Compensation and Academic Credit

Should Interns Be Paid?

The most successful internships provide monetary compensation. In most cases, for-profit companies must pay interns at least minimum wage, and neither a stipend nor academic credit negate your responsibility to provide at least minimum wage compensation. Review NACE's 2014 report for hourly wages for interns.

Please be aware that there are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. If you are a for-profit company and believe your internship program qualifies, please review the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Fact Sheet #71 which states the following six criteria must be applied to demonstrate an employment relationship does not exist:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

UCSB Interns and Academic Credit

UCSB supports students who pursue internship/work experience courses and recognizes that such courses can help employers and students manage their experience. However, UCSB does not require academic credit for students who intern. The University of California does not accept any responsibility for liabilities incurred by organizations that sponsor internships and/or caused by students who are engaged in internships. Employers whom prefer interns to participate in a related academic course must advise applicants during the recruitment process. However, in order to increase the applicant pool, we discourage employers from requiring academic credit as a hiring criteria.

Consider the Following:

  • The availability and requirements for academic credit varies greatly across majors and colleges. It is the intern’s responsibility to work with their employer and academic department to pursue options.
  • Interns can provide an employer proof of UCSB enrollment by requesting documentation through the UCSB Office of The Registrar or their GOLD account.
  • UCSB Career Services does not provide academic credit and is not authorized to sign internship agreements.
  • Receiving academic credit does not negate employer's responsibility to compensate the intern. Academic credit cannot be listed in the compensation/salary field in the Handshake internship posting.

Liability and Risk Management

The UCSB Workman's Compensation and Liability Coverage does not extend to student interns. The company/organization will assume liability for interns/co-ops working on their premises. This holds true for both paid and unpaid (volunteer) interns. The University does not accept responsibility for student liability during an internship. No employee of the University or any UCSB student is authorized to sign a "hold harmless and indemnification" agreement. It is the responsibility of organizations that sponsor internships to consult with their legal counsel and insurance provider as to the coverage afforded by their workers’ compensation and general liability insurance policies when they sponsor internships.

Please review the Liability and Risk Management statement and contact Risk Managament & Insurance with any questions

Note: This statement applies to all internships regardless of compensation or participation with academic course credit.