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

Past KACIF recipients reflect on their experiences with their unpaid internships and the value the grants have provided them in their career development.


KACIF Information & Application Process

Made possible through the generous support of alumni and parents, this highly competitive program provides grants ranging from $750 to $3,000 to GW undergraduate and graduate students pursuing internships that are necessarily unpaid. 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. In order to maximize the number of students who receive funding, grants for internships in the District of Columbia and other U.S. domestic locations typically range from $750 to $1,500, while grants for international internships typically range from $2000 to $3000.

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. 

If you have any questions about KACIF, contact us at [email protected].

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.

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.

Eligible Students

  • Graduate students enrolled in the first semester of their degree program may apply for subsequent semesters, i.e., a graduate student who begins in the fall can apply for spring funding.
  • First-year undergraduate students may apply for funding for the summer after their first academic year of study.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students who fit the categories above and will continue as matriculating full-time or part-time students in a degree program in the semester for which they are applying for the award.
  • International students who fit into the categories above are eligible to apply, but should first understand how the award would affect their taxes.

Non-eligible Students

  • First-year undergraduate students are not eligible until the summer following their first academic year of study. GW encourages first-year students to prioritize academics, explore campus life, and become active participants in the GW community.
  • Incoming graduate students who have not begun their degree program.
  • Graduating students will not be eligible for any semester following graduation (e.g., if a student graduates in May, he or she will not be eligible for a grant for the subsequent summer).
  • Exchange students and/or non-degree students.

It is the student's responsibility to review and ensure they meet all eligibility requirements.  Funding is dependent on students meeting all requirements and funding will not be distributed if a student is found ineligible at any time during the funding semester.

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.

If you have a question about KACIF, contact us at [email protected].

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/opportunities supporting faculty members are not eligible to receive grants from the KACIF fund.
  • Internships with political campaigns are not eligible.
  • Internships at or connected with the George Washington University are not eligible.
  • GW faculty/staff cannot be listed as an internship supervisor.
  • Non-profit third-party organizations are eligible to place students with non-profits; however, for-profit third-party organizations are ineligible.

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.  Please review the current Interim International Travel Policy.  Students awarded support through KACIF will be required to complete the International Travel Approval Process and purchase GeoBlue, GW's international health insurance.  You must contact your academic department to approve your travel arrangements.  All high or extreme risk destinations will require an extra level of review and approval from GW’s Associate Provost for International Programs and may not receive approval or may receive delayed approval.
If you have a question about KACIF, contact us at [email protected].

Application Timelines

A note about KACIF application timelines including deadlines. Due to the amount of time that is required for each application to be vetted, reviewed at least twice, and for payments to be processed and delivered before recipients commence their internship, it is imperative that we strictly adhere to the established timelines. Thus, no extensions can be made on the application deadlines. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.


  • Applications open up on November 1 and close on November 15. 
  • Application decisions will be sent out via e-mail the third week of December. 


  • Applcation period opens on April 1 and now closes on May 7. 
  • Application decisions will be sent out via e-mail by June 1. 


  • Applications open up on July 21 and close on August 4.
  • Application decisions will be sent out via email the fourth week of August. 

If you have a question about KACIF, contact us at [email protected].

IMPORTANT NOTES - read before applying:

  • Review the info in the APPLICATION TIMELINES & IMPORTANT DATES tab regarding when applications will be accepted thru the MyGW KACIF Application Portal.  Applications will only be accepted during these established time periods.
  • 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.

Sample Application 1
Sample Application 2

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:

  1. The first option is to fill out the Internship Verification & Description Letter (PDF) document and submit it.
  2. 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.

Budget Template*

  • 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.

Apply for KACIF Funding

Selection Process

Note: All correspondence regarding your application will be sent to your official GW student e-mail account (

  • 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. (We are currently allowing remote internships.  However, they must be supervised.)
  • 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.

Post-Internship Requirements

After you complete your internship you will be required to:

  • Submit a professional photo image of you on-site working at your internship (if permitted).
  • Submit a 30-45 second video clip sharing about your organization. Here are the Video Submission Guidelines (PDF).
  • 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.

If you have a question about KACIF, contact us at [email protected].

Your award will be treated as taxable income for federal and state income tax purposes. 


For U.S. citizens, permanent residents and resident aliens, GW is not required to report the award payments to the Internal Revenue Service; reporting such income for tax purposes is the sole responsibility of the recipient.

For non-resident aliens, the award payments may be subject to federal income tax withholding at 0%, 14% or 30% depending on factors such as the student’s visa type and the existence of a U.S. tax treaty with the student’s country of residence. International students should contact the GW Tax Department to determine their circumstances.

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.

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.

Image of Trustee Scott Amey at 2016 KACIF Appreciation Dinner
Trustee Scott Amey at 2016 KACIF Appreciation Dinner

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

KACIF recipients talk about their diverse internship experiences and thank donors for the opportunity KACIF funds provided them towards accomplishing their career goals.