Frequently Asked Questions

The IOP Summer Stipend Program offers funding for students who have secured non- or low-paying summer internships in politics and public service. Eligible internships include: local, state, or federal government, public interest groups, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, advocacy work, direct service and education.​


**In light of the ongoing public health crisis, the IOP anticipates a fully remote program for summer 2021. It is the responsibility of each applicant to the Summer Stipend program to ensure their internship is able to be conducted remotely.**


Q: Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis?
A: No, applications are not reviewed until after the application deadline. 

Q: How competitive is the program? How competitive will my application be?
A: Since the application pool is considered as a whole, we're not able to say how competitive any given year will be before the application is closed. Each year the program receives more applications that it is able to fund, and we encourage students who are applying to or have accepted a low paying or unpaid internship in politics and public service to submit an application before the deadline. 

Q: What do I need to submit for the application?
A: An application consists of a three basic parts: statement of interest, a resume, and an internship confirmation.

Q: What is the Statement of Interest? 
A: The Statement of Interest is somewhere between a cover letter and a college application essay - it's more professional than your college application essay but more personal than a typical cover letter. While it should be no longer than one page, the format and tone can vary depending on the organizations you're applying to and an organization’s public persona - it's up to you! You should be sure to address basic things like: internship description, your interest in the organization, and what you hope to learn from your summer experience.

Q: I don’t have a final placement yet, since I have applied to or been offered multiple internships. Can I still apply for an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: Yes. If your summer plans aren't all the way finalized, you can still submit an application to the program.

When applying, let us know what relevant pending applications you have submitted or where you've been accepted. We are able to offer conditional funding based on your submitted applications (ie: if you have five potential internships, you may receive an IOP Summer Stipend award for one or two of those internships). You can read more about conditional offers in the "After the Application Deadline" section below.

It’s important to remember you must have submitted an application before the deadline in order to be considered. 

Q: I have applied to or been offered multiple internships, should I submit more than one application to the IOP Summer Stipend Program?
A: No. Each student should only submit one application to the IOP Summer Stipend Program. The application allows you to indicate if you have multiple potential internships for the summer and to list them in full. 



Q: What kind of internship qualifies for an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: All political or public service internship that are low-paying or non-paying are eligible for an IOP Summer Stipend. There is not one definitive list of eligible organizations, and if you aren't sure if your internship is eligible, we encourage you to submit an application before the deadline and to share why the internship is a fit for the Summer Stipend program in your Statement of Interest. All prospective host organizations must abide by Harvard's nondiscrimination policy. You can find more information about that policy here

Q: What is the time commitment required to be eligible for an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: Students must work full-time (35-40 hours/week) for at least 8 weeks in the summer. In summer 2021, those 8 weeks must take place between June 7 and August 13 (a 10 week period). 

Q: What organizations are eligible for the Summer Stipend program? 
A: While there is not a definitive list of eligible organizations, any prospective host organization must abide by Harvard's nondiscrimination policy. You can find more information about that policy here. Applicants are encouraged to address prospective host organizations' role in the public service/political environment in their application. You can also see a list of all students who have participated in the IOP's Summer of Service program here

Q: What does "low-paying" mean?
A: It varies - some organizations are able to offer transportation stipends, or a small monthly stipend. However, if you are receiving $4000 or more from other sources, you are not eligible for the IOP Summer Stipend Program. While applying for and/or receiving funding from other sources does not make you ineligible for the program, you must report all outside funding you receive or have applied to when you submit your application.

Q: Am I eligible to apply for additional funding in addition to the IOP Summer Stipend? 
A: Yes. However, you must indicate this on your application, and you must let us know if you receive additional funding and in what amount.

Receiving additional outside funding does not disqualify you from the IOP Summer Stipend Program. Students must disclose if they are receiving Harvard or non-Harvard funding for any other projects at any point throughout the summer, the amount of the award, and the dates of the other project as soon as possible and no later than June 1 of the year of the award. The IOP reserves the right to modify awards accordingly. Failure to promptly report other Harvard-funded summer activities may be reported to the Administrative Board.

The IOP and other funding centers at Harvard aim to distribute summer funding across the undergraduate community. Therefore, students are prohibited from accepting more than one substantial Harvard-funded summer opportunity each summer. In general, substantial experiences are defined as 8 weeks or longer.

Q: Can I receive an IOP Summer Stipend in addition to receiving an IOP Director's Internship?
A: No. Director’s Interns, along with other fully-funded programs across campus, such as the CPIC Mindich Service Fellows, are not eligible for the IOP Summer Stipend Program.

Q: Can I work outside the U.S. and receive an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: The IOP Summer Stipend Program has a limited amount of funding available for College students who accept unpaid positions in political or public service offices abroad. In order to be eligible for that funding, students must be returning to their home country to work in politics and public service.

If you are considering an internship outside the U.S. and will not be returning to your home country, you are not eligible for an IOP Summer Stipend. However, there are other funding sources available for these internships across campus; you can find more information about other funding sources here

Please note that regardless of your internship, the IOP is planning for a fully remote summer program in 2021. 

Q: Do I have to be receiving financial aid in order to receive an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: No. While financial need is taken into account when applications are considered, students who do not receive financial aid are eligible for an IOP Summer Stipend.

Q: I received an IOP Summer Stipend last year.  Can I apply again this year?
A: Yes. Students who received a previous IOP Summer Stipend or a Director's Internship are eligible to apply for an IOP Summer Stipend. 

Q: Are graduating seniors eligible?
A: No. If you are a graduating senior interested in pursuing politics and public service after graduation, feel free to sign up to meet with us one-on-one. You can sign up here.

Q: If I am on leave this academic year, am I eligible for an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: If you are on leave during the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters, you may be eligible to apply. You will need to petition, and receive approval from, the Administrative Board for approval to use the CARAT Application Portal. Contact your Resident Dean to initiate the petition process as soon as possible. Please note that students on leave will not be eligible to apply until the Administrative Board has approved any request. We recommend students on leave begin this process as soon as possible.

Q: I am planning to take a semester off and intern full time. Can I apply for an IOP Summer Stipend? Or are there other IOP funding sources for term time internships? 
A: No. Right now, term-time internships are not eligible for the Summer Stipend Program, and the IOP does not offer term-time internship funding.


Q: Once I have submitted my application, how long before I know if I have received an IOP Summer Stipend?
A: We do not consider applications on a rolling basis. Therefore, once the application deadline has passed, we try to notify all applicants within four weeks. 

Q: I was offered a conditional award. What does that mean?

A: If you are offered a conditional award, this means we haven’t yet received confirmation of your internship and funds will not be distributed until we receive that confirmation. It is your responsibility to submit confirmation. A conditional offer may expire if we do not receive confirmation in a timely manner, the specific date will be indicated in your conditional offer, and will be no later than the end of spring classes. 

Conditional awards are not transferable to another internship placement, and if you choose an internship other than the one for which your conditional offer was made, you must notify us immediately of your decision.

We understand each internship has its own selection timeline and try to be as accommodating as possible with regards to when internship confirmations need to be submitted to us. However, as we near the end of the spring semester, if we have not received an internship confirmation, a conditional offer may expire. If you have receive a conditional offer and are concerned about this, please reach out to us directly.

Q: If I receive a stipend, how much funding can I expect to receive? 
A: IOP Summer Stipends are $4000 awards, unless they are being prorated due to additional non-IOP funding. 

Q: If I am awarded a stipend, how will I receive it?
A: If you receive a stipend, you’ll receive more information about this with your award letter.

Generally, if you are a domestic student, you will receive your IOP Summer Stipend via term bill. If you are an international student, you will receive your stipend via paper check. The turnaround time for checks is usually around 4 weeks. Due to increased activity at the end of the fiscal year (June) in the Financial Office, it can sometimes take longer. 

Q: How is my employer covered if I get injured on the job at my internship?
A: Per the office of Risk Management at Harvard, any liability claims would go through the internship placement because the injury/accident happened on their property.

Please contact with any questions.