Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session CAREER LINK

Domestic Summer Award (DSA)

You are here

Domestic Summer Award Fellowship to Support Experiences with the Arts, Government, and Non-Profit Organizations (DSA)

Quote: Yale College seeks to prepare students to make positive and lasting impacts in every community in which they will engage throughout their lives. By creating this award, Yale enables more students to gain direct experience with organizations and individuals whose work is focused on the common good. 

– Marvin Chun, Dean of Yale College

The DSA provides a stipend of $4,000 to Yale undergraduate students on financial aid who have secured an approved unpaid summer internship in one of the following areas: a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; a government entity; a non-governmental organization (NGO); or an Arts Apprenticeship.


DSA Student Eligibility

Note: Students must meet all of the below criteria to be eligible.

  • First-year student, sophomore, or junior in Yale College.
  • Recipient of financial aid from Yale that includes a Yale Scholarship for Spring 2018 (students on Leave of Absence in Spring 2018 are eligible).
  • Has not received a previous DSA. Eligible students can receive an ISA for a different summer.
  • Has secured a summer internship in the U.S. that meets the below DSA position requirements.

DSA Position Eligibility Requirements

Note: Position must receive approval through the Office of Career Strategy application process.

  • Position must be full time (30 hours/week).
  • Position must be for at least 8 weeks. If over 8 weeks, there is no additional funding through the DSA.
  • The position is unpaid. Underfunded positions may also be considered by the Committee.
  • The position is with one of the following types of entities:
  1. Certified 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization, including NGOs. To confirm this status, visit Guidestar and enter the organization’s name in the Pro Search field.
  2. Local, state, federal or tribal government entity.
  3. Public or nonprofit university outside of Yale University.
  4. Arts Apprenticeship: The establishment of a formalized mentoring relationship with an artist/creator, and/or a studio of practice, within an artistic field: visual arts, performance arts, writing, architecture and design, music, filmmaking and media arts. An acceptable apprenticeship requires the student to confirm that the artist/creator/studio administrator is willing to take on a formal and direct mentoring role in supervision of the student’s summer experience. All length and duration requirements apply to an Arts Apprenticeship experience.

DSA will not cover

  • For-profit employers offering unpaid positions.
  • Provider groups where the student is not applying directly to the employer.
  • Unpaid jobs at Yale University.
  • Political Campaign Work.

DSA Application Materials

Tip: Please refer back to this page for full details on how to apply.

  • The application will open by December 1.
  • DSA proposals will be reviewed by a Committee throughout the year on a rolling basis.
  • If your DSA proposal is approved, you will receive notification of your award and can pick up your DSA check from Yale’s Center for International and Professional Experience on the indicated date.
  • If you have any questions at any time, you are welcome to make an appointment through the Yale Career Link or come to drop-ins to meet with a career adviser in the Office of Career Strategy. Drop ins are held Monday-Friday 10:00 am-4:00 pm at 55 Whitney Avenue, third floor (when classes are in session).

Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ: If I use my DSA for one summer, will I still be eligible for an International Summer Award (ISA) during another summer?

Yes; Yale College students who are eligible for the DSA and ISA are able to use both awards for different summers during their time at Yale. However, you can only accept one of the awards in a single summer.

FAQ: I’m a senior, hoping to secure an unpaid position the summer following May graduation, can I apply for a DSA?

No; the DSA is for current first-years, sophomores, and juniors.  Visit the Fellowships Office website for more information on post-graduate fellowship opportunities.

FAQ: Can I combine two part-time experiences that amount to a full-time commitment (30 hours/week)?

No; the proposed plans needs to be inclusive of one experience only.

FAQ: What about a for-profit industry that does not traditionally pay its interns?

No; unpaid positions with for-profit employers will not be funded by the DSA. Please meet with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss the particular employer or industry.

Types o​f Positions

FAQ: Can I apply my DSA to an unpaid research experience at Yale?

No; Yale University positions are not eligible for the DSA, even if they are unpaid positions.

FAQ: My Yale professor also has a professional arts practice. Would a summer apprenticeship with his/her studio qualify for a DSA?

In some cases Yale faculty with entirely independent arts practices would be acceptable candidates for the Arts Apprenticeship model. Please meet with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss further.

FAQ: I am volunteering with a nonprofit or government agency for 8 weeks, minimum of 30 hours per week?  Can this be considered for the DSA?

If your volunteer work fits the eligibility requirements of the DSA and your proposal clearly shows why this volunteer work is an important part of your career path, the Committee will consider it for the DSA.

FAQ: Which types of Education positions qualify for the DSA?

Unpaid internships with public and nonprofit Pre-K - 12 educational institutions qualify for the DSA.  Unpaid Internships with public and nonprofit higher education institutions also qualify for the DSA; however, Yale University positions are not eligible.  Students can verify that the educational institution is a nonprofit using GuideStar.

Application Questions

FAQ: Can I meet with someone before completing my DSA application to ensure I'm approaching this correctly?

Yes; through your Yale Career Link account, you can request a meeting with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss your DSA application.

FAQ: If I don't have a secured position yet, can I still apply for my DSA?

No; in order to complete an application for your DSA, you must have a secured position at the time of application.  If you need support in determining whether or not an anticipated position would qualify for the DSA, please meet with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss your intended plans.

DSA Stipend Information

FAQ: What if a student is receiving additional scholarships or fellowships for their work?

Students applying for a DSA who are also applying for additional fellowship funding must include this information in their DSA application.

FAQ: Are there any requirements on how I use the DSA funding? Do I need to return the funds if I end up withdrawing from my internship?

Students who receive a DSA are required to use the money for the purposes for which it was granted. Students who withdraw from funded programs and activities will be required to repay Yale the amount of their award.

FAQ: Is the DSA taxable?

Under federal tax law, a scholarship or fellowship provided to a student in a degree granting program is generally taxable. If you are a candidate for a degree, however, you can exclude from taxable income that part of the award used to pay the costs of tuition, required fees, books, equipment and supplies (required fees, books, equipment and supplies are limited to those specifically required of all students in a course). You cannot exclude from taxable income any part of the grant used for other purposes, such as room and board. Please refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education, Section 1, Scholarship, Fellowships, Grants and Tuition Reductions and the IRS tax guide for students, Taxable Income for Students. While CIPE cannot offer tax advice, the IRS Tax Office on Court Street does offer free tax advice to students.

FAQ: I am an international student, do I need to look into any additional tax requirements?

Yes, international students must complete certain forms at the International Tax Office before receiving the DSA. If you have not already done so, please make an appointment at Yale's International Tax Office.

FAQ: I am an international student, if my internship is covered by the DSA, do I need to use my Optional Practical Training (OPT) since the internship is in the United States?

If you are an international student engaging in a completely unpaid summer AND that position has been approved for the DSA, you may not need to use your OPT for that summer.  Please visit the Office of International Students & Scholars for more details.