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The Hill's Campaign Blog: "To protect students, protect internships"

04/18/2014

The Hill's Campaign Blog: "To protect students, protect internships"

Columbia University’s recent decision to stop offering academic credit for internships is the latest in a disturbing trend toward policies and actions that fundamentally threaten the internship, a vital career path for millions of students nationwide, writes Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman in an op-ed published on The Hill's Campaign Blog. While perhaps well intentioned, the decision by Columbia and other schools fails to address the problem it is intended to fix, and, if it becomes widespread, could dramatically limit the availability of an extremely valuable educational experience. 

Of course all students need access to educational experiences they can afford and that are respectful to them as students and employees. That is fundamental. But discussion of the “paid internship” question should start with two essential points: (1) ideally, all interns should be paid at least the minimum wage; but (2) a properly structured unpaid internship can be a valuable part of a student’s education. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.