Frequently Asked Questions

We know that you have questions! For this reason, we created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section to help answer some of the most common that we receive. We hope this helps!

What is HACU and HNIP?

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was established in 1986 with a founding membership of eighteen institutions.  Because of HACU’s exemplary leadership on behalf of the nation’s youngest and fastest-growing population, the Association rapidly grew in numbers and national impact.

Today, HACU represents more than 400 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the US, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal.  Although our member institutions in the US represent less than 10% of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students.  HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

The HACU National Internship Program (HNIP)

Since 1992 the HACU National Internship Program (HNIP) has recruited college students for paid summer- and semester-long internships at federal agencies and private corporations in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. These ten and fifteen-week internship programs give college students direct experience in a diverse array of careers in the federal and corporate sectors.

HNIP has placed over 10,000 college students in rewarding and challenging internships matching their majors and career goals. Interns have enhanced their professional skills through placements in departments of public affairs, accounting, human resources and information technology, as well as laboratories, hospitals, airports, and national forests and parks, among others. Some intern assignments have included completing and analyzing research, writing speeches, conducting audits, performing land surveys, creating web pages, conducting community health surveys and developing outreach strategies for under-served populations.

Participating agencies and corporations hope to increase diversity in their workforce by providing these internships to high-achieving Hispanic students.  This creates a pipeline of future employees who have had positive and meaningful work experience.

Can I apply to the program if my institution is not a HACU member?

Yes, any individual can apply to the program, regardless if their college or university is not a HACU member institution.

I am not Hispanic, can I still participate in the program?

Yes, in accordance with state and federal law, HACU will not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment because of race, disability, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, veteran status, or non-job related factors.

Who pays for my travel expenses?

For federal interns, HACU pays for round-trip airfare.  If you wish to drive, HACU will reimburse you for pre-approved expenses (not to exceed the cost of a ticket purchased through our travel agency).  Original receipts must be provided.

Corporations will work with corporate interns to make travel arrangements whenever applicable

Does HACU pay for my housing?

HACU does not pay for housing.  Federal interns who choose HACU-arranged housing will have their total rent for the entire 10 or 15-week internship equally divided and deducted from their bi-weekly paychecks.  Corporate interns will arrange housing with the help of their sponsors.  All HACU interns can choose to arrange their own housing and manage payments on their own.

We understand that relocating to a new city and new surroundings can be difficult and can be an impediment to completing an internship. With that in mind, HACU helps make housing arrangements solely to facilitate the internship experience and does not profit from the housing arrangements we make.   

If I have family or friends in the area of my internship, can I live with them instead?

Yes. Interns have the option of making their own housing arrangements.  If you choose this option, we will ask you to tell us as soon as you are accepted for an internship and to provide us with the address and phone number of where you will be staying

Can I start my internship before the official start date or leave before the program ends?

Unfortunately, our program dates are not very flexible.  Interns are required to attend orientation and work through the last day of the program.  If you foresee any conflicts with our program dates, please notify our office immediately.

Do I have to attend orientation if I have already interned with HNIP?

Because each session's orientation is different, we require that our interns attend orientation, regardless of their previous experience with HNIP. 

Can I participate in the spring session if I am graduating in December?

Most of our internships are reserved for current students who must demonstrate that they are enrolled in a higher education institution working towards a degree and that you have not graduated.

Some agencies like the Library of Congress, USDA, VA, Department of Interior and a few others allow recent graduates to participate as long as they complete their internship within a year of graduation.

When I applied for the summer session, I was a junior. Now that the school year is over, my school considers me a senior. Will I be paid as a junior or senior during my internship?

Your pay rate is determined by your class level at the time you submitted your application. If you indicated that you were enrolled as a undergraduate on your Enrollment Verification, you will be paid as a undergraduate.  If you can demonstrate a change in class level through a revised enrollment verification form before the start of the internship session, we will honor the new classification.

I will be graduating this May and I plan on attending graduate school this fall. Will I be paid as a graduate student this summer?

No. Your pay rate is determined by your class level at the time you submitted your application.

I am a summer intern who will also be participating in the fall program. Will my pay rate increase?

In order for the pay rate increase to come into effect, you must submit a new Enrollment Verification to verify your change in class level.

I have already graduated with my degree (associates, bachelors, masters, etc.) and have been accepted for another degree program. Can I participate if I have been accepted but not yet enrolled?

Most of our internship opportunities are for current students.  However, a select number of federal agencies already accept recent graduates.  Starting January 2016,  recent graduates can apply to our program if you participate within 12 months of your graduation.  Instead of providing a certification of enrollment form, you will upload a copy of your certificate of graduation or a copy of your conferred degree.  A select number of federal agencies will allow recent graduates to participate.

If you wish to be considered for opportunities for current students, you may apply for the internship program as long as you can provide proof of enrollment in a degree-seeking program at a U.S. accredited institution. You must do this by either having your registrar complete the HACU-issued Enrollment Verification OR issue their own enrollment verification.

If there are organizations that I would prefer to work with, should I mention it in my essay?

We suggest that you write about the work that you would ultimately like to accomplish in an internship rather than specific organizations at which you would like to work. In doing so, you keep your options open and will not miss out on a perfect match between your own goals and those of varying agencies. Internship positions in human resources, accounting, policy, and public relations, to name just a few, are available at most of our partner organizations.  Additionally, our funding from sponsoring federal agencies will vary from year to year so it is best to keep your essay focused on the skills you bring and career field of interest.

Can I choose the location of my internship?

While we constantly get new intern requests from around the country, we typically place two-thirds of students in the Washington, DC, area.  Though you can request on your application to be placed in a certain state or city, such as your hometown, you will be dramatically reducing your chances of being selected for an internship.

Are there other options outside of HACU-arranged housing available in DC?

Non HACU-Arranged Housing for DC Interns

If you choose to arrange housing on your own, we suggest that you consider the following items:

  • safety
  • mass transit accessibility
  • proximity to work site--estimated commute times can be determined at
  • proximity to grocery stores/pharmacies/shops/etc.

The following list of options is provided to make your search for alternative housing easier. The universities listed are all within the District of Columbia, Metro accessible, and provide housing in line with our summer program dates. Keep in mind that many of these universities have off-campus housing managed by private owners that may offer more affordable options.

Disclaimer: This information is provided by the vendor or retrieved from promotional materials. HACU can make no expressed or implied warranties, promises, or representations regarding the condition, safety, suitability, or desirability of the housing arrangements and/or property and HACU hereby expressly disclaims any and all implied or expressed warranties, promises, or representations regarding the condition, safety, suitability, desirability, or any other aspect of the property or housing arrangements.

HACU-Arranged Housing for DC Interns

You are free to make housing arrangements on your own, but as a convenience to you, HACU can also secure housing for you. Typical housing arrangements in DC are a 2BR apartment shared amongst 4 interns or a 3BR apartment shared amongst 6 interns. We anticipate that each intern will pay about $840 per month or $210 per week or $30 per day. The rent would be deducted from your bi-weekly paycheck. If you chose to move out during the program, the rent would still be deducted.


  • No upfront costs (e.g. security deposits, administrative fees, first month’s rent, cable/phone installation charges)
  • No credit checks
  • No need to research the area
  • Fully furnished with pots and pans, dinnerware, and linens
  • Close to public transportation and grocery stores
  • Placement with other HACU interns matched according to personal habits indicated on the housing agreement

Please understand that you have limited time to complete the Intern Agreement from the time you accept your internship. On the agreement you must decide if you would like HACU to arrange housing for you or if you'd prefer to arrange housing on your own. The agreement, once submitted, is final and cannot be changed so please consider your housing preference carefully.

Where do I send my enrollment verification and transcripts?

Please DO NOT mail these documents to our office. Instead, you must scan your documents and upload them in PDF format to your application. Most school libraries or computer labs have scanners available for student use, but if yours does not, you can also find these resources at any office resources store that offers printing/copying services.

I already submitted my application, but I want to upload a new version of my resume.

Our application system generates a resume from your education, work history, technical skills, volunteer activities, and affiliations.  Once submitted, you cannot make changes to those sections.  If the application deadline has not passed for a particular session and you would still like to make changes, please contact or 202-467-0893 so that HNIP staff can place your application back in our "In Progress" pool.  You will then be able to make changes and remember to resubmit your application.