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Domestic Summer Award (DSA)

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Domestic Summer Award (DSA) Fellowship to Support Experiences with the Arts, Sciences, 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 or underfunded ($1500 or less) summer opportunity in one of the following: a 501(c)(3) nonprofit including non-profit Universities; a government entity including public Universities; a non-governmental organization (NGO); an Arts Apprenticeship; or a Science, Laboratory, or Other Research Opportunity. The opportunity 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 2020 (students on Leave of Absence may be eligible - contact OCS for more information).  Yale ROTC students may also be eligible - email to inquire.
  • Has not received a previous DSA. Eligible students can receive an ISA for a different summer. Students can use the DSA and ISA in the same summer as long as both meet the requirements.
  • Has secured a summer experience located in the U.S. that meets the below DSA opportunity requirements.

DSA-Eligibile Opportunities

Note: The opportunity must receive approval through the application process.

  • Opportunity must be full time (at least 30 hours/week).
  • Opportunity must be for at least 8 weeks. If over 8 weeks, there is no additional funding through the DSA. The 8-weeks does not have to be contiguous as long as the supervisor/mentor agrees, and the 8 weeks occur over the summer months.
  • The opportunity is unpaid. Underfunded opportunities ($1500 or less) will be considered by the Committee.
  • The opportunity is required to have a supervisor who will provide regular supervision and mentorship throughout the summer. The supervisor must have a permanent connection to the organization, such as a permanent employee of the organization or a board member. The supervisor cannot be another student. 
  • The opportunity is with one of the following types of entities:
    1. Certified 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization: Including a non-profit University or NGO. 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 must be listed in Guidestar to be eligible. Note: 501(c)(4) organizations are not eligible.
    2. Local, state, federal or tribal government entity: Including a public University.
    3. Arts Apprenticeship: The establishment of a formal 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. The student must confirm that the artist/creator is willing to assume a formal and direct mentoring role in supervision of the student’s summer experience. 
    4. Science, Laboratory, or Other Research: The establishment of a formal mentoring relationship with a faculty member or research staff member at a public or non-profit University, including Yale University, or other non-profit or public entity, such as the National Institute of Health. 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.

DSA will not cover

  • For-profit organizations offering unpaid opportunities.
  • Provider groups where the student is not applying directly to the employer.
  • Unpaid jobs at Yale University other than research opportunities with a faculty or research staff member.
  • Programs that require tuition.
  • Political Campaign Work. Please note: as a non-profit organization, Yale is unable to provide funding for political campaign work through the DSA; however the Michael N Levy Fund for Political Internships, available through the Yale College Office of Fellowships, does provide such funding.

DSA Application Information

Point: Deadlines for the 2020 DSA:

Early Action Deadline: April 1, 2020 - students are encouraged to apply early for the DSA if they would like to receive the funds before leaving Yale's campus for summer plans.  If you apply before April 1st, you will likely receive your DSA check before you leave campus.

Final Deadline: May 1, 2020 - this is the final deadline. This is non-negotiable.

Tip: Before applying for the DSA, students should apply for other Yale Fellowships first.  Below are common Fellowships that students apply for before pursuing their DSA.

Research Fellowships:

Yale College Dean's Research Fellowship & Rosenfeld Science Scholars Program

Yale College First-Year Summer Research Fellowship in the Sciences & Engineering

Yale College Dean's Research Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Found in the Yale Student Grants and Fellowships Database:

Alexander P. Hixon Fellowship

Wendy E. Blanning Memorial Summer Fellowship

Women in Government Fellowship

Class of 1960 John Heinz Government Service Fellowship

Starting November 1, 2019: Apply for your DSA by logging into your Yale Career Link (Symplicity) account. From your home page, select the link "Professional Experiences" located under the My Account tab (bottom, left-hand corner). There will be information that you need to provide and a form your supervisor will need to complete.

Please note:

  • DSA Proposals take up to 20 business days to be reviewed and students will be contacted if additional time is needed. 
  • If approved, you will receive an email from OCS informing you of the approval.
  • Once your check is ready, you will receive an email from OCS.
  • If your DSA proposal is not approved, you will receive notice explaining the reason. You are welcome to submit an alternative DSA proposal before May 1 if your first proposal is not approved.

If you have any questions, please come to drop-ins or make an appointment through the Yale Career Link to meet with a career advisor. Drop-in hours are held Monday-Friday 10:00 am-4:00 pm at 55 Whitney Avenue, third floor (when classes are in session).