Internship Plu$ Expands Opportunities for Students in Need

​DePaul’s Internship Plu$ program was highlighted in a December Chicago Tribune article on college career services as a successful initiative to help students with high financial need pursue internships. Recent enhancements are now making the program more accessible.

Operating out of EMM’s Career Center, the Internship Plu$ Program provides financial assistance so students can take unpaid internships. The program benefits first-generation and low-income students, who, compared to their peers, are less likely to pursue unpaid internship opportunities because they cannot afford to.

“Career outcomes are increasingly important to students and parents,” notes Lynne Copp, faculty and program director for the University Internship Program (UIP), who oversees Internship Plu$. “And internships are crucial stepping stones for career development. They help students gain the relevant skills, experiences and professional connections they need in order to find jobs in their fields.”

“First-generation and low-income students can’t afford to give up part-time work or take on additional costs, such as transportation, to pursue unpaid internships,” continues Copp. “Internship Plu$ relieves the financial burden associated with these opportunities so that they don’t miss out on valuable experiences.”

Students must meet a specific GPA requirement in order to participate in Internship Plu$, and the internship they pursue must relate to their field of study or intended career. Eligibility also requires a student to demonstrate financial need after any grants and scholarships they are receiving. EMM’s Office of Financial Aid uses a student’s FAFSA to determine who qualifies.

Internship Plu$ began as a pilot program following a grant from Walmart. It ran from 2010 to 2012, providing stipends to 56 students during that two-year period. In November 2016, after receiving new funding from the Office of Financial Aid, the program relaunched with a few improvements:
  • The stipend for participants increased from $1,000 to $1,200.
  • Eligibility extended to include all low-income students, not just low-income, first-generation students.
  • The application became available on DePaul Scholarship Connect, which has increased the program’s visibility to students. UIP also updated the form to improve the application process on both the submitting and receiving end.
“This program ties beautifully to our Vincentian mission of providing students in need opportunities they might not otherwise have access to,” says Copp. “Right now we’re only able to support 25 students annually, but we are looking into ways to expand the program’s reach.”

The Career Center is partnering with the Office of Advancement to increase funding to the program, which received 18 applications between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20 for just winter quarter 2017.

For more information about the Internship Plu$ Program, contact Lynne Copp​, faculty and program director for UIP in the Career Center.