The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides regulatory guidance for internships and volunteers at public sector organizations such as Texas A&M University. The following information was developed to assist departments on the topics of interns (both paid and unpaid) and volunteers.
- Paid Interns
- Texas A&M University departments may hire interns on a paid basis following the same process for hiring any student worker position. The Student Intern Title/Description should be used.
- Individuals hired as paid Student Interns must complete a criminal background and follow pay rates and other requirements.
- Unpaid Interns and Volunteers
- Departments should proceed carefully if a student asks to be an unpaid (volunteer) intern. Federal law provides a limited scope for volunteers at Texas A&M, and is very important that departments follow federal law and System regulation with respect to volunteers and interns.
Here are some key aspects of compliance:
- Employees may not volunteer to do their own jobs nor activities closely related to their own jobs.
- Generally speaking, students may perform voluntary work through student organizations and related activities.
- However, students may not work for Texas A&M as a volunteer, with the exception of unpaid internships which are part of their degree requirements and for which the student will receive course credit. Further details and criteria regarding unpaid internships are:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
In all other circumstances, people may volunteer to work at the University only for civic, humanitarian or charitable purposes. Please note that for volunteers who are not Texas A&M employees or students, it may be difficult to arrange computer access.
Student Intern and Volunteer Waiver forms, once completed, are retained in the department as documentation of the volunteer status.
- Background Checks
- Student Interns and Volunteers must complete a criminal background check Criminal Background Check Request Form
- International Students and Individuals – Special Considerations
- International students must comply with certain requirements for internships and other on-campus employment.
Contact International Student Services for more information.