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by Vault Education Editors | January 26, 2010

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On her blog, WorkingKind, Vickie Elmer has posted a piece about how to balance an unpaid internship with your financial needs. Vault's own Yazad Dalal and I offer some helpful advice in the piece about how to turn an unpaid internship into a paid internship and the non-financial perks that may be included in an unpaid program. Here's what we have to say:

"Talk to the HR Department. Say 'I really can't afford not to be paid for the summer.' They may offer you a stipend or help you out," said Carolyn Wise, editor of the Vault Guide to Top Internships. She started out as an intern at career information company five years ago.

Or the company may provide you with free housing for the summer or other perks, especially if you ask for some assistance, said Yazad Dalal, Vault.com's executive vice president. Among the possibilities I could see asking for are commuting costs, free meals (in the company cafeteria or elsewhere), a tuition reimbursement (if you're earning credit for the work) or equipment such as a laptop or mobile phone.

Another great possibility: Go to your university career center. Almost 48 percent of colleges now offer some form of assistance to those taking unpaid internships, Wise said. Some have grants, tuition reimbursement, scholarships or special funds.

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