Scripps revokes some summer 2020 internship grants due to pandemic

Six orange trees stand next to a wall of a dorm.
Scripps College will not fund internships this summer that require travel further than a daily commute from a student’s permanent address. (HuxleyAnn Huefner • The Student Life)

Scripps College announced Wednesday that the school is revoking grant funding for students’ summer 2020 internships, unless those internships are located close to home or allow the employee to telecommute.

The college banned any school-sponsored travel through June 30 in an effort to prevent students from spreading or contracting the coronavirus, and summer internships financed by Scripps fall under that restriction.

“Given this uncertainty and our concerns for the health and well-being of you and your communities, college-sponsored student funding has been restricted,” Valinda Lee, the associate director of the Scripps Career Planning and Resources office, said in an email to internship grant recipients.

Students who are not graduating seniors will also have the option to defer their internship grants to summer 2021, Lee said.

Those who pursue a local internship — defined by Scripps as “no travel beyond a reasonable daily commute” from a student’s permanent residence — will receive a $2,000 grant. Some students who planned to travel for their internships received $4,000 or more, so the new policy means a decrease in funding for them.

Rachael Acello, the director of the career planning office, told TSL via email that the decision to allow funding for telecommuting internships is a departure from prior years “made in response to the current climate.”

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More than 70 Scripps students received conditional approval for funding, Acello said. Recipients learned of their grants in early March, and had until April 15 to secure the actual internship. That deadline has now been extended to April 29, Lee said.

Acello said Scripps has “every intention” of helping students “find an opportunity that works for them in this season of rapid change, or defer funds for use [in] summer 2021.”

Grant recipient Dulcie Jones SC ’21 said the change worked out well for her, as she didn’t have a specific internship in mind for this summer and plans to defer her funding. 

“I actually feel pretty lucky to have guaranteed funding for next summer,” she said via message.

“It’ll be a little weird trying to find a summer internship as opposed to a job when I graduate but I’ll take what I can get,” Jones added. “I feel bad for people who did have plans, though.”

Three of the other 5Cs took more minor steps to curtail summer internship grants. Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Pomona College suspended funding for internships involving international travel.

“We encourage all students to focus their summer plans domestically (whether that be in the U.S or your country of residence),” CMC’s Soll Center for Student Opportunity advised students.

CMC and Pitzer also warned that in light of the developing situation, further restrictions on domestic funding may become necessary in the future.

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