GW Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund

About the Fund  l  Student Eligibility  l  Internship Eligibility  l  Selection Process  l  Basis for Disqualification  l Financial Aid & Tax Considerations  l  Post-Internship Expectations  l  Information for Donors   l  Questions?   l   Past KACIF Recipients

Updated January 9, 2015

About the Fund

The GW Career Services Council established the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF) to encourage GW students to pursue high-quality, necessarily unpaid internships that foster their career exploration and enhance their academic program, while reducing the financial challenges associated with unpaid internships.

Made possible through the generous support of alumni and parents, this highly competitive program provides grants ranging up to $3,000 to GW undergraduate and graduate students pursuing internships that are necessarily unpaid.  Necessarily unpaid internships are typically those with non-profit, governmental, educational, and non-governmental organizations that genuinely lack the financial resources to pay salaries or wages to their interns.  Please refer to the Internship Eligibility section for more details.

The Career Services Council believes the financial support provided by the fund will make a significant difference in the lives of GW students, just as the students will make a significant difference in the world and through their work with the organizations at which they intern.

For more information, please read the following Frequently Asked Questions below or contact  If you would like to support KACIF with a financial contribution, please refer to the Information for Donors section.

Summer 2015 Application, Evaluation, & Notification Timeline:  COMING SOON

Student Eligibility

  • Are all majors/degree programs eligible? 
Yes, undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled full-time or part-time in any degree program at the George Washington University during the application period are eligible.  
  • Are there GPA requirements?
All applicants should be in good academic standing and the award is contingent upon the student maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5 for undergraduate students, or a minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduate students, through the end of the internship period.  If a Summer 2015 grant recipient's cumulative GPA falls below the eligibility criteria after Spring 2015 grades are posted, their grant will be subject to review.
  • Do I need to be in good disciplinary standing with the university to be considered?
Yes.  The selection process will involve a review of academic and disciplinary conduct records maintained by the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities.
  • Are graduating students eligible?
    Only GW undergraduate and graduate students who will continue as matriculating full-time or part-time students in a degree program in the fall of 2015 are eligible. 
  • Are new incoming students eligible?
    Graduate students in their first year would be eligible.  Undergraduate students in their first semester of their undergraduate degree would not be eligible, however, they would be eligible for subsequent semesters once they've matriculated at the university.
  • Are International students (F1/J1) student allowed to apply? 

Yes, however, please consult the information on how the award would affect your taxes in the section on tax implications below.

  • Are exchange students eligible?

No, only undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled full-time or part-time in any degree program at GW are eligible.

  • My internship has a security clearance requirement and the results won't be available until after the KACIF application deadline.  Would I still be eligible?

Students who have internships that are contingent upon a security clearance are eligible to apply for KACIF funds, but the award, if granted, will be contingent on the student eventually obtaining their security clearance.  If they do not pass, the KACIF grant award will be rescinded.


Internship Eligibility

  • How do you define “necessarily unpaid”? 
An internship is necessarily unpaid if the organization faces a genuine lack of resources (financial) to pay the intern a stipend, salary, or wage.  Incidental support such as a minimal stipend for housing, transportation, and/or meals does not disqualify an internship from being considered necessarily unpaid.  Unpaid practicums that are required as a part of a program curriculum and unpaid research assistantships supporting faculty members are ineligible to receive grants from the KACIF fund.
  • What kinds of organizations fall under the eligibility requirements?
Generally, internships at most organizations where financial resources are at a premium are eligible, particularly non-profit, governmental, educational, and non-governmental organizations. In addition, students pursuing opportunities at boutique, for-profit, and/or entrepreneurially-oriented organizations such as media and political consulting firms, and technology startups may also be considered if there is justification for why the internship is unpaid. Internships that are unpaid at for-profit organizations, such as Fortune 500 companies and media conglomerates, for example, will not be considered for funding through KACIF, as these internships should be paid, regardless of the general practices of these organizations.
  • Would I be able to apply the grant towards a current internship or one that I've completed?
To be eligible for support through the Summer 2015 Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund applicants must demonstrate that they will work a minimum of 160 hours at the internship after the end of the Spring 2015 semester and before the start of Fall 2015.  Grants from the Fund cannot be applied retroactively to internship hours completed prior to the start of the Summer 2015 semester, however, an internship that started prior to and extends into summer of 2015 may be eligible if 160 hours of it are completed during the Summer 2015 semester.
    • Do I need a confirmed internship offer to apply? 
    Yes, a letter of confirmation or signed contract from the internship sponsor or supervisor is a required component of the application. This letter must be on the organization’s letterhead or the contract must be signed, written in English, and include the organization’s contact information, confirmation that the internship has been offered and accepted, the start/end dates of the internship, the total number of hours to be worked, and that it is unpaid.
    • Are internships that take place abroad eligible?
    Yes, as long as the internship meets the eligibility stipulations outlined above, international internships are eligible for support through KACIF. At the same time, please make your travel known to the Office for Study Abroad and consult the GW International Travel Approval Policy and fill out and submit all required forms, including those for insurance coverage for your internship-related travel.
    • I have more than one necessarily unpaid internship.  Can I apply for funding for multiple internships that are necessarily unpaid?
    We encourage students to pursue the most meaningful experiences for themselves, and to that end expect students to spend a minimum of 160 hours working at internships that qualify for funding from the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund. You may apply to use the funding to support multiple internships that meet the eligible criteria, but only one award will be made, regardless of the number of qualifying internships that will be completed.  


    • How do I apply?
    • For Summer 2015 consideration:  more info coming soon.
    • Applicants must upload all of the following application documents as part of their application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.  
    1. Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund Application Form - includes detailed budget template and personal statement essay questions.
    2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae.
    3. Unofficial GW transcript. If the student is unable to provide an unofficial transcript (e.g., first semester at GW), the Office of the Registrar can provide a "letter of no transcript" that will suffice to show that the student is a current GW student in good standing.
    4. Internship Verification & Description Letter or Signed Contract.  The content of the document must meet the following requirements:
    • The letter or contract should be in English. 
    • It should be on the organization’s letterhead or a signed contract.
    • The organization’s contact information should be on the letter or contract.
    • The letter or contract must verify that the internship has been offered and accepted, and include the start/end dates of the internship, total number of hours to be worked, and that it is unpaid.
    IMPORTANT—PLEASE READ: By completing and submitting the above-noted items you are acknowledging that the information is truthful and accurate; furthermore, you are giving permission for GW to use this information (including the required post-internship reflection essay), in full or part, to publicize KACIF to future applicants, to steward current donors to the Fund, and/or to cultivate potential donors to the Fund – and to be available to support such activities as requested.
    For more information, contact us at

    Selection Process

    • What are the selection criteria for awarding internship grants? 
    Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis, however, the general criteria (in no particular order) against which applications will be evaluated are: the student's financial need, demonstration of the internship’s connection to career and academic goals, quality of internship, and how the funds will be used.
    • Who will be selecting the candidates? 
    A committee consisting of members of the Career Services Council will review and select the award recipients.
    • When will the award recipients be notified?
    All applicants will be notified of their status on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, via the e-mail contact information provided on the application. 

    Basis for Disqualification

    The following criteria may serve as a basis of disqualification for receiving a KACIF award:
    • Submission of material after the deadline, even if to complete an application submitted prior to the deadline.
    • Inaccurate representation of internship information.
    • Transferring or dropping from the GW degree program in which the student is enrolled before, during, and after the internship supported by the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund award.
    • University Honor Code or academic or disciplinary conduct violations.
    • Virtual/independent and unsupervised internships will not be considered.
    • Host organizations cannot be owned or run by a member of the intern’s immediate family.
    • Non-completion of internship requirements.
    •  Non-follow up on post-internship commitments (see post-internship expectations below).

    Financial Aid & Tax Considerations

    • How will this affect my financial aid package?
    These awards will be considered as merit awards and could affect any need-based aid that students may be offered for the academic year. Students are responsible for consulting with the Office of Student Financial Assistance to estimate the impact, if any, of a Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund award on their financial aid package.
    • Are there tax implications?
    The award will be treated as taxable income for federal and state income tax purposes and GW will issue a Form 1099-Misc to US citizens and permanent residents and a corresponding copy to the IRS.  Students should consult their parents or a tax advisor for federal and state income tax filing questions. For more information on tax-related issues, please visit the GW Tax Department.
    International Students: Depending on the individual circumstances for the international student award recipient, GW will be required to issue either a Form 1099-Misc or Form 1042-S. Payments to international students may be subject to 30% direct tax withholding. International students should contact the GW Tax Department to determine their circumstances.  Specifically mention the “Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund” in your email message.
    • May I apply to other GW fellowship grants or other sources or other sources of financial support for my internship?
    The Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund can be held concurrently with any other GW merit awards, although these awards/sources should be included in the budget section of the application.
    • Will the grant be given up-front or post-completion?
    If selected for an award, the student will receive a check shortly after the award is confirmed.

    Post-Internship Expectations

    • Completion of a brief essay to reflect on the internship's impact on academic and career goals.
    • Submission of an internship evaluation letter from the internship sponsor/supervisor (written in English).
    • Availability for activities (thank you letters, Q&A sessions, donor-recognition events, etc.), as requested, to promote the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund to future applicants, to steward current donors to the Fund, and/or to cultivate potential donors to the Fund, to include use of the content – in full or part - from the KACIF application materials and/or the post-internship reflection essay.

    Information for Donors

    The Career Services Council is grateful to parents, alumni, and other donors who have made this Fund possible with their generous donations. We welcome additional contributions from alumni, parents, students, and friends. To make a donation online please visit: and write "Knowledge in Action Internship Fund” in the "Other" category under "Purpose of Gift."



    If you have further questions about the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund and the application process, please contact us at


     Past KACIF Recipients

    Summer 2013

    Spring 2014

    Read the GW Today feature on Summer 2013 KACIF Recipients:  Students Awarded Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund Grants

    Watch KACIF recipients talk about how KACIF helped support their internships