AP file photoSixty percent of college students are required to take an internship in order to graduate

Paying to work for free: Colleges charge big bucks for ‘internship credits’

WHAT: Sixty percent of college students are required to take an internship in order to graduate, which is supposed to help them get jobs in a tough economy. Half those internships are unpaid, but the college also charges the students for semester credits.

HOW MUCH: Georgetown University charges $1,705 per credit hour. Out of state students at William & Mary must pay $985. A single course is usually three or four credit hours. And those hefty fees don’t include housing and transportation expenses.

WHY:
Under federal law, unpaid internships at for-profit companies must be “similar to training … given in an educational environment.” That has been conveniently interpreted to mean unpaid internships are legal if students receive academic credit.

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