PACON Grant Award for Unpaid or Underpaid Internships

The Piper Center is pleased to offer grant awards for Public Affairs Conversation participants pursuing unpaid or underpaid internships.

For experiences that will take place during Summer 2020 students can apply for the PACON Grant Award through the Summer 2020 Internship Funding program.

All Summer 2020 Internship Funding policies will apply.  Deadlines are April 28th and May 18th. PACON students will receive  awards based on the criteria outlined below.

*Note the following policy instituted during the period of COVID-19 disruption:  “only students who will be completing internships and similar experiences while living on the St. Olaf campus or in Northfield, in the Twin Cities Metro Area, or at “home,” with “home” being defined as residing with a parent, guardian, or other family member, will be eligible to receive funding for internships from St. Olaf, and then only if and when applicable governmental restrictions on travel and work do not prohibit the internship from being performed.”

Eligibility Guidelines
  • The internship must be a public affairs internship. This includes work in government, business, or the non-profit sector that relates to broad public policy issues. Possible internship sites include government at any level; political parties and campaigns; and non-governmental organizations including think tanks, foundations, educational organizations, and service providers. As part of the online application students must submit a brief rationale for the way in which their work relates to broad public issues. If you have a question about whether or not your internship meets the criteria for a “public affairs” internship, please email Professor Fuerstein fuerstei> and Nate Jacobi <jacobi>, Associate Director in the Piper Center.
  • Students must be enrolled in a Public Affairs Conversation. Enrolled students may apply to fund an internship that takes place during Interim or spring semester, or the summer following participation in PACON. Each PACON student is only eligible to receive one PACON Grant Award.
  • Students are required to register for academic internship credit and follow the guidelines and deadlines for Domestic Academic Internships or International Academic Internships. Please note that students who register for academic internship credit for a summer internship will be responsible for the tuition expense.
  • Students are generally not allowed to complete internships in countries with State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4. Please email <jacobi> at least two weeks before the deadline if you would like to apply for special approval to complete an internship in a country with a travel warning.
  • Students completing internships or research on-campus or where the employer would be St. Olaf are not eligible for funding.
Maximum Award Levels for Summer 2020
Tier Minimum Weeks and Hours PACON Grant Award
1 4 weeks and 100 hours $1000
2 7 weeks and 200 hours $2500
3 10 weeks and 300 hours $4000

*These guidelines will used to determine amounts of awards, regardless of expenses incurred. Students completing remote internships are eligible.
**If the PACON Award level is not sufficient to meet your financial needs, please be in touch with both Professor Fuerstein fuerstei> and Nate Jacobi <jacobi>, Associate Director in the Piper Center.

The following policies DO NOT APPLY for internships and similar experiences that take place during Summer 2020.

Students must secure internship by the deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

Application Timeline & Process for Interim Internships

Recipients Notified: within 1 week of deadline. Payment Processed: approximately 2-3 weeks after the deadline
Attendance at an orientation session is also required.

Award amounts

Students are eligible to receive up to $3,500 to support expenses associated with an eligible domestic or international internship. Summer internship students who complete an eligible internship that requiring a minimum of 300 hours over a minimum of 8 weeks are eligible to apply for an additional stipend up to $1500. To qualify for the stipend, the student must be earning less than $1500 after expenses during the internship period.

See Frequently Asked Questions for examples.

Application Process and Required Documents

1. Secure an internship (must meet the criteria described above).
Please stop by the Piper Center if you need assistance finding an internship.

2. Request a Confirmation Letter or Email from your internship site. Your letter should:

  • be addressed to the intern
  • include the site supervisor’s name and title
  • include a brief description of the intern’s role/responsibilities (bullet points are sufficient);
  • include confirmation of the time commitment, including start and end dates
  • appear on the employer’s letterhead or be sent directly from the site supervisor’s work email

3. Complete the PACON Internship-Award-Budget-Worksheet(and print)

4. Complete the online the PACON Grant Award Application Form.
– It is necessary to complete the Budget Worksheet before completing the online application.

5. Update your Resume (and print).

6. Deliver Application Packet to the Piper Center
Application packet must include hard copies of the following documents delivered to the Piper Center by 4:30pm on the due date:

  1. Confirmation Letter or Email (see criteria above)
  2. Grant Award Budget Worksheet
  3. Resume
  4. Signed Memorandum of Understanding *
  5. Signed Student Liability Waiver *
  6. Signed W-9 form (domestic students only) *
  7. Direct Deposit form (optional- for students who wish to receive awards as a direct deposit) See FAQ for more details.*
    * These forms can be found in the “PACON – For Students” Google Folder.

*Students who are currently abroad have the option to email electronic copies of the three documents to <>

7. Await Notification from the Piper Center.
By two weeks after the application deadline, you will be notified via email whether you received funding, and if so, the amount.

8. Submit Payment Documents (if selected for an award).
Students who are awarded funding will receive several documents that will need to be signed and returned to the Piper Center in order to receive your payment. The grant award will be processed through Accounts Payable, approximately two weeks after the required forms are submitted. Those that are awarded funding and submit the required forms as requested will receive the award via check or direct deposit approximately four to five weeks after the application deadline.

9. Attend one of the Required Internship Orientation Sessions (dates and times listed above)

Terms of Agreement

All grant award recipients are expected to do the following:

  • Students who are selected to receive a grant award are required to attend one of two orientation sessions (TBD).
  • Complete the minimum hours requirement for Interim or Summer (listed above). Recipients who do not complete the internship as described in their application will be required to pay back the full award amount.
  • Complete a post-internship survey.
  • Participate in a reflection session and/or panel presentation with other grant recipients upon return to campus.

Funding is made possible through the Institute for Freedom and Community.