Work-based learning opportunities such as internships are currently one of the most influential ideas in public higher education and workforce development policy around the world.
But what do we really know about internships and their impacts on student outcomes such as wages, employment status, and career satisfaction? Do internships – especially those that are unpaid – serve to reproduce inequality by limiting these “high-impact” practices to those with ample and officially sanctioned forms of financial, cultural and social capital?
The College Internship Study aims to document the effects of internship participation and program characteristics on student outcomes such as college completion, employment and earnings, and career adaptability. The Study includes an online survey administered to all students nearing graduation, focus groups with students, and interviews with career services and area employers.
The National Survey of College Internships (NSCI)
A national study on college internships
The National Survey of College Internships (NSCI) officially launched in October of 2020. The NSCI addresses the growing international interest in internships and related forms of work-based learning (WBL), which are widely seen as “high-impact practices” (HIPs) that contribute to students’ academic, social and career success. However, no rigorous national studies on internships exist that focus on issues of access, program structure and student outcomes. In addition, few colleges or universities have the data infrastructure to closely track and understand their students’ experiences with internships, which is essential for supporting faculty, career services professionals, and campus leaderships’ data-based decisions about how to improve internships.