Should colleges charge for academic credit earned from unpaid internships?
By: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
Internships have become an integral part of the college experience, with some schools requiring students to complete at least one internship before they graduate into the working world, where employers increasingly are giving preference to candidates with experience.
Although students often appreciate the advantage that internships provide — and can reap the benefits later as they seek employment — some are pushing back against the long-standing college practice of charging tuition for the credits students earn through unpaid internships. Students at several schools are beginning to allege publicly that colleges are profiting from their free labor, collecting money from families already stretched by the high cost of higher education while being spared the expense of providing instruction.
The conflict is emerging from a fundamental debate about the future of higher education: Colleges increasingly are seeking to provide career-oriented opportunities for students, saying that internships are an invaluable part of their programs and require direct faculty supervision. Students say that paying to work is an outdated and unfair model, especially when they are poised to graduate with the heavy burden of student-loan debt…
David Yamada, director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, said: “In this era of skyrocketing student debt, the fact that students are probably having to borrow money to do an internship for free is appalling.”
Read the rest of the story in The Washington Post.