Gifts to scholarships and internships benefit students of The Murrow College of Communication by reducing the financial burden of ever-increasing tuition and the expenses incurred when performing an internship. Scholarship and internship awards are typically made from the earnings accrued to endowed funds, although they can also be funded through annual donations. Endowed funds assure a sustained level of offerings to students and, as of July 2011, the minimum level to establish an endowment is $25,000. Donors can choose to fund the endowment over a maximum of five years with contributions of $5,000 annually. Historically, earnings accrue to the fund at the rate of approximately four percent (4%), resulting in a $1,000 award each year. In addition, the formal agreement drawn to establish an endowment clearly outlines the wishes of the donor in determining the requirements for selecting the student recipient.
Scholarship and Internship opportunities funded through the university foundation are made available to students at the beginning of the fall semester. To offer an award to students, the funding must be in place at the beginning of the semester. Students are referred to the Murrow College Scholarships web page where information about opportunities and an application are provided.
Scholarships are typically set up to benefit a specific sequence within the college, such as broadcast production, or advertising, or organizational communications, and therefore reflect the donor’s passion. However, they can also be very generally directed to students studying communication. The criteria for an award may require such things as certification in the major, demonstrated financial need, or a certain level of scholastic achievement. As with directing the award toward a specific sequence, the criteria can be very broad. With an endowed fund that is designed to endure in perpetuity, establishing broad parameters is the preferred choice. While some scholarships do open the opportunity to freshmen, most students are not certified in their major until the end of their sophomore year.
Student applications are accepted until late in the fall semester, when the application process is closed. The applications submitted are then referred to the faculty review committees for recipient selection. The review process is usually completed by midway through the spring semester. Recipients receive a ‘notice of award’ letter prior to the close of the spring semester. Students return a signed acceptance agreeing to the terms of the award. Because awards must be deposited into student accounts the fall semester following granting the awards in the spring, graduating seniors are not eligible to apply.
Scholarships are granted to full-time students currently enrolled at Washington State University. Because these awards apply to the entire year, award amounts are split in half, with half deposited to the student’s account at the beginning of the fall semester and the remaining half deposited at the beginning of the spring semester, provided the student has satisfied enrollment requirements.
Internships are not currently a requirement of the college for a student to graduate with a Communication major. Students who perform internships will have a rewarding experience that enriches their skill sets toward obtaining viable employment upon graduation.
There are two ways in which a donor can provide funding to support student internships. Internships can be funded through an endowed or annual fund. Students follow the application process outlined for scholarships and are selected by a faculty review committee. This type of internships is usually open for students to perform with any employer. However, the companies providing the internship funds can specify that the student selected through the review process perform the internship within their company.
The student is not eligible to receive the funds offered through endowed or annual funding from the university until the internship is complete. Students will initially be responsible for paying expenses associated with performing their internship. Internships are typically performed over the summer with the total award provided for the internship deposited into their student account at the beginning of the immediately following fall semester.
The second method that can be used to offer internships to students is to have them directly apply to your company. The college posts internship opportunities of this type on their website. Using this method, money is not given to the university. Any money offered and the terms of payment are negotiated directly with the student.
Credit or No Credit?
With either method of providing internships outlined above, an employer can require that the student enroll in an associated credited class through The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Most internship awards range between $1,000 and $2,500. Summer classes for 2011 were estimated to cost students $430 per credit for residents and $440 for non-residents. The number of credits required for the internship will be agreed upon between the employer and the faculty member proctoring the course. They are typically determined according to the duties the student will perform and how many hours of work will be required to complete the internship. The proctoring professor will require a written report at the end of the internship to determine whether duties performed during the internship satisfy credit requirements.
The WSU semester system requires a minimum of three hours of internship per week per credit hour earned. During a 15 week semester, this works out to be a total of 45 hours of internship work per credit hour per semester, or 135 hours for a three-credit class.
The advantage to a student of coupling class credit with an internship is that the placement will appear on the student’s transcripts and the student is eligible to purchase liability insurance through the university while enrolled in a credited class.
Requiring an associated credited class for student interns may affect their status as an employee or non-employee. Employers are advised to research applicable labor laws to determine whether there will be advantages to their company from requiring associated credit.