MSU Denver offers paid internships to undocumented students

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The university secured funding last fall to ensure these students weren’t limited in their professional opportunities.

DENVER — Metropolitan State University of Denver recently secured funding that will allow more students to access professional work development opportunities, such as paid internships and fellowships. 

MSU Denver previously offered internships for college credit to undocumented students. Many, according to MSU, wanted to pursue internships but may not have been able to overcome the lack of compensation. 

The university has come up with a solution to make internships more feasible — securing three years of funding to pilot a scholarship through TheDream.US.

MSU is currently the only university in the state that is partnering with TheDream.US Experiential Fellowship to secure stipends for undocumented students for unpaid internship and fellowship opportunities. 

“Many internships are unpaid, but that does mean it becomes a bit of luxury to pursue that kind of opportunity,” said Gregor Mieder, Director of Immigrant Services at MSU Denver. “It’s very, very difficult for that student population to simply take the time away from working to provide for families, to take care of family members, to focus on school full time and also have the benefit of taking on an internship.” 

The funding through TheDream.US will last for three years. It started in the fall, and there are already about six students participating.

“One of the things that certainly I see when I work with immigrant-background students and students who are not U.S. citizens is just the tenacity and the hard work that those students and their family members bring to their education, that they bring to the workforce. They consistently want nothing more than to contribute to Colorado as professionals,” Mieder said. 

MSU also has several other programs already in place allowing students, regardless of background, to attain paid internships. One called “Earn and Learn” offers a similar type of stipend. 

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MSU Denver offers paid internships to undocumented students

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