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Pollution Prevention (P2) Internships: Program Costs
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Getting Started - Scope of the Program
Recruiting Students
Recruiting Internship Clients
Technical Assistance and Support
Internship Tasks
Student Training
Program Costs
Measuring the Impact of the Internships
Where to go for Help
Complete List of Links

Student internship programs have a number of costs, including compensation to the students for their work, the cost of the training, the costs for promoting the program, and the cost of providing mentor or supervisory support for interns. Other cost factors that need to be considered for some programs include the costs for college credit hours, housing, meals, and travel. Whether these costs are borne by the student or the program varies. For student interns that are participating in a program that is offered by a different university than the one they normally attend, housing and travel expenses may be more significant.

In many cases, P2 internship programs are partially supported through federal grants and state funds. For example, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) originally piloted a Green Engineering Internship Program in partnership with Clarkson University for graduate- and doctoral-level students at that university. Because of the success of that Program, NYS DEC expanded it to be a more general P2 internship program for all college-level students attending multiple universities. NYS DEC was able to utilize funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to get this "re-vamped" internship program started in the summer of 2008.

The Southwest Ohio P2 Internship Program receives program funding through an EPA Region 5 grant. The P2 Hospitality Program in Erie County, New York and the P2 Healthcare Program in Wisconsin also use Regional EPA funding to train student interns and provide them with the materials necessary to conduct P2 assessments in their respective business sectors.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) funds the salaries for student interns participating in Michigan's Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program's (RETAP) P2 Internship Program out of the Agency's budget. Their students are compensated based on their class standing and work experience.

Some programs share the program costs with the clients where the interns are placed. For example, the Pollution Prevention Institute (PPI) at Kansas State University, which compensates student interns at a rate of at least $14.00 per hour for their work, shares these wage costs with the participating businesses.16 Host companies participating in the P2 Internship Program sponsored by the University of Missouri Environmental Assistance Center (MOEAC) are required to match the student intern wages up to $3,080 ($7.00 per hour based on 40 hours per week for 11 weeks).17 The Southwest Ohio P2 Internship Program also requires participating businesses to pay 25 percent of the interns' salary. 18

Under New Hampshire's Pollution Prevention Internship (P2I) Program the costs of sponsoring an intern, which is estimated at $7,500 for the ten-week period, are funded by EPA Region 1 grant funds with additional support from the host company, estimated at $6,000 per intern.19 This cost covers all of the overhead for training the intern, a stipend for their work, administrative support activities, and technical assistance/oversight provided by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) and University of New Hampshire (UNH). For most of the internships, there are opportunities for a company to co-sponsor an intern and share financial responsibility.

As stated previously, Nebraska's Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) Internship Program requires an intensive two week training period for all interns. The costs associated with this training, including meals and housing for the students, are funded by the Program and were approximately $1,000 per student on average in 2001.20 The tuition costs associated with the three-hour course credits are also paid for by the Program, as are the monetary stipends interns receive for their work, which was nearly $6,000 on average in 2007.21 Depending on the type of assistance needed, the company may be required to pay a portion of these costs. For example, businesses participating as "industrial" facilities, in which the student works at the facility and is supervised by the company's staff, finance at least half of the intern's stipend. Students placed in the other groups ("non-profit or public agency," "industrial consulting," and "small business") work more closely with the P3 Internship Program staff and sometimes even work out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) offices; therefore, the costs associated with these interns are borne solely by the P3 Internship Program.

Illinois' P2 Internship Program funds 100 percent of the intern's salary for first-year companies. The cost ranges from $2,100 to $2,700 per student for the three-month period.22 However, they reduce their cost-share for companies requesting interns over multiple years. For example, if the same company requests an intern for a second year, that company needs to pay 50 percent of the intern's salary while the other 50 percent is funded by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). However, with funding for this program continually declining, IEPA acknowledges that they may have to ask for additional cost-sharing for first-time companies in the future.

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) funds the majority of their P2 Internship Program, including the costs of recruiting and hiring the interns, staff salary expenses, and the interns' salaries. MnTAP interns work a maximum of 536 hours over the course of the summer and are paid $8.35 per hour by MnTAP. In addition, the host company provides a cost-share of $2,500, which is a stipend paid to the interns upon the successful completion of the project.23 MnTAP has continued with this cost-sharing method for the past few years, and is generally able to fund six to eight internship projects a year.

Overall, the costs of a P2 internship program are small when compared to the cost savings that can be achieved by the companies. The relative cost of these internship programs for states are also small when considering the measureable environmental outcomes achieved per dollar spent. These programs are efficient and effective at capturing environmental and financial outcome data, as described in the "Measuring the Impact of the Internship" section.


16 Kansas State University PPI Website:
17 Missouri Business Application Letter: [PDF]
18 Southwest Ohio P2 Internship Program Website:
19 New Hampshire DES P2 Internship Program Website:
20 Dvorak, Bruce I., et al. "Nebraska Pollution Prevention Project: Engineering Education through Technical Assistance." Environmental Quality Management. Spring 2003.
21 University of Nebraska - Lincoln P3 Program Website:
22 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency:
23 Minnesota Technical Assistance Program Student Intern Website:


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Pollution Prevention (P2) Internships Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 10/8/2013