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CMC Sponsored Internship Program Offers Record Number of Stipends

April 1, 2008

by The Forum

Last night at approximately midnight, Kevin Arnold, Assistant Director for Leadership Programs at Claremont McKenna's Kravis Leadership Institute, sent out e-mails to students informing them of their sponsored summer internship decisions. For many students whose proposals were accepted, the e-mail, which listed the stipend at $3,000, came as a slight surprise because the program was advertised as $3,500 per stipend this year.

According to Mr. Arnold, the decision to keep the stipend at $3,000 (it was $3,000 last year as well) came when the Career Services Center reported receiving a record number of applications. KLI found itself trying to raise enough money for every applicant and has been mostly successful, but is unable to raise the stipend amount this year.

“KLI elected to retain the $3,000 stipend amount in order to maximize the number of internships we could support,” said Arnold in an interview today. “The challenge is a positive one in that [Career Services and the Kravis Institute] collectively got more applications this year than have ever been received-- over 180, as compared to about 130 last year.”

Although Mr. Arnold reports that the KLI will be able to support “the great majority” of applicants, he says they will not know the final numbers for at least a month because many students have applications that are not complete. This includes applicants who are waiting to hear back from their organization or are still searching for an internship. “We won't know what the final picture will look like for another month,” says Mr. Arnold.

Since the KLI program's pilot year five years ago, many students have come to depend on CMC's sponsored internship program, which provides students who choose certain non-profit, unpaid internships with a stipend for living expenses such as housing and food. In the past, KLI internships have involved domestic organizations from the Heritage Foundation to Habitat for Humanity (KLI's 2007 international internships are listed here). When asked what he would do if CMC cannot fund his internship with the Sierra Club in San Francisco, Joe Swartley '11 says, “I don't know what I would do... I would probably wash cars or work at a retail store to make money.”

Other sponsored internships are available through CMC, including the McKenna International Program. The McKenna International Program is in the 9th of a 10 year gift from Donald McKenna.

Even though the program has an application process, in past years almost all students were awarded a stipend for their internships. According to Mr. Arnold, this is not subject to change, but it is obviously more difficult to raise money for over 180 students than it is for 130 students or fewer. It is a task to raise money because funds may not come from tuition or fees paid for by students themselves. “The students contribute zero to a program that last year provided over $300,000 in stipends,” says Mr. Arnold.

“Henry Kravis has provided the institute with a lot of funding, some of which has been directed toward growing the internship program,” says Mr. Arnold. “There have been major gifts in the past couple years from [CMC Trustee] Shaw B. Wagener '81, and members of the KLI Advisory Board, such as Duane Kurisu [Parent '08], as well as others. President Gann has also been directly involved in securing funding.” Mr. Arnold emphasizes that a lot of people have been instrumental in supporting the programs, even though it is more of a collaborative effort than a centralized one.

Despite some disappointment from students who were anticipating more in funding, CMC's sponsored internships have come a long way in the past five years when they were started. Three years ago, stipends were increased from $2,500 to $3,000. This year, more than $500,000 will be awarded in stipends.

“We want to be as supportive as possible, keeping in mind the increased demand,” says Mr. Arnold. “I understand the concern about funding... but it is a program that has grown because of the great support by the administration and through faculty involvement in the academic portion of the internships.” _____________________________

Example e-mail:

"Greetings, Your summer internship application has been received and reviewed for support by the Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI). Pending final confirmation from your organization of acceptance and responsibilities, I expect the KLI will be able to support your internship with a $3,000 stipend to cover expenses associated with your otherwise unpaid internship. Please continue to provide any additional relevant information to the Career Service Center. Additional information concerning academic requirements will be forthcoming. You will be required to attend an internship meeting in April to go over the requirements of the program. Details about this meeting will also be forthcoming."

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