Summer Intern – Project 1 – Assessing the Financial Impact of Covid-19 on California’s Colleges and Universities

  • Remote
  • Salary: $17.50 an hour

PPIC’s Summer Intern Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students interested in a public policy career to work in a policy research environment. Intern projects are proposed by PPIC researchers and designed around a specific set of tasks and deliverables that can be accomplished within the term of the internship.

The 2021 intern program will be conducted remotely. For consideration, complete your application by February 8, 2021. We expect to make our selection decisions for these projects by the middle of April. No phone calls, please.

Project 1: Assessing the Financial Impact of Covid-19 on California’s Colleges and Universities

Project Directors

Kevin Cook and Radhika Mehlotra

Project Summary

The global pandemic has upended higher education finance in California. Immediately, public four- year colleges faced critical cash flow shortages as students were sent home, instruction was moved online, and revenues from auxiliary enterprises (housing, food, parking, etc.) evaporated. The University of California and California State University systems reported revenue declines of about $600 million and $350 million respectively during the Spring semester of 2020. This project will focus on the pandemic’s impact on institutional finance to better understand how institutions will be able to meet the needs of students going forward. Key questions that will be explored include: What are the projected near-term financial impacts of various recessionary scenarios on UC and CSU institutions? To what extent will state budget reserves and federal stimulus funding be able to mitigate these financial impacts?


The intern for this project would be an active participant in the initial phase of this research. Their duties would include conducting a literature review, compiling and assessing institutional financial data, and conducting basic descriptive analysis. The intern would also participate in regular research team meetings to discuss findings and participate in qualitative analysis and outreach.


The intern for this project should have:

  • Training in education, public policy, sociology, economics, or a related field
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills
  • Experience reading and analyzing research
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and with a team
  • Interest in California education policy

PPIC values the wide variety of backgrounds and experiences of our research staff, and key elements in the consideration of qualified candidates include excellence; diversity of talents, backgrounds, and viewpoints; and a strong fit with the institute’s mission, values, and priorities.

The Research Environment

Interns are offered the opportunity to participate in the collegial atmosphere of PPIC through daily interaction with all aspects of the institution. They are invited to join the research staff in their regular meetings and to attend PPIC’s outside events, including the institute’s public affairs programs and research briefings. PPIC offers access to the Institute of Governmental Sciences library at the University of California, Berkeley, allowing interns to work with many important databases, journals, and statistical datasets. The intern program also includes a discussion of California state policy by PPIC’s government affairs staff.

Each intern’s project will include an initial meeting with research staff, evaluation and feedback at the beginning, midpoint and end of the project, and a briefing by the intern on the goals, findings, and significance of the project. Interns are encouraged to discuss their work throughout the course of the project, to meet with research staff to discuss careers in research, and to meet with communications staff to learn about outreach and building an audience of policymakers.

Location, Compensation, and Time on Project

As mentioned above, this summer internship will conducted remotely. Compensation is $17.50 per hour. This full-time internship will last up to eleven weeks, ideally beginning June 14, 2020.

To Apply

In addition to filling out this application, copy and paste a cover letter highlighting the particular skills you bring to the project and describing how this internship would contribute to your career development. Attach your resume in PDF or MS Word format.

PPIC is committed to excellence through diversity. Our work is rooted in objective, data-driven policy analysis. We welcome and encourage applicants who reflect the full diversity of California. The expertise of our staff members is essential to the success of PPIC’s mission, and we assist career and personal growth through robust support of skill development at all levels of the organization.

To apply for this job please visit