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Think Housing: Internship & Co-op Options

You’ve landed an awesome internship offer— yet there’s one obstacle, it’s not where you currently live, you don’t have a place to live or even know where to begin to find housing. If you will be moving out of the Columbus area or away from a hometown for a position, you may want to consider housing options before signing an offer.

Housing is an additional benefit that some employers offer, and housing assistance may come in many different forms including some of the following examples:

  • Company furnished, fully paid housing: a place to live with furniture and sometimes utilities included; this would be the ideal situation. The housing factor is completely handled – you just need to move you and your personal belongings!
  • Housing stipend: a fixed monthly rate typically taxed
  • Increase in wage: employer increases your hourly wage to adjust for your housing needs
  • Relocation bonus: a one-time payment to help pay for your relocation including finding housing, usually taxed
  • Housing placement coordinator or realtor: a service provided by the employer to help find housing for your work term
  • Company subsidized housing: the company provides housing options to you at a lower rate than what would normally be charged

In 2014, approximately 56% of students that reported internships or co-ops to ECS received housing benefits (a variety of those listed above were reported by students).  In 2014, $400 to $600 per month for housing was the range most commonly offered.

With any decision, it is always helpful to weigh the pros and cons. Every experience for each individual means something different. Consider the following when moving for an internship or co-op:

  • Total internship or co-op offer: salary, tangible and intangible benefits, relocation fees, paid housing, development opportunity, professional experience, etc.
  • Housing market costs: Is the apartment furnished? Your school housing contract may be a 12-month lease. Will you have to pay for your school apartment and pay for the new housing contract? Are there housing contracts in the new area for a month-to-month rent?
  • Cost of livingCNN Money Cost-of-Living Calculator will help you understand how much it may cost to live in a different city compared to another city
  • Local cultureUS City Guide will provide additional information on the city’s norms
  • Your daily commute: Will you need to bring a car to your location? Will the company provide a rental car? Will you need to use public transportation?
  • Travel expenses to your new work location: Are you being reimbursed to drive to your location? Some employers pay employees who are using their privately owned vehicle (POV) mileage reimbursement rates. For 2016, the rate per mile is $0.54
  • Utility fees including start up fees and monthly contracts: Will you need Wi-Fi, television, electric, and/or gas? Are you able to get these services on a month-to-month basis?
  • Application fees for apartment complexes
  • Career benefits of this opportunity: Does this company use their intern / co-op opportunities to source for their full time needs? What’s the company’s intern to full time rate?

Internship and co-op relocation is for a couple of months, but how you shape your beginning experiences may impact your full-time opportunities once you graduate.

"What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team." 
-Benjamin F. Fairless

About the author

Lauren Verhoff

Lauren Verhoff is a Graduate Administrative Associate with Engineering Career Services.