National Survey of College Internships (NSCI)

What is the NSCI?

CWT launched the National Survey of College Internships (NSCI) in 2018 in response to the growing interest in internships and related forms of work-based learning, which are widely seen as “high-impact practices” (HIPs) that contribute to students’ academic, social and career success.  However, national studies on internships that focused on issues of equitable access, program structure and student outcomes hadn’t been conducted prior to the development of the NSCI framework. The need for data about internships became even more important with the Covid-19 pandemic and growing concerns about inequitable access to internships (especially unpaid positions), particularly for low-income, first-generation and/or BIPOC students. In documenting obstacles to internships and other indicators of equitable treatment of interns, the NSCI data helps institutions identify and address these obstacles, which is one way higher education can help solve the nation’s growing problems with income inequality, structural racism, and workplace discrimination.

The NSCI instrument is organized around the Internship Scorecard framework, which aims to capture three critical elements of a college internship: (1) purpose and prevalence, (2) quality, and (3) equitable access. In capturing these key aspects of an internship, the 58-item NSCI survey goes far beyond merely documenting whether or not a student has taken an internship.

In 2023, Strada Education began collaborating with CCWT to administer the survey instrument. Click here to learn more.

Using NSCI Data

Colleges and universities use the data from the NSCI to document features of their students’ experiences with internships for a variety of reasons and applications. In the past, NSCI results have been used to provide updates to institutional leaders and funders about internships, engage in data-based efforts to improve internship programming, and establish baselines so that you can track your students’ experiences over time. Some campuses have even used the data to identify specific problems – such as why working students aren’t taking internships – to inform additional research and inquiry.  

The data can also be used by prospective college students, their familieshigh school guidance counselors, institutional research units, academic advisors, and higher education researchers to better understand the nature of college internships in the U.S.

What type of data will be provided? Each participating institution receive three deliverables: (1) a set of summary reports including a  Data Snapshot of key findings, (2) a password-protected interactive Tableau data dashboard so that you can explore the data on your own and download the underlying tabular data, and (3) the raw data from your campus for your own evaluation and program improvement efforts.   

Data from all participating institutions in the NSCI is aggregated, de-identified and then put into a publicly available data dashboard, where anyone can query the data and do comparative analyses between different types of colleges and universities.


Prior Research

Literature Reviews & Frameworks:

Research papers, reports and summaries: