Summer Experience Award FAQs

General Eligibility

  • What if my SEA position is canceled after I received notice that I’ve been approved to use my SEA for that position?

    Email sea@yale.edu immediately if your position has been canceled or modified. Use the subject line “Updating [or Withdrawing] SEA Application”. Do not submit a second application until communicating with the Office of Career Strategy.

  • Can I use a SEA and an ISA in the same summer?

    Students may use both the ISA and SEA in the same summer as long as the requirements of both awards are met. The ISA does cover some academic experiences that are less than 8 weeks and in those cases, the ISA and SEA may be used in the same summer as long as the student completes the requirements of each experience.

  • I’m a senior, hoping to secure an unpaid opportunity the summer following May graduation, can I apply for a SEA?

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

  • I am an international student, if my opportunity is covered by the SEA, do I need to use my Optional Practical Training (OPT) if the opportunity is in the United States?

    If you are an international student engaging in a completely unpaid summer opportunity in the U.S. AND that opportunity has been approved for the SEA, you may still need to use your OPT for that summer. Please visit the Office of International Students & Scholars for more details, and schedule an appointment with Ozan Say.

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

    No; the proposal must be inclusive of one experience only.

  • What about a for-profit opportunity that does not traditionally pay its interns?

    Due to the restrictions set out through the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, unpaid or underfunded opportunities with for-profit employers are only eligible if completely outside the U.S. Unpaid or underfunded opportunities with for-profit employers in the U.S. are not eligible. If you’re looking to explore a certain area, such as Entertainment, that is for-profit in the U.S., please meet with an OCS advisor to explore possibilities.

  • Can I use the SEA for opportunities within the U.S. or Native American territories?

    Yes; the SEA can be used for opportunities with a tribal nation located within the U.S., and all U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

  • Can I use the SEA to fund an unpaid student job with a Yale Center or Yale student organization?

    No; students cannot use the SEA to fund an unpaid student job at Yale University including those with Yale centers or student organizations. However, the SEA can be used to fund Science, Laboratory & Other Research with a Yale faculty or research staff member. An acceptable research opportunity requires the student to confirm that the faculty or research staff member is willing to take on a formal and direct mentoring role in supervision of the student’s summer experience.

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

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

  • Which types of Education opportunities qualify for the SEA?

    Unpaid or underfunded opportunities with public and nonprofit Pre-K-12 educational institutions qualify for the SEA. Science, Laboratory & Other Research opportunities at public and nonprofit higher education institutions, including at Yale University, also qualify for SEA funding. Students can verify that the educational institution is a U.S. nonprofit using GuideStar. The same qualifications apply to international opportunities, although international opportunities though may include for-profit educational organizations.

  • Are any of the opportunities in the Yale Career Link eligible for SEA funding?

    Yes, there are opportunities at non-profits or government organizations, and some international internships, posted in Yale Career Link, which may be eligible for SEA funding. Students are encouraged to search for employers tagged as ‘Preferred Yale Partners’ in the Yale Career Link, as well as other opportunities, as they consider where to use their SEA award.

  • Can I use the SEA for a political campaign?

    No; you cannot use the SEA for a political campaign either in the U.S. or outside the U.S.

  • Can I use the SEA for an opportunity provided through a third-party internship provider?

    Yes, however programs with an academic course or classroom component will not be accepted for consideration; please contact OCS if there are any questions regarding this. Third-party internship providers are fee-based programs that provide internship placements, housing (sometimes included in the fee), visa support, emergency support, cultural and professional activities, and other infrastructure that may not be found in an internship secured directly with a company. Placements are generally made through a matching process, rather than a student applying directly to an employer. For many third-party internship providers, a student is first accepted into the program, and then a customized placement is secured by matching the student’s skills and interests with their network of employers and positions. Their advisors work with students to determine the best fit, so it is important to be flexible and open-minded should you choose this route, as not all students receive their first-choice internship placement. In choosing a fee-based internship provider, consider the reputation of the program, the quality of the internships and any other professional/cultural experiences, and the purpose of the program fee (where does this money go specifically). It will also be helpful to look for program reviews from sources other than the organization’s website; organizations may feature great videos or quotes from past participants on their websites, so it is good to try and find reviews elsewhere, too. Students must research third-party internship providers independently to understand costs, program structure, locations, timelines, whether the internship placements offer a stipend, etc. If a student decides a third-party internship provider meets their needs, they may apply to the program directly through their individual website. Students may be required to submit a third-party program fee/deposit before receiving SEA funding. Please note, third-party internship providers have not been vetted by the Office of Career Strategy. Students who participate in a third-party internship program with SEA funding take full responsibility for due diligence of the program. For international programs, you may wish to review NAFSA’s guide to vetting providers, which includes specific questions to ask.

  • Can the experience be more than 8 weeks?

    Yes, the experience can be more than 8 weeks. It must be with the same organization and full-time. The stipend does not increase for an experience of more than 8 weeks.

  • Does international research with a Yale professor qualify?

    No, the student must be employed by an international university or research lab or employed by Yale during the research experience.

Applying for SEA & Other Yale Fellowships

  • Is there a final deadline?

    May 1, 2021 is the final deadline. Students who have secured an opportunity with the federal government but are waiting for security clearance, should see ‘FAQ: How does the SEA work for students who are waiting on their security clearance?’

  • How does the SEA work for students who are waiting on their security clearance?

    If a student is offered an opportunity with the U.S. government but the offer is pending due to security clearance, the student may submit the SEA application, but a check will not be issued until the clearance is final. Students in this situation can select one of the following options:

      • Option 1: For students who want an alternative option, if the security clearance has not been approved by May 1 please inform OCS, and then the student has until May 15 to upload a new SEA proposal for a different eligible opportunity. The student must relinquish the first opportunity (requiring security clearance) before submitting the new proposal.
      • Option 2: If a student chooses to wait for the security clearance beyond May 1, SEA funds will not be disbursed until documentation is received showing final clearance, which must be received before May 15. If the clearance does not come through, the student will not have the option to submit an alternative proposal for that summer. The student can withdraw the SEA application entirely and save their SEA for a future summer.
  • Can I meet with someone before completing my SEA application to ensure I’m approaching this correctly?

    Yes; through your Yale Career Link account, you can make an appointment with any OCS advisor to discuss your SEA application.

  • If I don’t have a secured opportunity yet, can I still apply for my SEA?

    No; in order to complete an application for your SEA, you must have a secured opportunity at the time of application. If you need support in determining whether or not an anticipated opportunity would qualify for the SEA, please meet with an OCS career advisor to discuss your intended plans.

  • What are the SEA policies that I am agreeing to when I submit my SEA application?

    SEA recipients must 1) watch/read an online predeparture, 2) submit a reflection project at the end of the summer, 3) return any SEA funding received, in the event the student’s plans change making the opportunity no longer DSA eligible, 4) return a prorated amount of the SEA funding for any time less than eight weeks, in the event the student withdraws or fails to complete the summer experience, 5) complete a mid-summer and end-of-summer check in with my supervisor.

  • How soon will I be informed if my SEA proposal is approved?

    SEA proposals take up to 20 business days to be confirmed and approved. Students will be contacted if additional time is needed.

  • I am eligible for the SEA, but also have an interest in applying for fellowships. What should I do?

    • Students are strongly encouraged to apply for fellowships before applying for the SEA. If a student receives a fellowship for the full amount of their proposed budget, they will not need to apply for the SEA and can save it for another summer.
    • Students receive fellowship award notifications in mid-April. If a student is not awarded a fellowship, or is awarded less than the proposed budget, the SEA can be used to take them to their full budget. Students will have two weeks to apply for the SEA.
    • The SEA application asks: “Have you applied for additional fellowships? If yes, please list the fellowship name and the fellowship award amount and your status.” If, by using the SEA, the student is funded beyond their proposed fellowship budget, the fellowship award will be reduced to accommodate the SEA. DSA eligible students are encouraged to meet with an OCS advisor to discuss how to navigate these opportunities.

    Examples:

        • The SEA will allow students to be awarded up to $1,500 from other Yale fellowships beyond their $4,000 SEA for the same project.
        • If a student has received more than $1,500 from a fellowship, their fellowship award will need to be adjusted.
        • Fellowship budget is $5,000 and student is awarded $5,000 fellowship — student does not need to apply for the SEA.
        • Fellowship budget is $6,000 and student is awarded $3,000 fellowship and applies for SEA — fellowship award will be reduced to $2,000 ($2,000 fellowship + $4,000 DSA = $6,000) Not applicable for Summer 2020 Only.

  • Can I use funding from both the SEA and another fellowship to cover additional costs beyond the $4,000 for a domestic experience or $6,000 for an international experience?

    A student’s first step should be to apply for other fellowships before the SEA. If the student has a budget over $4,000 (domestic) or $6,000 (international) and would like to propose that they need funding from both the SEA and additional fellowships, the student should indicate this in their budget for their non-SEA fellowship proposal. The fellowship committee will review the budget proposal and determine what they are able to fund. The SEA is a flat award of $4,000 (domestic) or $6,000 (international) so students cannot propose to use only a partial amount of this award.

    Examples:

    • The SEA will allow students to be awarded up to $1,500 from other Yale fellowships beyond their $4,000 (domestic) or $6,000 (international)SEA for the same project.
    • If a student has received more than $1,500 from a fellowship, their fellowship award will need to be adjusted.
    • Fellowship budget is $5,000 for a domestic experience and student is awarded $5,000 fellowship — student does not need to apply for the SEA.
    • Fellowship budget is $7,000 for an international experience and student is awarded $7,000 fellowship – student does not need to apply for the SEA.
    • Fellowship budget is $6,000 for a domestic experience and student is awarded $3,000 fellowship and applies for SEA — fellowship award will need to be reduced to $2,000 ($2,000 fellowship + $4,000 SEA = $6,000)
    • Fellowship budget is $8,500 for an international experience and student is awarded $4,000 fellowship and applies for SEA – fellowship award will need to be reduced to $2,500 ($2,500 fellowship + $6,000 SEA = $8,500)

Arts Apprenticeship Information

  • What are the requirements for an engagement to qualify as an eligible apprenticeship?

    For an experience to qualify as an Arts Apprenticeship, a practicing artist will need to commit to taking on a mentoring role in supervision of the student’s overall summer experience. It is allowable for students to engage in supporting activities, such as research and assisting, but the artist must be consistently available to contextualize the experience and extend the student’s professional and creative development. The 8 week, 30 hours/week minimum summer duration also applies to the Arts Apprenticeship.

  • What artistic disciplines are compatible with the Arts Apprenticeship program?

    Any creator of professional work within an artistic field can be considered a candidate for establishing an Arts Apprenticeship. Examples include architects, creative writers, designers, visual artists, filmmakers, theater creatives, dancers and performance artists, musicians and composers. Please speak with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss potential eligibility.

  • Are there existing Arts Apprenticeships that can be funded with the SEA?

    Yes, search within the Yale Career Link Job Board for the Yale-coordinated “CGCC Arts Apprenticeship Program” to see approved apprenticeships that can be applied for through the Yale Career Link.

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

    Yale faculty members with an arts practice, willing to take on the necessary mentoring engagement, are acceptable candidates for the Arts Apprenticeship model. It is also possible that Yale arts faculty would be eligible for the research-based version of the SEA. Please meet with a member of the Common Good & Creative Careers team to discuss further.

  • I have an unpaid opportunity with an arts-related for-profit company this summer, could I use the SEA to fund that opportunity?

    No, the for-profit status of the U.S.-based company will make this ineligible for traditional SEA funding. The SEA Arts Apprenticeship category is reserved for students planning a mentoring relationship with a practicing artist in the U.S. It cannot be used to fund a summer engagement with a for-profit company in the U.S., even if that employer is arts-related. An appropriate apprenticeship experience needs to be supervised by a practicing artist and built around the individual mentoring relationship with that artist.

  • What if the apprenticeship program requires me to pay tuition for the training, or the artist I’m working with needs to be financially compensated for her mentoring role?

    For an arts apprenticeship to be considered for SEA funding, financial compensation cannot be provided to the artist. In general, a tuition component is not allowed as part of an apprenticeship program; exceptions will need to be discussed with the OCS Creative Careers advisor, derek.webster@yale.edu.

SEA Stipend Information

  • What if a student is receiving additional scholarships or fellowships for their opportunity?

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

  • What if the opportunity provides its own small stipend but is not sufficient?

    If the opportunity is underfunded, then it can be considered for SEA funding. The Committee defines underfunded as $1500 USD or less for an 8-week summer opportunity. International Students pursuing an opportunity in the U.S. must consult with the Office of International Students and Scholars.

  • Are there any requirements on how I use SEA funding? Do I need to return the funds if I end up withdrawing from my opportunity?

    Students who receive a SEA 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.

  • What if I leave the organization early and do not fulfill the 8-week requirement?

    If a student leaves an organization early, the student must notify the Office of Career Strategy and is required to return the prorated amount of the award to Yale.

  • Is the SEA taxable?

    For domestic experiences: 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. Students pursuing international opportunities must be sure the Tax Office knows their experience is NOT in the U.S.

    Find tips on budgeting, taxes, and other financial considerations: Financial Literacy: Managing Your Money at Yale.

  • 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 SEA. If you have not already done so, please make an appointment at Yale’s International Tax Office.

Science, Laboratory or Other Research Opportunity

  • Can I use my SEA to conduct research with a Yale faculty member?

    Yes; students should apply through the regular SEA process and the final deadline to apply is: April 1 (Priority Deadline) or May 1 (Final Deadline)

  • What are the requirements for an experience to qualify as an eligible research opportunity in Science or another discipline?

    To receive Committee approval, research with a faculty or research staff member must be full-time, with direct supervision by that faculty or staff member and be in furtherance of a research agenda and not towards the faculty member’s teaching-related tasks. The supervising researcher will need to commit to taking on a mentoring role in supervision of the student’s overall summer experience.

  • Who is considered a faculty or research staff member for purposes of using a SEA for research?

    Faculty members for this purpose include Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Research Associates, Lecturers, Lectors, Instructors, Visiting Professors, Adjunct Professors, Clinical Professors, Museum Curators, University Librarians and Yale Summer Session Faculty across Yale College and Yale Graduate & Professional Schools. Research supervised solely by a postdoctoral scholar or PhD student will not qualify.

  • What are examples of research at Yale University that could receive SEA approval?

    The following opportunities are examples of research at Yale University that would be eligible for SEA funding. Any work at Yale for summer 2020 must be remote.

    • Working with a faculty member in a Yale Laboratory.
    • Assisting a faculty member with research for an upcoming book or other publication.
    • Working with a Yale Museum or Yale Gallery Curator in the research necessary for an upcoming exhibit.
    • Assisting a faculty member in the research necessary for an upcoming Yale theater production.
    • Assisting a faculty member with field research conducted within the United States.
  • Can I use the SEA to fund my individual research agenda?

    Yes, a student may use the SEA to fund their individual research agenda if the student has established a formal mentoring relationship with a faculty or research staff member who has agreed to take on a formal and direct mentoring role in supervision of the student’s summer research. The supervising faculty or research staff member must complete the Employer Verification form as part of the SEA application. The student cannot also gain course credit for the summer experience. The 8-week, 30 hours/week minimum summer duration still applies to this type of research.

  • What if the research program requires me to pay tuition for the training or the supervisor I’m working with asks to be financially compensated for the mentoring role?

    In order to be considered for SEA funding for a domestic experience, there can be no tuition component required from the student or financial compensation expected for the supervisor. There may be a program fee for international third-party internship providers.

By Stephanie Glover
Stephanie Glover Senior Administrative Assistant Stephanie Glover