We define the program broadly to include as many opportunities as possible. Work in federal, state, and local government and with an existing not-for-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status qualifies for SPIF. Please note that funds are not available for judicial clerkships since this opportunity is broadly available to Yale students after graduation without prior clerkship experience. However, 1L students who are non-U.S. citizens are eligible to receive SPIF funding for volunteer summer internships with U.S. federal judges during their 1L summer since they have very few opportunities to clerk after graduation. Because of the University’s 501(c)(3) status, SPIF funds are not available for work on political campaigns. For positions outside the United States, it is impossible to define a precise eligibility standard, but in general, governmental entities and those entities that would be 501(c)(3) organizations if they were located in the United States will qualify. Other work, such as legal work for unions or public interest law firms, may qualify, but you should not assume that it does absent an affirmative ruling by the Financial Aid Office. All eligible employers must also comply with the Law School’s Nondiscrimination Policy. For instructions on confirming organization compliance, please see here. To guide your job search and selection process, you may request an advisory ruling on whether the organization qualifies by giving the Financial Aid Office a description of the organization. Particular positions are eligible provided that the organization does not pay other similarly-situated summer interns and that the work is public interest in nature.
Example 1: Research assistants generally are not eligible for SPIF because most universities pay other research assistants.
Example 2: If Government Agency XYZ has a policy that it will pay summer interns who are 2Ls, but not those who are 1Ls, 1L interns would be eligible for SPIF.
Student eligibility for the program is based on demonstrated financial need.
- Students who are receiving financial aid scholarships from the Law School;
- Students who have completed the 2022-2023 FAFSA and have demonstrated financial need. The 2022-2023 FAFSA will calculate the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and if this number is at or below the total cost-of-attendance, a student is eligible to receive SPIF funds (refer to the Student Aid Report (SAR).
Students may receive SPIF funding for two summers. Funding is not available for the summer after graduation.
Joint degree students must be enrolled in the Law School for either the semester before or the semester after the summer fellowship to qualify.
Financing Your Public Interest Summer Information Session
Recorded financial aid presentation on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. The presentation included details of the process and eligibility requirements for summer funding.
Please Note: If a student does not automatically qualify for summer grant assistance, the student can submit a 2023 SPIF Supplemental Form for further consideration. The student will be notified if they are deemed eligible for funding based on information provided on the SPIF Supplemental Form. In addition, if a student's budget allows, borrowing additional loans can be an option. These loans are eligible to be covered by COAP, our loan forgiveness program, after graduation.
Summer public interest work is such an important and valuable experience for Yale students so the Law School has guaranteed that a SPIF fellowship will be at least $8,000 (pro-rated at $666.66 per week for up to 12 weeks). Students who receive outside funding from grants, stipends from their public interest employer, additional jobs, etc., should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine if the additional income will impact SPIF eligibility. In most cases, part-time work will not impact a SPIF award.
Please note that you may only receive a total of 12 weeks of funding from the Law School for SPIF, Schell, Linkages or other Law School programs. Students who split the summer between a public interest organization and a private law firm, generally are not eligible for SPIF funding because the earnings will be more than the $8,000 maximum allowed summer budget.
The process of applying for SPIF has a two-part application process:
SPIF Part 1 will be due on February 15, 2023.
Students will submit an online form to indicate interest in participation. You do not need to have a job in order to complete SPIF Part 1. Part 1 will determine eligibility, it is not a commitment. If Part 1 is deemed eligible, student will receive instructions for SPIF Part 2.
SPIF Part 2 due March 15, 2023. Eligible students will complete online form to confirm employer, number of weeks working, and letter from employer confirming position, number of weeks, and non-profit status.
TO UPLOAD REQUIRED EMPLOYER LETTER, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
If you cannot meet these deadlines, please contact the Financial Aid Office to make alternate arrangements—otherwise you will not be eligible for SPIF funding.
For those seeking Schell Center Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships, please contact Schell Center at (203) 432-7480 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those seeking Schell Center Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships for international human rights work MUST complete the SPIF Part 1 form AND must complete the Schell Summer Fellowship Application.
SPIF Funds will be electronically deposited to the student's bank account via Zelle beginning the first week of May, 2023. If a paper check is preferred, the check will be mailed to the student. Please note, paper checks may delay receipt of funding.
TAXES and SPIF:
Summer SPIF stipends are not subject to tax withholdings and will be paid in one lump sum. Students will receive a 1099-MISC form from Yale University for SPIF income at the beginning of the calendar year. If the student is required to file a federal or state tax return, the stipend must be reported. It is the student's responsibility to consult with a tax advisor or IRS Topic 421 for any questions about the tax liabilities of SPIF summer funding.