Cornell University

Overview for Students

If you wish to work for an organization/agency outside of Tompkins County for the summer, you can be paid through Federal Work Study funds. You and the employer complete an application for the DYO program and, if approved, the employer can be reimbursed for a significant portion of your summer wages. This program can be 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 3/27/20
We are continuing to support students and employers in creating customized internships through the DYO Program. However, given the frequently changing government regulations, we CAN NOT guarantee that funds will still be available this year.

At this time, we plan to move forward as normal until summer guidance becomes more clear. The Summer 2020 Application is now open. Please continue to check back at this page for updates.

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 nonprofit OR with a small for-profit employer off-campus (one exception: Weill Cornell is permitted to be a DYO employer)
  • 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.
  • If your internship is "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