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Great Lakes Expands Grants for Colleges Committed to Making Internships More Equitable

Apply by June 25 for Three-Year Grants to Create Paid Internships for Students with Financial Need

Madison, Wis., April 30, 2015—Internships open doors for college students. But for students who pay their way with part-time jobs and financial aid, unpaid internships are simply out of the question. Internships are feasible only when wages are paid, and those can be hard to find.

To make internships more accessible for students who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation created Career Ready Internship grants. The program began at 19 Wisconsin colleges during the 2013-2014 academic year, providing students with financial need the opportunity to develop professional skills and build personal connections to help them get ahead after graduation, while earning money to make ends meet.

When Great Lakes learned that 98 percent of these interns either re-enrolled the next semester or graduated, it expanded the grant to colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Of the students who participated in paid internships funded by these grants in fall 2014, 98 percent either graduated or re-enrolled in spring 2015.

This continued success encouraged Great Lakes to expand the grant again, from a one-year to a three-year program. Collaborations between colleges and local businesses and nonprofits will create more paid internships, and increase participation for juniors and seniors with financial need so they can gain work experience in their fields of study. New this year, an escalating match component will encourage institutional sustainability.

"The benefits of paid internships are many," says Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. "Our Career Ready Internship grants support students in need while helping colleges cultivate valuable relationships with area employers."

Four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin are eligible to apply for Career Ready Internship grants of nearly $450,000 over three years. In addition to providing program administration support during the first two grant years, Great Lakes will fund 100 percent of internship wages and transportation in year one, then 90 percent in year two, and 80 percent in year three. Colleges, their donors and employers will cover the difference.

Visit for an application, due June 25, 2015. The grant period will be October 1, 2015 through May 31, 2018.

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