New fellowship to support domestic summer experiences for students on aid

Fall campus scene with students in the background

Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun has announced the creation of a new summer fellowship that will support undergraduate students receiving financial aid while pursuing unpaid internships and other learning experiences with non-profit organizations, NGOs, government agencies, and practicing artists. The new program, called the Domestic Summer Award (DSA), will complement the existing International Summer Award (ISA), which supports students receiving financial aid who pursue summer learning experiences abroad.

In announcing the award, Chun pointed to Yale’s history of educating students who become leaders in public service, advocacy, education, and the arts. He also underscored the value of Yale students’ continued engagement with issues of national and international importance.

By creating the new award, Yale will enable more students to gain direct experience with organizations and individuals whose work is focused on the common good,” Chun wrote. “Today’s students will become the next generation of leaders, with a responsibility to lead in ways that benefit society. Yale believes these future leaders will need both an academic foundation and direct personal experience to understand and respond to our society’s most pressing challenges.”  

The new Domestic Summer Award Fellowship to Support Experiences with the Arts, Government, and Non-Profit Organizations will provide students receiving need-based financial aid from Yale with a $4,000 grant to cover living expenses while completing an approved, full-time, unpaid internship during the summer after their first year, sophomore year, or junior year. The Office of Career Strategy, through its Common Good & Creative Careers team, will review student proposals and administer the award in collaboration with the Yale Fellowships Office. Both are units of the Yale Center for International and Professional Experience. Eligible students will be able to submit proposals starting later this fall, and students with approved projects will receive funding before the start of the summer.

Summer internships are a win-win for Yale students and the myriad organizations that hire them. And when our students choose to devote their energies to public service or the arts, society benefits as well.” said Jeanine Dames, director of the Yale Office of Career Strategy. Dames noted that more than a third of Yale graduates who pursue full-time work after graduation take positions with nonprofit organizations, NGOs, or government agencies. “Yale students are energized by big challenges and opportunities to make a big impact,” she said. “The new award will help put more of our students on the front lines of some of the most important and meaningful work happening across the United States. I believe these experiences will serve as valuable learning opportunities, adding a new dimension to the topics and issues our students study during the academic year.”

In 2006, Yale created the International Summer Award (ISA) which provides up to $12,500 for students receiving financial aid from Yale to pursue an international experience during the summer. Yale is the only Ivy League university to make this sort of financial commitment to support summer experiences abroad for students on financial aid. Over the past 11 years nearly 5,000 students have taken advantage of the ISA, using funding to support independent research, internships, academic coursework, and foreign language study abroad in more than 40 countries. Yale provided $3,150,963 in ISA funding last summer alone. Students receiving financial aid will be eligible for both the ISA and the DSA and may use both during their time at Yale. 

Jane Edwards, dean of international and professional experience, expressed excitement for the new award. “The ISA has been a remarkable catalyst for students receiving financial aid to pursue international experiences in ways that are unimaginable at other institutions” she said, pointing out that students on aid pursue international experiences as frequently as those students not on aid. “The success of the ISA will serve as a blueprint for the new Domestic Summer Award, which has the potential to have a similar effect on the accessibility and appeal of experiences that meet important learning goals for our students.” 

The Office of Career Strategy has compiled a new webpage with an overview and Frequently Asked Questions about the Domestic Summer Award.

Prompted by student input gathered by the Office of Career Strategy and the Yale College Council, the proposal for the new award came from a working group of senior Yale leaders who have met regularly at the request of Provost Ben Polak to discuss proposals for undergraduate financial aid policies. Since 2015 the group has proposed and implemented more than a half-dozen policy initiatives to assist Yale students receiving financial aid. Last week the group announced two other policies that will go into effect for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Scott Wallace Juedes, director of undergraduate financial aid, highlighted the value of the new award for students receiving financial aid. “Our mission at the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is to make educational opportunities available to all students, regardless of their family’s income. Together, the DSA and ISA represent an extraordinary commitment to support the valuable learning opportunities that our students pursue outside the boundaries of the Yale campus and the academic year.” 

In the 2017-2018 academic year Yale will spend nearly $145 million on undergraduate financial aid, with an average need-based scholarship totaling more than $49,000 per student per year.

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