Sunday, February 1, 2009

GW Loves Money, Part Deux

In 2007, I paid GW $2,920 to intern -- for free -- at MTV Networks.

That's right. I shelled out almost three grand for my unpaid internship, where I worked about 45 hours a week.

I absolutely loved the job. I also loved living in New York City. But without any income, I accumulated a fair amount of debt living on my own. And the additional GW price tag of almost three grand didn't help.

While I had promised myself not to take another for-credit internship again, another great opportunity appeared this past summer, and I couldn't turn it down. The price per credit? 970 bucks.

I do understand that GW needs to charge some amount for students to receive credit for their summer internships. And yes, students can opt to receive non-credit recognition by the university for their summer internships. But if you're doing some serious work in an internship and want academic credit, you shouldn't have to pay almost $1000 for each credit. It's outrageous.

Unpaid internships can be a financial burden, especially if you're living on your own in a new city. Being required to pay an extra few thousand on top of it is, frankly, unfair.

Last year,
Rare is the internship that doles out more than minimum wage, and who can afford to spend a summer working 40 hours a week for peanuts? Probably not a college student with a typical financial aid package.
Summer internships -- paid or unpaid -- should not just be available for a privileged few who can afford the GW rates. They are unique and valuable experiences that everyone should have a shot at.

GW should encourage students to pursue summer internships without any concerns about credit fees. If students wants credit for their hard work, they should get it, without going into deeper debt.

The university prides itself on helping students to get internships. It should take its efforts one step further, and provide financial aid to students who might not otherwise be able to afford unpaid summer internships. If anything, it should lower the credit prices.

If you're interested in getting the university to change its summer internship payment policy, or are just pissed off, join the Facebook group.

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