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Institute of Politics Introduces New Fall 2020 Stipend Program

The Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School unveiled a new stipend program.
The Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School unveiled a new stipend program. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Sixiao Yu, Crimson Staff Writer

The Institute of Politics began accepting applications for its new Fall 2020 Stipend Program to fund undergraduates pursuing jobs in politics and public service this semester.

The new addition to the IOP’s programming is meant to offer students financial support for term-time experiences and “allow flexibility” during the COVID-19 pandemic, per the IOP’s website.

Students must be enrolled in Harvard College to be eligible from the program. They must also secure their own remote internships, although the IOP provided a list of resources to help with the search on their website.

The stipend program will provide $1250 for 100 hours of work during the fall semester, and it will “strongly consider” students’ level of financial need.

According to IOP President Amariah L. “Mari” Jones ’21, the “unprecedented nature of this pandemic” prompted student leaders at the IOP to institute the stipend program to “meet this moment in history.”

“Our new Fall 2020 Stipend Program was developed by a cohort of student leaders to help our classmates who are disproportionately feeling the burden of the pandemic by providing financial assistance for internships in public service during term-time,” Jones wrote in an emailed statement. “The IOP's mission is rooted in inspiring students to seek careers in politics and public service.”

Mark D. Gearan ’78, director of the IOP, wrote in a statement that the Institute is “proud of [its] longstanding support of students pursuing summer internship opportunities in politics and public service.”

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in the spring, the IOP quickly transitioned its summer programs into remote formats, allowing more than 175 students to participate in virtual public service internships, according to Gearan.

Over the summer, undergraduates served as interns at national nonprofit organizations like the ACLU and Black Voters Matter, as well as in the offices of elected officials including Atlanta Mayor Keisha L. Bottoms and U.S. Representative Elise M. Stefanik ’06. Two-thirds of these students indicated in an IOP survey that they plan to continue working with their host organization after the summer.

The Fall 2020 Stipend program will “allow Harvard College students to continue these efforts or take on new opportunities in the most pressing issues facing civil society — COVID-19 response, advocating for social and racial justice, and the 2020 election,” Gearan wrote.

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2020 Stipend Program is Sept. 1.

—Staff writer Sixiao Yu can be reached at

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