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Cornell University

Summer Experience Grants

The Summer Experience Grant application for Summer 2024 opens on March 1, 2024. Applications will close Monday, April 15 at 11:59pm. 

About Summer Experience Grants

The Summer Experience Grant (SEG) is a collection of summer funding awards that provide financial support for students to complete summer unpaid or minimally paid career-related experiences. SEG supports students with living expenses, transportation, and travel so that these essential experiences are available to all of our students, who may otherwise not be able to afford them. The selection process is competitive, as we receive a large number of high-quality applications for a limited amount of funding. We place a high priority on supporting students with financial need. Each college’s career office reviews applications for their own students. The administration of the grant is coordinated by a committee from various college career offices.

Seven people holding up a frame
Alexis Petterson '21 (right) at her summer experience with the U.S. State Department in Barcelona, Spain.

The Summer Experience Grant application connects students to a variety of summer funding opportunities based on their primary college. See details below about the funding available to students.

Watch the Info Session Recording from March 10, 2023

Funding Available to All Undergraduate Students

Students from all undergraduate colleges will be considered for the following awards:

  • Student Assembly Summer Experience Grant - The maximum award for Student Assembly is $5,000.
  • The Dr. J.W. Landau Summer Experience Fund for Veterans - This award was created in 2021 to support veteran students pursuing unpaid or minimally paid summer experiences, such as internships and research. This award is available to undergraduates who have served at least one year of honorable service in one of the US military branches. Up to $3,600 will be awarded each summer.
  • Vicki Saporta Social Justice Internship Fund - This award is open to Cornell undergraduates who will work in nonprofit organizations, domestic or international, that pursue progressive agendas, including, but not limited to, women's rights, women's reproductive health and rights, human rights, workers' rights, organized labor, immigrants' rights, environmental conservation, gun control, animal welfare, and labor unions. The intern role itself should involve active engagement in the organization's focus. Preference is given to ILR students. The fund was established by Vicki Saporta BSILR '74.

  • All Colleges Summer Experience Grant - This award is open to undergraduates from all Colleges. Students may receive up to $5,000, due to generosity of alumni donors.

Funding Available to College of Arts and Sciences Students

Undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences will be considered for A&S specific awards. Visit the eligibility criteria portion of the website below and take the eligibility screening to determine if your experience qualifies.

A&S funds have a maximum award of $6,000/student. Students residing in university housing (at Cornell or elsewhere) and/or students on financial aid with high need may exceed the $6,000 limit. These applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students should ensure that their budget form and application are detailed and thorough.  

In addition to funding available for all eligible experiences there is funding available for:

  • students on financial aid
  • first-generation college students
  • experiences in the field of journalism/communication, with a preference for students from The Cornell Daily Sun
  • experiences in think tanks/government in Washington, DC (funded by the Berger Grant). Students wishing to be considered for the Berger Grant must have a faculty member complete a short recommendation survey. 
  • experiences in the film and TV industry. 

Funding Available to School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR) Students

The ILR School provides funding to both BSILR and MILR students. While MILRs are not eligible for the university-wide undergraduate funds, they are eligible for some ILR alumni-funded awards and should apply through the SEG application. BSILR students who apply to the SEG will be considered for all university-wide funding and for ILR alumni-funded awards. ILR undergraduates and MILRs do not need to specify for which awards they wish to be considered, as staff reviewing the awards will consider them for any funding for which they meet the eligibility criteria.

Funding Available to Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management Students

The Dyson Summer Internship Funding is a collection of summer funding awards that provide financial support for students to complete summer unpaid or minimally paid career-related experiences. The funding supports students with living expenses (including security deposits), daily transportation, and travel so that these essential career experiences are available to all Dyson students.The goal of our Dyson Summer Internship Funding is to financially support students who may otherwise not be able to afford to participate in these experiences. We encourage any student who needs financial support to complete this application. The maximum amount of funding available per student is $2,500. If you have extenuating circumstances and need additional funding, please provide additional documentation in your application.

Click Here to Apply For Dyson Funding.

Funding Available to College of Human Ecology Students

To apply, please provide a 1-2 page proposal that describes the purpose for your request for funding and explains how the funding will assist you in achieving your career-related summer experience. Provide the reasons you are requesting funding for a summer internship. 

Application Deadline: Monday, March 27, 2023, at 4:00 PM
Submit proposals to Deanne Maxwell at dhm8@cornell.edu or email with any questions.
 Decision Notification: mid-April

Eligibility Criteria

Students Must Meet The Following Criteria To Be Eligible:

Currently enrolled matriculated undergraduate student for the spring semester; must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at Cornell and in good academic standing.

  • Students who are transferring to another institution for fall and leave the institution are not eligible for funding, and/or may have funding rescinded.
  • Returning to complete at least one full-time semester of coursework towards their bachelor’s degree at Cornell following the summer experience.
  • Have a written offer for a career-related summer experience that is 1) unpaid or minimally paid* and 2) at least 4 weeks in length and 100 hours total. The offer does NOT yet need to be accepted.

*Examples of a minimally paid experience include: a minimum wage paying experience, a lunch allowance, small stipend, or an honorarium. Stipends and other forms of compensation should be included on the Budget portion of the application and will be deducted from the requested amount and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you are awarded funding and find out later that you will receive compensation, the amount will be deducted from the original award. Generally, a minimally paid experience is one where your living expenses for the summer exceed your income.

Eligible Experiences Include:

  • Any career-related experience supervised by a staff member at the organization. It does not have to be a formal internship.
  • Research assistantship supervised by a Principal Investigator (PI), post-doc staff, or faculty member.
  • Volunteer experience supervised by a staff member at the organization.
  • Remote experience supervised by a staff member at the organization.
  • Students participating in CALS Global Fellows and the Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC).
Information About International Experiences:

The Summer Experience Grant will cover eligible experiences, including those in international locations. Once approved for funding, students must:

  • Pre-register their travel through the Cornell International Travel Registry. (Note: Students must prove they have registered their travel prior to the release of funds.); and 
  • Self-enroll in Cornell’s online pre-departure orientation for international travel: https://canvas.cornell.edu/enroll/HJL3G3.
  • Cornell strongly discourages travel to elevated-risk destinations if other viable options are available. If proposing travel to an elevated-risk destination, students must complete a petition. Petitions are triggered by rules built into the Travel Registry. If your itinerary requires a petition, the Travel Registry will prompt you for additional information about and rationale for elevated-risk travel plans. It may take 2-4 weeks to obtain approval to elevated-risk destinations.
  • If you are an international student traveling to your home country, note that funding cannot be used to travel from Cornell to your home country and back.

Non-Eligible Experiences Include:

  • Fee based programs - any program that charges tuition or a fee. Exceptions may be made for programs in the performing arts, on a case-by-case basis.
  • Cornell programs:
    • Cornell in Washington
    • Cornell Urban Semester (Practicing Medicine, Practicing Health Equity)
    • Cornell Pre-Law Summer Program
    • Engineering Project Teams
    • Global Health minor programs
    • Harold Tanner Dean's Scholars Program
    • Milstein Summer Program
    • Nexus Scholars Program
    • Rawlings Presidential Research Program
    • most other college-based program charging tuition/program fees (at Cornell or any other university)
  • Research that is supervised by a graduate student. Research experiences must be supervised by a Principal Investigator or faculty member
  • Personal research projects, such as an honors thesis, personal projects, research projects attached to academic credit, or personal entrepreneurial ventures
  • Pipeline or insight programs which are meant to expose a student to a company, but where the student does not produce a work product
  • Student or student-run entrepreneurial ventures
  • Student organization related projects
  • Summer courses at Cornell or elsewhere
  • Any experience supervised by another student
  • Work at an organization owned by a personal family member, or where you are directly supervised by a family member.  A family member may include, but is not limited to a parent, sibling, spouse, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or cousin.

If you believe that your experience should qualify, contact seg@cornell.edu to discuss.

Eligible Expenses Include:

  • Living expenses (e.g., rent, utilities, food)
  • Moving to and from an experience location (e.g., bus, plane, or train ticket)
  • Daily transportation to experience site (e.g., public transportation fare, mileage)
  • Equipment and software necessary for the experience
  • Supplies necessary for field work or position/industry specific needs 
  • Professional clothing, lab attire, or other attire needed to complete the experience
  • Tips for common expenses can be found here

NOTE: Students who are awarded SEG funding will be asked to provide receipts of major expenses, such as rent, commuting costs, travel, etc., at the end of the summer.

Expenses Not Eligible Include (But Are Not Limited To):

  • Clothing other than a required uniform or professional attire, insurance (auto, health, renters), personal travel, entertainment, gym membership, purchase of a vehicle, tuition
  • Student Contribution designated by Financial Aid.  Students who apply and are granted the Summer Experience Grant may be eligible for a one-time waiver of their annual student contribution (a.k.a. summer savings/work expectation) – up to $2,400 – assigned by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment in their financial aid package for the academic year immediately following the qualifying experience. Learn more and request a waiver here. When requesting a waiver, the name of the Experience Cornell Program is Summer Experience Grant.  

Eligibility Screening:

We have created an eligibility screening that students can complete anonymously. The screening is NOT attached to your application. We encourage you to complete the screening BEFORE beginning your application to ensure that your experience is eligible for funding. Based on your answers, you will receive feedback about the eligibility and viability of your summer experience as it relates to SEG requirements and guidelines. 

We encourage you to schedule an appointment with us if you find that you have questions after taking the screening and reviewing the information on this page. 

 

Summer Experience Grant Timeline

  • March 1: Application opens on the Experience Cornell site

  • TBD: Summer Experience Grant Information Session 

  • April 16: Application Deadline 

  • Mid-May: First round of conditional acceptances will be sent

  • Late-May: First round of grant recipient contracts will be sent

  • Mid-June: First round of funding will be distributed to students approved to receive the grant through their Bursar Account. See the FAQ section below for more details on the process.

Application Components

Experience Information

In this section, you will provide details about the experience you plan to participate in this summer. It includes the organization name, your position, start and end dates, hours, and supervisor information. For those doing research, there are specific questions about how your research will be completed. 

Essay and Short-Answer Questions

Essay Questions: 1500-character limit which equals anywhere between 210-380 words per response. 

  • What are your career goals and interests? How does this experience fit with your career goals and interests? 
  • What are your expected responsibilities in this role? Feel free to reference a position description but summarize your responsibilities in your own words. 
  • What do you hope to learn from this experience? Examples can include, specific skills you hope to gain, career insights, interest in a certain academic field, etc. 
  • For those eligible for the Dr. J.W. Landau Summer Experience Fund for Veterans, you will be asked a specific question about this award. 

Funding and Financial Aid Information

In this section, we will ask you to describe your financial circumstances as it relates to receiving the grant.  Feel free to use the questions in this section to fully explain your financial need.

Budget: Expenses

In this section you will calculate the total cost and explanation of that expense in the following categories for the number of weeks that you will be doing your experience.  Tips for common expenses can be found here.

  • Rent - not to exceed $1,500/month.

  • Utilities - This can include electric, water, wi-fi, and cell phone service costs.
  • Travel - This can include travel to an in-person experience that is not in your hometown.
  • Commuting Costs - When calculating this expense, consider the difference between daily and monthly fares, and if a city has a student rate. For car commuting, you can calculate a rate of 67 cents/ mile. To do this use Google maps to determine the number of miles round-trip, multiply that by .67 and then by the number of days you plan on commuting.
  • Food or miscellaneous living expenses - allocate $110/ week for this expense. Note, this does include laundry and dry-cleaning expenses.
  • Professional or experience related clothing 
  • Other Expenses

Budget: Income

In this section, we ask you to document and explain any sources of income or take home pay you may receive over the summer, either from the experience, other grants, a summer job, or family. If making any income, we'll want to know your take-home income with taxes taken out. You can calculate estimated taxes here

Additional Information

You can use this space to explain any other information that may be helpful to the reviewer. They could include:

  • Additional work/volunteer/academic/other endeavors that you will be involved in this summer 

  • Extenuating circumstances 
  • Any additional information about your funding needs 
  • Any additional information you would like us to know when considering your application (Example: Doing an 8-week internship but only working 15 hours/week because I have to take care of my little sister 3 days/week.) 

Resume Upload

Upload the most recent copy of your resume in PDF Format. When you upload your resume as a PDF – please name your document with your Full Name + Resume (Ex: "EzraCornell-Resume"). 

Experience Confirmation

Upload your Experience Confirmation as a PDF or JPEG file format. This should be a written confirmation of your offer for your summer experience from your experience supervisor or organization. It can be a screen shot of an email or an official offer letter. You do not need to have accepted this offer to be eligible for the SEG. When you upload your information, please save the file in following format: Full Name +SEG Experience Confirmation (Ex: "EzraCornell-SEG Experience Confirmation").

Signature

This is the last page of the application to verify that the information provided is correct before it is submitted.

Selection Details

The Selection Committee will evaluate applications based on financial need, fit with career interests and goals, benefit to student, thoroughness of proposal, and effort in identifying and securing the experience.

We encourage all students to apply, however students with high financial need will be given preference. If you have extenuating circumstances contributing to your need, make that case in your application. When the selection committee reviews your application, they may make edits to the proposed budget section which may alter the original funding amount proposed.

Application Process

  • Student submits application through the Experience Cornell website.
  • Applications are reviewed by your college career office.
  • Conditional acceptances will be sent to students.
    • Students who receive a conditional acceptance:
      • You will be asked to submit a grant disclosure form describing any other sources of funding you will be receiving through the Experience Cornell application dashboard.  If you are traveling internationally, you will need to upload your travel registry or ITART approval on this form.
      • Cornell will email your experience supervisor, asking them to submit a verification form, which includes start and end dates, compensation (if any), and other relevant information regarding the experience.
      • At this stage, funding is not guaranteed.
  • Once the SEG committee receives both the grant disclosure form and the Experience Verification, it is reviewed against your application for accuracy and adjustments.  
  • If that review is successful, then students will be sent an electronic contract through the Experience Cornell application dashboard to e-sign.  This contract will detail the award amount and breakdown of funding allocations.  The grant is finalized ONLY upon receipt of this contract.  
  • Once the contract is received, the request for funds will be submitted to Financial Aid and processed through the student’s Bursar Account.
  • Once processed by Financial Aid, the student will receive a reimbursement check or direct deposit refund for the sum of the grant awarded. 
  • Receipts and Reflection: Funding will be provided in the form of a reimbursement, meaning that the student is responsible for making and paying for their own travel arrangements, reservations, and other expenditures.  Students will be required to save and share receipts for major purchases, such as rent, major transportation costs (including plane or bus tickets to get to and from their experience), clothing, or any other major expense.  Along with receipts, students are required to fill out a reflection form.  Failure to do either will result in the student being billed for the amount of their grant through the University Bursar’s Office. 

 

FAQs

Q: I was denied funding. Can I appeal the decision and/or can I know the reason why I was denied?

No. For the 2022 application period, we had over 500 applications.  Unfortunately, we do not have enough funding for all students who applied; therefore, we prioritized students with financial need. We cannot disclose the reason(s) why a student was denied funding. All funding decisions are final.

Q: will I automatically receive the full amount of money that I requested?

No, the selection committee, comprised of staff representatives from all undergraduate colleges, reserves the right to question the method(s) used to arrive at any figure provided in the expenses and income sections of the application. We may adjust the amount of funding awarded to applicants accordingly.  This may result in a decrease or increase in your funding award. 

As a note, students should adhere to the tips for common expenses, which can be found here

Q: I don't need funding for summer expenses, but I do need help with my student contribution. Can the SEG cover that?

This year, we recommend students who need help covering their student contribution fill out the summer experience grant application on the experience Cornell site and apply for the one-time student contribution waiver request through financial aid.  When applying to SEG, make sure to account for all expenses and income.  If you have specific questions about this process, email seg@cornell.edu for more information.  

Q: What if my experience changes after being offered an SEG award?

Students who are offered an award based on an experience from the organization designated in their original application, but then accept an experience from a different employer not detailed in their proposal, must email seg@cornell.edu and then submit a new application. Based on a review of the new application which provides details of the new experience, the committee will either: 1) alter the award; 2) make a new award; or 3) withdraw the award.  Students who were approved for funding for an experience are not guaranteed funding if they change their experience.

Q: What if I have not secured a summer opportunity yet, but I am in the process?

Students must be able to provide an employer confirmation at the time of application. Therefore, we will not review an application for a pending summer experience. Please wait to apply until you have secured a written offer or agreement with your summer opportunity employer. We will accept an official offer letter or screen shot of email confirmation.

Q: What if I cannot complete the entire duration of my proposed experience?

If the experience ends prematurely, funding will be pro-rated according to time worked. You may be responsible for returning funds if they have already been dispersed. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How long does it take for me to get the funds?

Once grants are awarded, students will be asked to submit paperwork to finalize the acceptance of their award. Once all paperwork is received, the request for funds will be submitted to financial aid. After the request is sent to financial aid, it can take up to 4 weeks to receive funding in your account. Students are encouraged to set up direct deposit with the bursar's office.

Q: Are international students eligible?

Yes! All currently enrolled, matriculated undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program at Cornell are eligible.

Q: Can the SEG committee speed up the processing of my funding?

No. Once the request is made to financial aid, we have no ability to expedite funding. Any questions about the dispersal process should be directed to the financial aid office or bursar's office.

Q: Can I get academic credit for my summer experience?

If your employer requires credit or other documentation, reach out to your college career office for information about how to gain credit. Additionally, if you are considering unpaid, credit-bearing experiences with for-profit organizations, you should consider the U.S. department of labor's criteria for these programs when evaluating opportunities.