Author: benw

All Internships Should be Paid

CON (3 arguments)


1: “I'm here give you the inside scoop on internships. As a college student, I've completed a ton of internships. Whether an internship is paid, for credit, unpaid or not-for-credit doesn't change its value. Internships are investments in your future.” - Amber Shiflett, Marketing Intern

2: “Paid internships and unpaid internships literally have the same effect in the long run.” -Rachel Gillett one of the heads of a internship hiring program.



We define unpaid internships as legal internships that are not paid. These internships must follow the six main rules from the DOL, which includes the fact that ‘the employer should not benefit from the work the intern is doing.


Weighing Mechanism:

The resolution states that all internships should be paid. We think that most should be paid, but some shouldn’t. If we can show that any unpaid internship is beneficial, we should win this debate.

1. Companies can’t afford to pay all of their interns.

There are a lot of regulations that ensure internships are different from paid work. According to US News, regulations ensure that internships must be educational, shouldn’t directly benefit the employer, aren’t a tryout period, and don’t displace existing workers, among other requirements. This makes sure that internships are fair and teach students their jobs. However, as these internships are not directly benefiting the employer, it is hard for employers to pay interns. Companies have to make a profit, and it is hard to do that if they are paying interns, especially when the intern sometimes messes up and loses money. This is important because it is in the students’ best interests to have these internships, and if most companies would not be willing/cannot pay their interns, that would result in a drastic decline of internship abilities, which are crucial to education about specific jobs.


If all internships had to be paid, companies would employ less interns. According to Inside Sources, an estimated 500,000-to-1 million unpaid interns are employed annually, and there wouldn’t be enough paid internships to go around if unpaid internships were banned. There are also 400,000 paid interns a year. Furthermore, NACE's latest intern compensation report found that the average paid intern makes about $16.30 an hour. That means it would cost companies a collective total of about 22.9 million dollars AN HOUR to employ all interns. According to Western Michigan University, an intern is supposed to work 40 hours a week. That means it would cost companies more than 47 trillion dollars a year to employ all these interns. That's more than double the US debt. Judge, clearly it is impossible to pay all interns. It would cost a ridiculous amount of money, and companies couldn’t afford it.

Impact: Many companies cannot afford to pay their interns a salary. Instead, they teach them how to perform their job properly. If companies were required to pay interns, they would not be able to employ as many interns. As a result, fewer college students could actually get jobs as interns, and most students would be less well prepared for their later jobs.


US News

2. Students do not get paid for going to school and taking classes, therefore their internships should not be paid.

According to the Washington Post, Internships are done for school credit, and for gaining knowledge, most often through schools. “The training received at the office or business site of the internship should be similar to the training/education received in the classroom. Therefore, college credit is often provided to students in lieu of actual payment.” - Washington Post. It is unreasonable for companies to take on the burden of students who are supposedly doing this for their educational benefit, and have to pay for them.


Employers of interns go out of their way to take the time to educate interns. Employers expend more time and effort training interns than they do entry-level employees. This is a key difference between an intern and an entry-level employee. Interns are students.When interns make mistakes, the employer discusses with them at length the situation, why it was a mistake, what would be a better choice, and helps educate the intern. When employees make mistakes, they may get fired. Having the responsibility of training an intern requires additional time and effort on the employer’s part to fill out necessary paperwork. More than just filling out forms, employers draft thoughtful evaluations of the student’s performance and improvement over time. These evaluations are submitted to the intern’s college or university. For instance, for an internship to be legal, It’s for the benefit of the intern, The intern doesn’t displace paid employees, The employer doesn’t benefit from work the intern is doing, “and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.” and more. The thing to take away is the last one, that interns may impede operations and doesn't benefit from the interns.

Students are not forced to do internships, yet by doing so they reap the benefits of potential college recommendations, first hand job experience, etc. Internships are one method of learning, as they are most often done for some sort of school credit, therefore they should not be paid. It is best for both the interns, as they many opportunities to have employers who are willing to spend time explaining things to them, and for the employers, who already put a lot of work into developing interns and do not have to pay.

3. Some unpaid internships are really beneficial towards the intern and making the employer pay them would be really unfair.

Interns choose to work as interns, and they do it because they think it will benefit them. For instance, in Houston,  there is a company called Genesys Works an organization that trains underprivileged high school seniors — many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college — to work as IT interns.  For example, Francess Kargbo, a senior at Mount Vernon High School, said she was apprehensive about her internship with Genesys Works, which assigned her to the information technology department of international commercial law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Her only previous work experience was at Taco Bell, and the 17-year-old from the Alexandria section of Fairfax County had no experience in IT. She said she worried she was not smart enough. But after her first couple of days on the job last week, she said she felt like she had a place. “I fit in really comfortably,” Kargbo said. “They make me feel welcome. They’re very kind, and they’re very supportive.” Kargbo, who aspires to be a doctor, said Genesys Works has helped her with her college and scholarship applications. Her parents did not go to college, and she struggled to navigate the complex process. Kargbo said the program already has given her the same kind of boost Robles found. “I had a bad lack of confidence,” Kargbo said. Now, she said, “I can do anything I set my mind to.” Many other unpaid interns have found their time to be very beneficial. While talking about unpaid internships, entrepreneur Zak Slayback stated “from my own experience, being an unpaid intern and working with unpaid interns have been immensely valuable and pleasurable experiences. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren't for my unpaid internships — I got a lot more value from the work experience, the connections, the social capital, and the skills picked up then I got from the fancy research fellowship I had in college one summer or the paid internship I had after graduating from high school.”


In a lot of cases, the intern benefits more from an internship than the employer. In that case, why would it make sense for the employer to pay the intern? Judge, remember, under the framework of this debate, we need to prove that ONE and only one internship should be unpaid. Clearly we have done this and therefore should win this debate.