Universal Mentors Association

Fewer students complete internships than before COVID-19


Internship participation declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions.

While 26.4 percent of undergraduates completed an internship in the 2019–20 academic year, only 22 percent did so in 2021–22, according to the College Internship Study, a longitudinal study that surveyed 554 students across three predominantly white institutions, three historically Black colleges and universities, and two Hispanic-serving institutions.

Black students participated in internships at a lower rate than the overall student population, dropping from 18.8 percent to 15.3 percent. However, Black and Latino students attending HBCUs and HSIs were more likely than those at predominantly white institutions to hold internships.

Students cited four main reasons they did not participate in internships: 70.9 percent said they did not have access to an internship opportunity, 65.5 percent said they were busy with another job, 60 percent said they had too heavy a course load and 57.6 percent said internships didn’t pay enough.

The report also highlighted the benefits of internships, with respondents who had participated in at least one paid internship having the highest rate of employment after graduation.


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