Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates
Press Release

Great Lakes Commits $2.1 Million to Help 16 Community Colleges Create Internship Programs for Low-Income Students

Grant Goal: Funding the creation of 1,000 paid internships at two-year colleges

Madison, Wis.—Internship opportunities can increase the likelihood that a student will both graduate and find a good job after graduation. However, many internships are unpaid, so low-income students who need a paying job can’t afford the opportunity and miss out on developing professional skills and networks available to their wealthier peers.

This is an issue Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates first started to address in 2013, funding the creation of paid internships for low-income students at four-year institutions with its Career Ready Internship Grant. Great Lakes has seen firsthand the benefits of paid internships at these institutions. Previous grantees reported that 98% of participating students either graduated or continued in their academic programs the following semester. Great Lakes is now seeking to learn best practices for establishing and administering paid internship programs at two-year colleges.

In an expansion of its Career Ready Internship Grant to two-year institutions, Great Lakes is awarding a combined $2.1 million to 16 community and technical colleges across Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin. During the spring 2017, fall 2017 and spring 2018 terms, the colleges will work to create over 1,000 paid internships.

Grant funds will cover internship wages and other expenses as the grantees partner with employers in their communities. The colleges will also build their internal capacity to recruit students, match them with available internships related to their academic programs and provide them the support they need to succeed.

“We’re pleased to see that these 16 colleges are dedicated to connecting students from low-income backgrounds to paid internship opportunities,” said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. “Our goal with this grant is to learn how two-year schools can build a self-sustaining paid internship program. We hope that the knowledge we gain will serve as a blueprint that can be used to create successful internship programs at community colleges across the nation.”

To learn more about the College Ready Internship Grant, visit

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967.

Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in post-secondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers – as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected educational philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed over $172 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

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