College to Congress Statement on House Internship Program Regulations

 
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Interim regulations important first step to a more diverse staff pipeline

March 13, 2019 -  Today, College to Congress founder and CEO Audrey Henson issued the following statement in response to the Committee on House Administration's Interim Regulations Governing House Paid Internships. In 2018, Congress passed a budget allocating $8.8 million for internship funding, however, congressional offices have not issued funds due to lack of guidance.

“I am thrilled that congressional offices can now issue stipends and all students have a chance to start their careers in Congress, not simply those who can afford the opportunity,” said Audrey Henson. “While an important first step, notably missing from the regulations was guidance on identifying and recruiting potential interns. Since the announcement of the House Internship Program, College to Congress has regularly communicated with the Committee and shared how we are effectively building a pipeline of future staffers who reflect the full political and socioeconomic diversity of America. We plan to publish a guide with our best practices for congressional offices.”

Approximately 32% of undergraduates receive Pell Grants. Unpaid and low-paid internships are a concrete barrier to entry for these talented, high-achieving students with a passion for public service but who lack the access and means to do so. College to Congress provides fully funded internships to Pell Grant and other students with financial need to intern with a Member of Congress. In addition, College to Congress interns participate in a weekly leadership series and a bipartisan mentorship program in which they are matched with a mentor from across the aisle.

Audrey Henson is a former congressional intern who took out a student loan and worked two part-time jobs to afford her unpaid internship. She founded College to Congress in 2016 to level the playing field for students from similar low-income backgrounds. Interns serve a key role in congressional offices and an internship is often a prerequisite experience to becoming a full time staffer.  To date, the organization partners with over 60 Members of Congress and has provided fully funded internships for 17 students. Their work has been covered by The New York Times and Vox.  College to Congress will announce recipients of its 2019 summer scholarship in the coming weeks.

About College to Congress: College to Congress (C2C) is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and leadership training for low-income, high achieving college students seeking internships in Congress. To be eligible, applicants must be undergraduate students who qualify to receive Federal Pell Grants or demonstrate other financial need. College to Congress helps these students secure hard-to-get Congressional internships and covers all the costs associated with the summer internship including travel, housing, meals, and even professional wardrobe. The program also matches interns with experienced Capitol Hill staffers from the opposite political party to build bipartisan relationships. To learn more please click here

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Audrey Henson