Students required to pay for internship credit

Leighann McGivern

Megan Blankenship expects she will have to work from 9 a.m. until midnight this summer for an internship. She doesn’t know how she will have time for a part-time job to support herself.

Blankenship, senior fashion merchandising major, still hasn’t secured an internship and isn’t anticipating it will be paid. Instead, she will have to pay Kent State for it on top of basic living expenses.

Beginning in Fall 2012, all Kent State students will have to complete an Experiential Learning Requirement in order to graduate. These experiences could constitute as an internship, practicum, service-learning project or other similar professional experience.

Credit hour cost by University

School In State Out of State
Kent State 411 773
Ohio State 222 572
University of Cincinnati 280 683
Ohio University 304 599
Miami University 482.80 791.28
Bowling Green 404 709
Cleveland State 352.75 657

Students may not be aware, however, that in order to fulfill this requirement, they will have to pay the university to receive academic credit. Ohio residents at the Kent campus pay $411 per credit hour, and out-of-state students pay $773. The number of required internship credits varies by major and department.

Some majors, such as early childhood education, require students to complete up to 18 credit hours of internship experience in order to graduate. However, if students complete internships during the fall and spring semesters, they will not have to pay extra money on top of tuition to receive credit for them. During the summer when students aren’t paying the school, they must pay per credit hour. Most summer internships fall in the one-to-four-credit range.

Blankenship said she will have to pay for a three-credit-hour internship this summer.

“It’s basically a class, so I understand why we have to pay,” Blankenship said. “But if it’s not paid, then I don’t think it should cost us that much money.”

Greg Jarvie, vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said students must pay for internships like any other class they receive academic credit for.

“Everything that is done at the university, you get academic credit, so there’s a cost to it — tuition,” Jarvie said.

He said the internship tuition goes toward paying faculty members who work with students on internships.

“If a student needs to write, has to do anything in written form, any academic work related to the internship, obviously the faculty member who’s responsible would be looking at that and grading it,” Jarvie said. “Ultimately, the grade is the responsibility of a faculty member.”

When the internship requirement is instated at Kent State, Jarvie said the university plans to create a clearinghouse to help students find and prepare for internships and other related experiences. So far, however, the university doesn’t have any measures in place to help students fund these internships.

“Internships aren’t always guaranteed, meaning a student does have to be prepared, has to sell themselves,” Jarvie said. “It’s so important that a student is ready for an internship and is prepared for it because this is an opportunity for a student — ultimately they may get a job out of this.”

Megan Bennett, senior advertising major, said she will be taking an unpaid internship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

“This was the only internship I applied to,” Bennett said. “I decided the experience at this location was more important than being paid. Had I not been offered this position, I would have looked to apply at other locations that would have been paid.”

Bennett said she is currently searching for a part-time job on top of her internship in order to support herself over the summer.

The Honors College has an option for its students to complete an internship for an Honors experience rather than pay for university credit, although this option will not fulfill an internship requirement for their individual program. Honors students need to graduate with a minimum of eight of these experiences. According to the Honors College website, “the Honors College permits Honors students to count one supervised internship as an Honors experience.” Students must devote at least 48 hours of service and fill out a contract prior to the internship.

The Ohio State University has a program in place so that students can complete internships without receiving credit but still have them count toward degree requirements. According to the Ohio State University Career Services website, the student must pay a set fee of $286 and fill out forms to have the internship count rather than pay for each individual credit hour.

Bennett said she does understand the university’s policy of paying for internship credit.

“I suppose it’s a necessary evil,” Bennett said. “I like the fact that (the School of Journalism and Mass Communication) requires students to complete internships for graduation because it helps students in the future, but to require it, it has to be a class, which means you have to pay for it.”

Jarvie said despite the credit requirement, he believes having an internship is an important part of a student’s college experience.

“I think what you’ll find is that if you’ve got an internship over someone that doesn’t, there you go, you already have a professional reference,” Jarvie said. “You’ve got your foot up on people.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected] .