The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI) offers funding, on a competitive basis, to students who accept an offer for a public policy summer internship at a government entity or non-profit policy research organization in Washington, DC, that otherwise would be unpaid or come only with modest compensation. This includes internships on Capitol Hill, at any of the executive branch or independent agencies, and at think tanks or research organizations that focus on economic issues. All undergraduate and graduate students, including international students, enrolled in any of Penn’s schools are eligible to apply for funding from Penn Wharton PPI. Many DC internships require citizenship, however, if an international student is able to line up an internship in DC, they can apply to PPI for funding.
For internships that are unpaid, Penn Wharton PPI can provide up to $500 per week to undergraduate students for up to 12 weeks, for a maximum of $6,000 for the summer. Graduate students are eligible for up to $1,000 per week for up to 12 weeks, for a maximum of $12,000 for the summer. To be eligible for funding, undergraduate internships must be at least 8 weeks in duration; graduate internships must be for at least 6 weeks.
Students receiving some compensation (or funding from other sources) that falls short of the $500/week threshold for undergraduates or the $1,000/week threshold for graduate students may apply to Penn Wharton PPI for supplementary funding to make up the difference.
Please note that students who, at the time of application, have not yet received their undergraduate degree but have matriculated for a graduate degree will be considered as undergraduates with regard to funding.
Please also note that funding awards constitute taxable income. If you are a U.S. citizen, taxes will not be withheld from your stipend, but you will receive a 1099 tax form from the University of Pennsylvania at the end of the year, for tax reporting purposes. If you are an international student, the University will withhold 30% of your stipend amount for tax purposes, barring any tax treaties that may exist with your home country. International students can find information about Penn’s tax policies at the Office of the Comptroller.
Our aim is to disburse these summer awards as lump-sum payments at the start of the internship.
In exchange for funding, recipients will be expected to:
- Write one blog post during the summer on an economic public policy topic (around 1000 words in length) for the Penn Wharton PPI website;
- Serve as an “ambassador” for Penn Wharton PPI in DC, practicing good public relations and maintaining a level of professionalism both on and offline including on personal social media platforms;
- Participate in networking and professional development activities organized by Penn Wharton PPI;
- Complete a mandatory, online training module on the use of Excel for data analysis; and
- Complete an evaluation at the end of the summer about your internship experience.
The review committee will be reading funding applications in three rounds, on February 28th, March 30th, and April 30th. Students will have their applications reviewed on the first of these dates following the receipt of the application (i.e., all applications received on or before February 28th will be reviewed at that time, and so on). A funding application may be accepted, declined, or put on a wait list. If put on the wait list, the application will be reviewed again in the subsequent rounds.
Students are required, as part of the funding application, to submit an unofficial copy of their Penn transcript, a description of the internship opportunity, as well as a personal statement explaining how the internship fits with their academic and career goals. All of these documents are taken into account for Penn Wharton PPI’s funding decisions.
Students who are still waiting to hear back about an internship opportunity when the final application deadline passes on April 30 are still eligible for summer funding from Penn Wharton PPI. Students in this situation must, by the April 30 deadline, send an email to John Galm, giving the name(s) of the organization(s) from which they are still awaiting a decision. Information will be provided to these students on how to apply for funding if they receive an internship offer after April 30.
Any questions about the funding process should be directed to Ben Schneider, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to the Penn Wharton PPI listserv to receive information on upcoming student opportunities.
Apply for Funding
Please note: If there is an error with a field, such as the phone number or date field, the form will also flag the file uploads as errors. This is to notify the user that they need to reattach the file and does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with the files. Any numeric field (zip code, phone number, and date) can only contain numbers, no dashes, periods, or other characters. Please contact Lisa Marie Patzer if you have difficulties with the application form.