Illinois Cooperative Work Study Grant

Illinois Cooperative Work Study Grant

The Illinois Cooperative Work Study Grant (ICWS) is a program that matches employer contributions to provide pay for student interns.

The grant is designed to provide financial assistance to students who complete internships that would typically remain unpaid, such as through nonprofit organizations and small businesses. In turn, employers are able to offer paid internships and to recruit students who may desire, or even need, a paid internship. Benefits of the grant include expanding internship opportunities, reducing student loan reliance, and encouraging permanent employment in Illinois.

Information for Employers

Information for Students


Because this grant is administered by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, only full-time UIS students who are Illinois residents can participate. The matching grant money is always dependent upon renewal of the grant and available monies.

Step 1

Complete the ICWS Request form.  Additionally, submit (via the ICWS Request form) or email (to the ICWS Internship Experience and Skills Description Form no later than 5:00 PM Friday, August 7th.

Step 2

Resumes of qualified UIS students seeking internship opportunities will be sent via email starting Monday, August 3rd.

Step 3

Employers should interview student candidates between Monday, August 3rd and Friday, August 14th.  Signed agreement between employer, UIS, and student must be submitted to the IPL office by 5:00 PM, August 20th.

Once a student intern has been hired, the employer enters a contract with UIS, agreeing to pay UIS the employer portion of the student’s wages (there are options available for terminating the contract if the student is not a good fit for the organization). Employers are not financially committed until they have actually selected an intern and signed a contract.

The employer financially commits to provide $6 per hour for the intern’s pay. This is matched by $6 of monies from the grant, bringing the student’s internship wage to $12 per hour. In addition, the employer must pay a flat $5 fee (total) for Worker’s Compensation.

  • Employer financial commitment examples:
    • 150-hour internship (about 10 hours/week during semester)
      • $6 x 150 hours = $900 + $5 = $905 total
    • 300-hour internship (about 20 hours/week during semester)
      • $6 x 300 hours = $1800 + $5 = $1805 total

The students will be paid through UIS as UIS Student Assistants and, therefore, the employer is not responsible for payroll costs.

Students will also complete a course application form to register for course credit through UIS.



Students who hold full-time status and are Illinois residents (see definition below) are eligible for grant-funded paid internships.  Students also must be eligible to enroll in IPL 300, having completed the prerequisites of the course.  Check with your academic advisor or IPL if you are unsure of your eligibility.

Part-time and non-Illinois resident students may still apply for internship positions, but the internship may be unpaid, depending on the organization’s needs.

  1. Eligible students who are interested in a grant-funded positions should complete the ICWS student form by 5:00 PM Thursday, August 6th.  Note that you will need to have an updated resume ready to upload to this form.  For resume assistance, please contact the Career Development Center.
  2. Once approved, your resume will be shared with employers who are interested in hiring students from your academic background.  Note that hiring for a grant-funded position is NOT guaranteed, so you should continue to apply for internships outside of this process.
  3. If offered a grant-funded internship, IPL will guide you to complete the paperwork and register for the IPL 300 course.

IL resident definition: “To qualify as an Illinois resident student, one of the following two requirements must be met: At least one parent, step-parent, or court appointed guardian must reside in Illinois; or The emancipated (self-supporting) student must have lived in Illinois, in some capacity other than as a student at an Illinois public or nonpublic institution of higher education, for a period of 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the enrollment.”

Note: The positions for ICWS are paid through a matching grant, which means that pay depends on the budget of the partnering agency and availability of grant funds.  Positions are not guaranteed to be available or paid.  The contact for each agency/business and an IPL Coordinator can provide you with more information.