ALESTLE VIEW: Internships should pay students for their work

Internships are integral for many careers and without one, it can be difficult to have the necessary experience that employers are looking for directly out of college.

With these internships, students are expected to work 20 or more hours and complete their work like any other job — so why shouldn’t they be paid?

Some jobs require more experience, and there’s a solid chance students can be denied jobs if they haven’t completed internships. With some majors, such as computer science or mass communications, these internships are necessary to prove that students understand what they are doing.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2018 internship statistics, interns are offered jobs at  59 percent along with an acceptance rate of those jobs at 77 percent. 

Having a job immediately out of college is necessary, and if students have nearly a 60 percent chance to be offered a job, then they should take any measures necessary to get there. But students should not be expected to work for free for this. 

Internships are jobs, just with different titles. Some students still work up to 20 hours per week for these and are expected to learn and complete tasks that contribute toward the organization’s goals. 

Forcing them to work for free is nearly as bad as speculative work. 

This is a predatory practice that expects students to work solely because they need experience to get a future job. 

Working for free is also incredibly harmful for mental health. It is easy to shut down if someone knows that their work really isn’t benefiting them in a tangible way. Workers are still receiving experience, but that experience doesn’t translate into an actual paycheck, which college students need to survive. This isn’t just for paying tuition but also food, gas, personal spending, cost of living and more.

Collegecalc.org says that the average in-state tuition for Illinois was $17,888 for 2017-18, and that this is $3,776 higher than the United States’ average. College isn’t free, and students shouldn’t be expected to not be able to pay for this, either. 

With costs of college increasing as well, a majority of students need jobs to pay for tuition. Not everyone has parents to pay for expenses — some need jobs, or maybe even two or three jobs, just to pay for tuition and fees, let alone room and board when necessary.

Internships have the opportunity to teach students how to work in their professions and also net them cash alongside it. In some great cases, interns also can be given college credit for their internships, helping them save money in the long run. Internships can give opportunities for networking as well. 

Not paying interns forces students to waste precious time that could be spent on homework or classes in an environment where they work to receive no pay to afford the classes.

Those with internships that aren’t paid should have a chance at grants that could help pay for their tuition while finishing college. Companies, in general, should pay their interns — there is no good reason they shouldn’t. 

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