Internships are an excellent way to gain hands-on experience in a chosen field and add another level of learning to your higher education. They give students networking opportunities in certain professional fields by having a company connection and can even lead to full-time jobs after graduation.
Because of the immense benefits of an internship, some majors at Auburn — and at other institutions around the nation — have required them as part of a major curriculum.
Such a requirement can make
Because an internship can count toward three credit hours at Auburn, the student taking the internship — and possibly no other classes — is responsible to pay thousands in tuition costs. That cost is coupled with fees for student services and student activities for an institution at which they’re not currently present, nor using the full services of.
This scenario plays out for a student fulfilling an internship requirement over the summer at a location outside of Auburn.
Working only a University-mandated job away from services like the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, the student is responsible for the same costs they would incur from taking a class in Auburn, sitting with an instructor daily, producing materials needed to be graded by the instructor and enjoying the full benefits of being on campus.
Essentially, charging students to work a job is a backward system that discourages taking on internships.
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It contributes to the already incredibly high costs of college education and can lead to issues with debt from student loans or serve to bar low-income students from such opportunities altogether.
Even students who have scholarships face these obstacles because most scholarships do not cover the summer
Internships, while valuable experience, are often low paying jobs, if they’re paid at all.
Universities charging students to undertake the already financially restrictive experience of an unpaid internship adds another barrier to a possible educational benefit.
Even if the internship is paid, the money earned by the student is needed to cover living costs and is compensation for the work done by the student. It should not be owed to the University.
Universities have defended charging the full tuition fees for a credit-counting internship by arguing that providing the administrative support for the internship requires costly faculty work, according to The Washington Post.
But it is hard to imagine how overseeing an internship can warrant the same cost as a class held in Auburn, with an instructor present and consistent assignments.
Auburn University should not charge the full tuition and fees of a three-credit-hour course for internships.
While some costs are justified for having
Auburn students should continue to go out and seek internships and benefit from the first-hand experience they gain.
They should not be penalized for or disincentivized from doing so.
A previous version of this editorial was accompanied by an image of the Auburn University Career Center. By placing that image with this article, we inappropriately associated the Career Center with Auburn's tuition and fee policies related to getting credit for internships. The Career Center is not involved with that policy.
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