Non-Profit Internship Program FAQs

Q: Which student academic levels are eligible to participate in the internship program?

A: The program is geared toward full-time undergraduate students currently enrolled in a four- year college or university. Students must be rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors (in the 2023-2024 academic year) who have received a Pell grant within the 2022-2023 academic year. Seniors graduating in May 2023 are not eligible to apply, but those who are returning to classes in Fall 2023 are eligible to apply.

Q: What is the federal Pell grant? How do I know if I am eligible for it?

A: The Pell grant is a federal grant awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need. ( Eligibility is based on a student's financial need, cost of school attendance, and other factors. Please see your school's financial aid office to find out if you are eligible to receive this grant.

Q: What does it mean to be "ineligible" for a Pell grant?

A: A number of issues might make an applicant ineligible including, but not limited to, citizenship status or being convicted of certain felonies while receiving federal college aid. Students ineligible for a Pell grant due to documentation issues or criminal conviction may be eligible and should contact Clare Bradshaw at

Q: Are international students or undocumented students eligible?

A: Students attending an NC college or university on an education visa may qualify if they are receiving need based financial assistance from their college or university. If a student does not have an education visa and has qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the student qualifies.

Q: Can students apply for internships with the college/university where they are enrolled?

A: Due to the intention of the program to broaden experiences and opportunities for students selected for internships, colleges and universities may no longer offer an internship to students affiliated with their respective institutions. Students enrolled at the affiliated college/university are ineligible for an internship placement at their college/university.

Q: Who decides what the interview process is like?

A: ZSR will provide résumés and relevant information on applicants to host organizations. Individual organizations may require supplemental information or interviews at their own discretion.

Q: Is it required that host organizations only accept students of color for a position?

A: This program is targeted toward underrepresented students with the understanding that this population is disproportionately people of color. ZSR is committed to building a diverse applicant pool and encourages applications from people of color. Our primary goal is to increase the diversity of the applicant pool, but ZSR does not limit internships to just students of color.

Q: Can organizations host more than one intern?

A: Organizations can select more than one intern, however, ZSR will provide funds for only one intern per organization.

Q: Can a host organization submit more than one application to host an intern?

A: No, a host organization may only submit one application.

Q: Can a student apply to more than one internship placement in the same year?

A: Yes. Students are encouraged to apply to multiple internship placements. However, they may only be accepted at one placement in a given summer.

Q: What if an organization wants an intern to work longer than eight weeks?

A: It is the expectation of ZSR that the internship last at least eight consecutive weeks. ZSR will not contribute additional funds for internships lasting longer than eight weeks. Any additional compensation beyond the $4,800 stipend must be in accordance to agreement between the host organization and the intern and is the responsibility of the host organization.

Q: Can a student be eligible for an NPIP internship if they have had an NPIP internship a previous summer?

A: Yes. As long as a student meets the eligibility requirements outlined above, (s)he is eligible for the internship.

Q: How will ZSR's stipend be paid?

A: ZSR will pay the stipend to the host organization in a lump sum in the form of a grant. It is the host organization's responsibility to pay the intern.

Q: How many weeks must the internship last?

A: The internship should last for eight weeks over the summer. While there may be days when the office is closed or the intern takes a few vacation days during the course of the internship, the start and end dates of the internship should roughly fit this eight week span. Which is to say, there should not be a significant break in the middle of the internship in order to give the intern a consistent, full-time experience at the organization.

Q: Can an NPIP intern be considered a replacement or temporary staff member for a host organization?

A: No. The purpose of the internship is to provide an educational opportunity for students and allow them to positively contribute to your organization. They should not be considered as either replacement or temporary staff for your organization. 

Q: How many hours per week will the intern spend at the host organization?

A: The standard is full-time at 35/40-hour week.

Q: How will host organizations be evaluated?

A: Both the intern and the host organization will fill out evaluations at the end of the internship. Evaluation is conducted by an external reviewer and respondents are anonymous in the report that is presented to staff. Intern/supervisor responses will in no way influence host organization's relationship with ZSR.

Q: Will ZSR target particular colleges and universities?

A: No. We are doing targeted outreach to low-income students and students of color at colleges and universities across the state.

Q: Will ZSR choose the interns?

A: No. After making all the appropriate information available to students and host organizations, ZSR will play no further role in the matching process. Matches will be made on a first come, first served basis, contingent upon agreement between the host organization and the student applicant. The selection process ends once up to 20 interns have been successfully matched with up to 20 host organizations.

Q: Will ZSR offer any training or support for the interns?

A: Providing training related to the internship is incumbent on the host organization. ZSR is currently evaluating its potential role in providing training and/or support to both interns and host organizations. In the past, the Foundation has hosted opening and closing sessions to provide professional development and networking opportunities, held webinars on selected topics, and conducted check-in calls with interns and supervisors.  

Q: Does the internship have to occur during the summer?

A: Yes. This internship program is exclusively for the summer and to be completed between the spring and fall academic semesters.

Q: Are host organizations responsible for computers and other equipment?

A: Host organizations should be prepared to provide interns with whatever they may need to be successful at the organization (telephone, desk, etc.). Some students have their own computers, if one is necessary. This should be discussed as part of the interview and matching process.

Q: Are host organizations responsible for housing?

A: Housing is not an expectation of host organizations for this program. Any additional compensation for housing or transportation (bus pass, etc.) is the sole responsibility and at the discretion of the host organization. Whether or not an organization decides to provide financial assistance for housing, guidance or advice on where to find suitable accommodations would certainly be appropriate.

Q: If a host organization has more than one location, do they need to submit multiple applications?

A: No. Host organizations only need to submit one application and indicate their multiple locations (regions) on the application. Applicants should include the physical location where the intern would report. All internships must be based in North Carolina.

Q: Can an NPIP intern participate in lobbying, voter registration, or (c)(4) activities?

A: No. ZSR recognizes that 501(c)(3) organizations have the ability both to lobby and register voters. However, because the ZSR Foundation has responsibility for facilitating the NPIP program and for paying for two-thirds of each internship stipend, NPIP interns should not participate in any direct lobbying, grassroots lobbying, or voter registration during the course of their placement.

Q: Can a host organization partner with another grantee?

A: Yes. The intern will need to be hosted by an eligible organization (an organization that has been selected by ZSR to host an intern), but some kind of partnership is permissible.

Q: Can the host organization partner with a non-grantee?

A: Yes. Many of our grantees work alongside other organizations that do not receive ZSR funding. The intern's key role, however, should be with the host organization, which will still be responsible for the intern’s compensation, supervision, etc.