Never Fear, Harvard Summer Funding is Here: FGLI Edition

Category Student Voices


Maryam, HFAI Coordinator
Maryam Class of '25
Authored on May 16, 2023


As a First-Generation Low-Income (FGLI) student interested in public service work, determining which internship I would pursue during the summer after my first year was a stressful experience since I would need to consider how I would be compensated for my work. However, after finding out about the plethora of avenues for summer funding, I have been able to do the work I love and obtain the funding necessary to make it happen!  

So you’ve acquired an independent summer internship at a non-profit doing the work you love. You’re excited to spend the summer working on climate change initiatives, leading a summer camp for children from under-resourced communities in your hometown, or working at a legal firm for immigrant rights. But before you can pack your bags and do your part to make the world a better place, you run into a problem. While the organization would love to have you, they cannot fund you for the summer. Before you begin to worry about how you will be able to finance your summer and furiously begin applying for new internships, stop, take a breath, and read this blog!  

Priscilla Chan Summer Service Stipend 

The Priscilla Chan Summer Service Stipend (PCSSS) provides funding for students who receive need-based aid for college and have secured an unpaid summer internship or fellowship in public service. Eligible students will receive a $6,000 base stipend and can receive additional funding for living expenses (up to $1,000)!  

I have received the PCSSS for two years in a row now; Because of the generous funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, I was able to spend last summer in Birmingham, Alabama, working for the Woods Foundation providing investigative services for incarcerated individuals with wrongful convictions, excessive sentences, or on death row. This summer, I will be working with the Refugee and Migration Program at IDEAS: Center for Research and Social Development in Belgrade, Serbia.  

Throughout the summer, students are expected to complete a pre-departure orientation, complete five discussion posts throughout the summer, and a final reflection paper or video at the end of the summer. The expectations are manageable and well worth the summer funding received!  

Summer Work-Study Program 

Students approved by the Student Employment office for Summer Work-Study can propose a summer fellowship at a non-profit organization and be paid through federal work-study! This option is available to students working for organizations within the United States. 

Harvard Clubs & Centers 

Although not specific to FGLI students, The Harvard Clubs Summer Community Service Fellowship (SCSF) Program is an amazing initiative that supports Harvard undergraduates seeking to work on public service projects in one of several communities across the country. If the community you want to work in is not listed on the website, I would still suggest reaching out to the Harvard Club specific to the location you wish to serve in to see if they have funds that can be dedicated to supporting your project! Before receiving the PCSSS, I was in communication with the Harvard Club of Alabama, trying to coordinate funding to make my summer experience possible! Typically, students identify internships of their choosing. Fellowship stipends typically range from $4,000 to $5,000. Fellows are expected to devote 10 weeks of full-time work to their public service project. 

In addition to the Harvard Clubs, the different regional-based centers at Harvard have funding available for undergraduate students who are pursuing internships in those specific regions. These include but are not limited to: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Remote Opportunities, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard Center for African Studies, and Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. When I was exploring different sources of funding for my internship this summer, I was encouraged to apply to the generous funding provided by the Center for European Studies and even the Center for Middle Eastern Studies since the populations I will be serving in Serbia are from the Levant.  

Other Opportunities 

There are MANY other funding sources available for all students who have secured independently organized internships, such as the Summer Service Stipend through the Institute of Politics (IOP) or the Migone Center for Career Success (MCCS) sponsored funding. For students interested in organized and funded internships, I would suggest exploring the Director’s Internship through the IOP, the Fellows at the Forefront program, the Mindich Summer Service Fellowship, or the other opportunities organized through the MCCS.  

In all, if you are excited about pursuing an unpaid summer internship during your time at Harvard, the funding exists to make your goals come to fruition! 


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Maryam Class of '25

Hi everyone! My name is Maryam and I am a first-generation, low-income (FGLI) junior at Harvard College! I am an Algerian-American student. 

Maryam, HFAI Coordinator