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Domestic Summer Award (DSA)

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

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. Internship must be located within the United States or U.S. Territories.

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


DSA Student Eligibility

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

  • First-year student, sophomore, or junior currently enrolled in Yale College.
  • Recipient of financial aid from Yale that includes a Yale Scholarship for Spring 2019 (students on Leave of Absence may be eligible - contact OCS for more information).
  • Has not received a previous DSA. Eligible students can receive an ISA for a different summer.
  • Has secured a summer internship located 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 required to have a supervisor who will provide regular supervision, mentorship, and guidance throughout the summer. The supervisor must have a permanent connection to the organization. For example, the supervisor can be a permanent employee of the organization or an established board member. Your supervisor cannot be another student. 
  • 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.  Because the mission of the DSA includes professional development, the Nonprofit organization must be established for at least one year and it must be in Guidestar to be eligible.
  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 within an artistic field: visual arts, theater and performance arts, creative writing, architecture and design, music, filmmaking and media arts. An acceptable apprenticeship requires the student to confirm that the artist/creator 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 organizations 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 Information

Point: The deadline for the 2019 DSA is TBD.

To apply for the DSA:

  1. Download the Host Organization Verification Form and send it to your supervisor. Once your supervisor completes the form and returns it to you, proceed to the next step.

  1. Log into your Yale Career Link (powered by Symplicity) account. From your home page, select the link on the top right “Submit Your Domestic Summer Award Proposal”. This is also located under My Account/Yale College Summer Experiences.
  2. Once your DSA is reviewed, you will receive an email notifying you whether it was approved. DSA Proposals take up to 15 business days to be reviewed. Students will be contacted if additional time is needed for verification.
  3. If your DSA proposal is approved, you will receive an email from OCS informing you of this approval.
  4. Once your DSA proposal is approved, the next step is to be alerted about your stipend check. You will receive an email alerting you when your check is ready for pickup.
  5. If your DSA proposal is not approved, you will receive notice from OCS explaining the reason. You are welcome to submit an alternative DSA proposal if your first one is not approved.

Note: Yale's Financial Aid Office will verify your financial aid status.

If you have any questions, please come to drop-ins or make an appointment through the Yale Career Link 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.

FAQ: Can I use the DSA for positions within the U.S. or Native American territories?

Yes; students can use their DSA for positions with any tribal nation located within the United States and all U.S. territories which include: Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

FAQ: Can I use the DSA to fund an internship with one of the Yale centers or Yale student organizations?

No; students cannot use their DSA to fund any positions at Yale University including those with the centers or student organizations.

FAQ: Are any of the internships posted in Yale Career Link eligible for DSA funding?

There are several domestic internships that include positions at non-profits or government entities, and therefore eligible for DSA funding.  Domestic internships with Yale Preferred Partners, and others, can be found through Yale Career Link.

DSA & Other Yale Fellowships

FAQ: I am eligible for the DSA, 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 DSA.  If a student receives a fellowship for the full amount of their proposed budget, they will not need to apply for the DSA and can save it for another summer.  Students will receive fellowship award notifications in mid-April.  If the student is not awarded a fellowship, or is awarded less than their proposed budget and will need to use the DSA to take them to their full budget, they will have two weeks to apply for the DSA.  The DSA 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 DSA, the student is funded beyond their proposed fellowship budget, the fellowship award amount will be reduced to accommodate the DSA.  DSA eligible students are encouraged to meet with OCS advisors to discuss how to navigate these opportunities.


  • Fellowship budget is $5,000 and student is awarded $5,000 fellowship -- student does not need to apply for the DSA
  • Fellowship budget is $6,000 and student is awarded $3,000 fellowship and applies for DSA -- fellowship award will be reduced to $2,000 ($2,000 fellowship + $4,000 DSA = $6,000)

FAQ: Can I use funding from both the DSA and another fellowship to cover additional costs beyond the $4,000 DSA?

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


  • Fellowship budget is $6,000 and student is awarded $3,000 fellowship and applies for DSA -- fellowship award will be reduced to $2,000 ($2,000 fellowship + $4,000 DSA = $6,000)

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: 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: Is there a final deadline?

May 1 will be the final deadline for the 2018 DSA; however, there will be one exception. This exception is for students who have secured positions with the federal government but are waiting for a security clearance.  See "How does the DSA work for students who are waiting on their security clearance?" for more details.

FAQ: How does the DSA work for students who are waiting on their security clearance?

If a student has been offered a position with the federal government but the offer is pending due to Security Clearance, they can still submit their application for the DSA, but a check will not be issued until the security clearance comes through. Students in this situation can select one of the following options:

Option 1: For students who want to have a backup option: wait until the May 1 deadline, and if the security clearance has not been approved by this time, the student has until May 15 to upload a new DSA proposal and have it approved for an eligible backup position. The student must also relinquish the position that requires the security clearance before submitting a backup proposal.

Option 2: If a student is willing to wait out the Security Clearance beyond May 1, he/she can, but a DSA check will not be issued until after documentation is received that shows the clearance came through.  If the clearance does not come through for the position detailed in their DSA application, the student cannot submit a backup proposal for the DSA funds.

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.

FAQ: What are the DSA policies that I am agreeing to when I submit my DSA application?

DSA recipients must 1) watch/read an online predeparture, 2) submit a reflection project at the end of the summer, 3) return any DSA funding that may have already been received if the student’s plans change in a way that makes the student no longer eligible for the DSA, 4) return a prorated amount of the DSA funds to the Office of Career Strategy for the weeks that they did not work if the student withdraws or fails to complete the summer internship.

FAQ: How soon should I expect to find out if my DSA proposal is approved?

DSA proposals will take up to 15 business days to be confirmed and approved. Students will be contacted if additional time is needed.

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: What if the position provides its own small stipend but is not sufficiently?

If the position is underfunded, then it can be considered for the DSA funding. The committee is defining underfunded as $1500 or less for the summer internship.

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: What if I leave my internship early and do not fulfill the 8 week requirement?

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

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 opportunity 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.

Arts Apprenticeship Information

FAQ: 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 work and extend the student’s professional and creative development. The 8 week, 30 hours/week minimum summer duration also applies to the Arts Apprenticeship.

FAQ: 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.

FAQ: Are there existing Arts Apprenticeships that can be funded with the DSA?

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 Career Link.

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

No, the for profit status of the company will make this ineligible for traditional DSA funding. The DSA Arts Apprenticeship category is reserved for students planning a mentoring relationship with a practicing artist. It cannot be used to fund a summer engagement with a for profit company, 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.

FAQ: What if the apprenticeship program requires me to pay a 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 DSA funding there can be no tuition component required from the student or financial compensation expected for the artist.