship.
- Submit a post to be featured in the #GWCareerSuccess blog. Here are the KACIF Recipient Blogger Guidelines (PDF).
- Submit an internship evaluation letter from the internship sponsor/supervisor (written in English).
- Complete Thank You notes.
- Participate in potential Q&A sessions, donor-recognition events, etc., as requested, to promote the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund to future applicants, to steward current donors to the Fund, and/or to cultivate potential donors to the Fund.
Financial Aid & Tax Considerations
These awards are considered merit awards and could affect any need-based aid that you may be offered for the academic year. You are responsible for consulting with the Office of Student Financial Assistance to estimate the impact, if any, of a Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund award on your financial aid package.
The KACIF award will be treated as taxable income for federal and state income tax purposes and GW will issue a Form 1099-Misc to US citizens and permanent residents and a corresponding copy to the IRS. Students should consult their parents or a tax advisor for federal and state income tax filing questions. For more information on tax-related issues, please contact the GW Tax Department.
Depending on the individual circumstances for the international student award recipient, GW will be required to issue either a Form 1099-Misc or Form 1042-S. Payments to international students may be subject to 30% direct tax withholding. International students should contact the GW Tax Department to determine their circumstances. Specifically mention the “Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund” in your communication.
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 challenged the GW community to raise $100,000 toward this fund and matched every dollar raised between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 up to $100,000. Thanks to their match and your generosity, we beat the goal by more than $30,000! Thank you, and please help us continue supporting students by making another gift to KACIF.