Viterbo University will increase the number of paid internships offered to junior and senior students thanks to a $150,000 Career Ready Internship grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.
Based on student success from a 2013 pilot program, Great Lakes awarded $5.2 million in new grants to 40 colleges and universities this year to help more than 2,000 students.
Viterbo was part of Great Lakes’ pilot program last year and continuation of the paid internship initiative at a higher level will make a significant difference for many students with financial need who would otherwise be unable to pursue an internship unless it is paid.
“The grant will provide students with high financial need an opportunity to complete a valuable internship experience, which due to their need to work to earn money and go to school is currently not an option,” said Tom Knothe, dean of the College of Business and Leadership.
Nonprofit organizations such as Riverfront, Inc., Global Partners, and Mississippi Valley Conservancy are examples of organizations that benefited from the services of students who were paid for their internship time, said Denise Lorenz, Viterbo’s community engagement coordinator.
“It’s really an example of a win-win,” said Lorenz. “Students in internships are more likely to stay in college, graduate, and benefit from their experience. It also helps us solidify our relationship with area employers.”
Last year, 98 percent of the interns from the schools funded by the Great Lakes grant re-enrolled the next semester or graduated.
This philosophy aligns well with the objectives of the Great Lakes grant. “We place a premium on ideas that work and our Career Ready Internship grants help level the playing field for students who receive financial aid,” said Richard George, chief executive officer and president of Great Lakes. “The program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between colleges and employers.”
Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates help millions of students pay for college and repay their student loans. Through community investments, Great Lakes leads initiatives and funds programs that help students from traditionally underserved backgrounds start and complete a two-or-four-year degree or other credential. For additional information, visit community.mygreatlakes.org.