Cornell University

Overview for Students

If you want to create your own summer internship experience, you might be eligible to be paid through Federal Work Study funds! DYO employers must be non-profits outside of Tompkins County, or small for-profit companies within the United States. You and the employer each complete an application for the DYO program and, if approved, the employer can be reimbursed for a significant portion of your summer wages. It's a great hiring incentive!

For support designing an internship that suits your needs, you can contact 607-255-5296 and ask for an appointment with Mia Ferraina, the career advisor who coordinates the program. You can discuss ways to find potential employers, how to create an agreement with the employer, calculating hourly wages, etc.

COVID-19 UPDATE 4/28/20

The program has been approved for Summer 2020 Federal Work Study Funds. Please note that internships may take place in person, virtually, or not at all. While Cornell can provide funding, ultimate responsibility for whether and how the internship takes place lies with the employer.

Student Eligibility

  • Must be Federal Work-Study (FWS) eligible.
  • Returning to Cornell as an undergraduate (or participating in affiliated academic programs off-campus, such as study abroad) in the fall semester following employment.
  • Cannot be registered for 6 or more credit hours of summer classes.

Note: Because your eligibility for FWS may change each year, you must submit a new student DYO application every year. Your funding is NOT automatically renewed even if you are rehired by the same employer. Employers must also complete a new DYO funding request application annually.

Job or Internship Eligibility

  • Internship/job must be career-related or academically relevant.
  • Internship must be with a non-profit outside of Tompkins County OR a small for-profit employer
    • Note: Weill Cornell is permitted to be a DYO employer
    • If you are looking to work for a non-profit organization within Tompkins County, please refer to the Community Work Study Program for these opportunities.
  • The job must be located in the United States.
  • Employment must be for at least 35 hours per week.
  • Position must last 8—10 weeks during the summer employment period
    • Summer 2020 employment period: 5/21/20 - 8/12/20
    • The employer is responsible for covering 100% of any wages earned if the student works outside of this employment period.
  • If your internship is remote/virtual, you must have regular supervision via phone, Skype, or in-person meetings.
  • Employer must pay an hourly wage equal to or greater than local, state, or federal minimum wage (whichever is higher).
    • Stipends or commission-based salaries will not be reimbursed.
    • There is also no reimbursement for lunchtime, holidays, sick days, transportation, or other compensation.

Employer/Organization Restrictions

Due to Federal and/or Cornell regulations, jobs/employers with the following characteristics are NOT permitted:

  • medium - large sized for-profit company with multiple worksites
  • organizations with direct religious or partisan political affiliation
  • lobbying organization (or lobbying function within an organization)
  • employing organization that restricts its membership
  • U.S. Department of Education or U.S. Department of Justice
  • employing organization that is student-led or run by a student or recent graduate (supervisor must be a seasoned professional)
  • Note: DYO also does not fund students working for their own family-owned business


Your employer can be reimbursed for wages paid up to your total FWS award amount (typically $4,000). The DYO employer pays the student as wages are earned through their payroll system, and Cornell reimburses the employer in the fall (usually by the middle of November) for a percentage of the student's summer wages.

All earnings are considered taxable income and must be paid through an established payroll system (i.e., on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, no cash payments, personal checks, stipends, or lump sum payments). Students must be paid by the employer and not through a temporary employment agency that "places" them with the employer, nor by a personal check of your supervisor. If your employer fails to withhold the appropriate State, Federal, and FICA taxes, you will be responsible for claiming your gross income from the job on your income tax return and the employer will forfeit the wage reimbursement.

When considering DYO opportunities, remember to plan for your summer earnings component of your financial-aid package. Detailed information is available at

Both students and employers must submit the required forms and materials to be considered for the program. View "Forms" (in the right side navigation bar) to apply.

Quick questions? Email