Funding for unpaid summer projects and internships with nonprofits

Applications for this funding are closed.

University funding is available to support current first-years, sophomores and juniors who will be spending their summer participating in unpaid opportunities with nonprofits dedicated to social impact, civic engagement and/or public policy work. Undergraduate students currently on leave and returning on July 1 are also eligible for funding. 

Application process

Applications can be submitted through Handshake beginning Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Applications will then be reviewed on a rolling basis until June 30 (or until all opportunities are filled). Students can expect to hear back within a few days after submitting their applications. An application must be completed before the internship or project begins. 

Students must receive and accept an offer to participate in a project/internship before they are eligible to apply for funding. Once an offer has been accepted, students must submit an application through Handshake consisting of:

  • A description of the project/internship from the nonprofit organization
  • A copy of a letter or email from the nonprofit organization stating the start and end dates of the project/internship and the average expected hours per week
  • Responses to questions on application form


To be eligible for funding, applicants must:

  • Be a current first-year, sophomore or junior; or a first-year, sophomore or junior currently on leave who will be returning on July 1, 2021
  • Have an unpaid internship or project with a nonprofit organization with a social impact, civic engagement and/or public policy mission
  • Be working at least 10 hours per week for at least four weeks in the role

There may be restrictions on the types of opportunities international students are able to accept depending on their visa status. We advise all international students to consult with the Davis International Center before committing to an internship or project.

The Center for Career Development will not be reviewing or vetting internships/projects besides their eligibility for this funding. It is the responsibility of individual students to assess the internship/project’s logistics, the personnel involved, health and safety and other aspects of the opportunity. 

Funding amount

The amount of funding is contingent upon the average weekly work schedule: 

  • For projects/internships that average 10-19 hours per week, the award will be $250 per week
  • For projects/internships that average 20-29 hours per week, the award will be $400 per week
  • For projects/internships that average 30+ hours per week, the award will be $600 per week

The maximum funding amount for a single project/internship is $6,000.

For current students, the funding will be paid in two installments. The first installment will be awarded through SAFE in early June for the total funding amount less $250. The second installment (the final $250) will be awarded through SAFE on August 20, 2021. Eligible students currently on leave will receive their first payment after their return on July 1, though their summer experience may begin sooner. 

Participation requirements

Students selected to receive funding must complete the following:

  • Pre-internship forms - including a learning contract signed by your supervisor by the end of the first week of your internship/project
  • Learning objectives must be approved by a Center for Career Development adviser prior to sharing with your supervisor
  • A weekly reflection for the duration of the project/internship beginning June 1 or whenever your experience begins 
  • Mid-term and final evaluation forms completed by you and your supervisor
  • A post-project reflection essay 


How can I tell if an organization I'm working for is a nonprofit?

There's a few ways you can confirm the organization is a nonprofit:

You can also use the first two sites listed above to search for potential nonprofits with open positions.

How do I demonstrate that the work I will be doing qualifies as social impact, civic engagement or public policy?

When you complete the funding application form, there is a free-response question where you can explain why your opportunity relates to social impact, civic engagement or public policy.

Can I get help with my application?

Yes. Center for Career Development staff is available to assist you. You can schedule an appointment in Handshake to meet with an adviser.

Is an independent project eligible?

Only opportunities hosted by a nonprofit are eligible.

I don't have summer plans yet. Can I still apply for funding if I can arrange an internship or project with a nonprofit before the deadline?

Yes. While you need an offer before applying for funding, you still have time to find an opportunity and receive an offer. If you're looking for a qualifying opportunity, consider:  

My experience is paid. Am I still eligible for this funding?

This funding is only available to students participating in unpaid opportunities.

If your project/internship is paid a minimal stipend directly by an employer, you can send us an email at and a member of the Center for Career Development team will get in touch with you to help you review your options.

You are not eligible for this funding if you are already receiving funding from a Princeton source for any project/internship this summer.

I am already receiving funding from the University for a summer internship or project. Am I eligible for this funding if it’s for an additional project or internship? 

No, you are not eligible for this funding if you are already receiving funding from the University for any summer project or internship. 

Please email us at if you have questions about this or believe it may not apply to your situation.

How do I get my pre-internship forms and who do I contact to get them approved?

If you are selected to receive funding, the Center for Career Development will provide you with the forms and instructions on how to fill them out and submit them for approval. 

Can I start my application, save my progress and finish it at a different time?

No, there is not an option to save your application and resume at a later date. We recommend completing your responses to the questions in a Google Doc and cutting and pasting them in when you are ready to submit your application.

I'm still waiting to hear back some details on my summer project/experience. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply for funding. Please note in the application which aspects of your project/experience (e.g., the start and end dates) are yet to be determined. 

How do I upload an attachment to my experience request in Handshake?

You can find step-by-step instructions on how to do this on Handshake's support site. 

How can I track the status of my application and required documents in Handshake?

You can find step-by-step instructions on how to do this on Handshake's support site. You will receive notifications from Handshake when your application is received and being reviewed, and you will be notified if your application is approved or declined.  

What if my project/internship is in-person?

In-person opportunities are eligible, though there are many considerations around travel, workplace safety and personal comfort that you may want to take into account. We recommend consulting the CDC Travel Planner to learn about restrictions, guidance and resources.

You can meet with a career adviser to discuss these issues and seek answers from the employer to the questions on the Princeton Global Safety & Security unit's Expectations and Measures to Mitigate COVID-19 document as you consider the opportunity. 

Can a family member or current student be my supervisor?

No; the opportunity is ineligible as funding if a family member or a current student is your supervisor. An important part of an project/internship is receiving mentorship, supervision and guidance from an experienced individual.