10 Tips for Funding Unpaid Internships This Summer

With the financial impact of COVID-19, many organizations are unfortunately unable to offer students internship funding. If you’re thinking about how to balance compensation and your interest in gaining new experiences this summer, consider the ideas below:

  1. Get compensated through academic credit. UNST 2820 is a one-credit pass/fail internship reflection course offered in both the fall and spring as a reflection to your internship. You can learn more about it here: https://career.virginia.edu/internship/academic-credit
  2. If your internship is related to academia, reach out to UVA faculty or professors in the field to inquire about whether they are aware of grants or other funding opportunities.
  3. Tap into your community or religious groups. These organizations may be able to offer you some financial support, or connect you with other members of the community with financial resources.
  4. Supplement your internship with part-time work, such as a virtual micro-internship.
  5. There are a number of remote job boards, such as Justremote.co, that can help you find paid virtual opportunities. You can also check out freelance sites, such as Fiverr and Upwork. This article also has a number of ideas on ways to generate additional income.
  6. Listen to this episode of the Career Center’s podcast on what to think about when taking an unpaid internship.
  7. Get creative and sharpen your fundraising skills by trying out one of the many free social fundraising platforms out there to receive financial support from people around the world. Hold yourself accountable for any donations by sharing the progress and success of your internship to funders.
  8. Search the UVA Library for funding resources.
  9. The US Government is offering grants to support projects through the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, and numerous other government entities.
  10. Be mindful of your hours when taking an unpaid internship. If you are not able to be financially compensated, check with your employer to see if a part-time schedule is possible. Or perhaps you can create your hours around projects, instead of a certain number of hours each week.

Know that you are not alone! The Career Center will be here for you all summer, and you can always schedule an appointment through Handshake or by calling 434-924-8900 to talk through more specific details with a career counselor.