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

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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