Summer Scholars

2018 Summer Scholar Program

May 29-August 3, 2018

The Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) is delighted to announce the third season of the PNPI Summer Scholar Program (May 29-August 3, 2018). PNPI’s Summer Scholar Program provides a unique opportunity for highly-motivated undergraduate seniors or graduate students with demonstrated financial need to learn about federal higher education policy and help to shape professional development seminars for current and prospective higher education policymakers, all while offering the financial support needed to live and work in Washington, D.C.

PNPI is the leading source of professional development for federal policymakers working on higher education issues. We offer Scholars the opportunity to build their knowledge base and their network in federal higher education policy.

Applicants to the Scholar program must demonstrate full-time undergraduate enrollment as a senior or graduate enrollment at an accredited institution of higher education and provide proof of financial need. All majors and fields of study will be considered, but candidates must indicate an interest in postsecondary education policy or practice.

PNPI’s Summer Scholar Program is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and with generous support from Terrell Halaska, David Dunn, HCM Strategists and other individual donors.

The Summer Scholar Program is one of several avenues by which PNPI hopes to introduce new voices to the federal policymaking process.  Application and further details are below.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be enrolled in an accredited college or university as a full-time senior undergraduate student or graduate student. Proof of enrollment (recent transcript) required.
  • Must demonstrate financial need. Undergraduate students must have received a Pell grant in the most recent academic year. Graduate students must have received a Pell grant in their senior year of college AND demonstrate Pell-eligibility for the most recent academic year per the estimated family contribution listed on their Federal Student Aid Report (additional details regarding graduate student eligibility can be found in the application).
  • All majors/fields of study accepted, but candidates must demonstrate an interest in postsecondary education policy or practice.
  • If currently living outside of D.C., must be able and willing to relocate to Washington, D.C. from May 29, 2018 to August 3, 2018.
  • If selected for an interview, must have access to Skype or Google Hangouts.
  • Must be able to work 35 hours/week in Washington, D.C. for the duration of the internship.
  • Must be able to travel with PNPI staff to Congressional events and seminars both on Capitol Hill and in the contiguous United States (all travel expenses covered by PNPI).
  • Must have excellent communication, writing and interpersonal skills.
  • Must be a self-driven and highly-motivated independent worker.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who currently live or attend school outside of Washington, D.C. and to those who have never interned in Washington, D.C. before.
  • Must submit application and all required materials no later than 5pm EST on Monday, March 5, 2018. No late applications will be reviewed or accepted.


  • Opportunity to work with the leading provider of professional development for federal policymakers who work on higher education issues.
  • Competitive hourly wage ($15/hour).
  • Housing provided (details and arrangements to be made before start of internship).
  • For students residing outside of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area: roundtrip airfare, train fare or mileage reimbursement to travel to and from Washington, D.C. at the start and finish of the internship.
  • SmartTrip Metro card to cover costs of traveling to/from work.
  • Opportunity to attend all PNPI events, in and outside of D.C.
  • Option to attend a variety of education-related professional development events in the D.C. area.
  • Opportunity to evaluate internship experience and help shape the future of the program.
  • Mentoring provided by PNPI senior staff.

Application process:

All applicants must email the following to with the subject line: Last Name, First Name, PNPI Summer Scholar Program Application. ALL MATERIALS MUST BE ATTACHED TOGETHER IN ONE EMAIL.

  • a PNPI application (below)
  • a current resume
  • a transcript to verify full-time enrollment status and
  • UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: a copy of your most recent financial aid award letter
  • GRADUATE STUDENTS: a copy of your student aid report (SAR) AND a copy of your financial aid award letter from your senior year of undergraduate studies (accessible via 


  • Applications due: March 5, 2018, 5pm EST
  • Interviews conducted: March 2018
  • Applicant chosen and notified: April 2018
  • Start Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
  • End Date: Friday, August 3, 2018

Any questions should be submitted in writing to No phone calls please.

2018 PNPI Summer Scholar Application

Check out our video below to hear last year’s scholars share their reflections on their PNPI experience!