2011 Cornell Law School Summer Grant FAQs
The Cornell Law School Summer Grant Program provides funding to Cornell Law Students for unpaid
summer positions with public interest organizations or government agencies. A full-time summer
grant is comprised of two components: a $1,600 PIF (Public Interest Fellowship) grant and a $2,400
federal work-study grant.
PIF grants are guaranteed for all 1Ls and 2Ls who secure eligible summer placements and meet PIF
Work-study funding is limited and is therefore not guaranteed for all applicants. First priority will be
given to 2Ls. The federal work-study program for Cornell Law students is administered by the
University through our Financial Aid Office. The University will notify the Law School’s Financial Aid
Office early in the spring 2011 semester as to the summer 2011 work-study allocation. The Law
School’s allocation is typically about 90 work-study slots, and we have no reason to believe that will
be reduced. Therefore, it is very likely, but not guaranteed, that all 1Ls and 2Ls who qualify for work-
study funding will receive it.
2. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO EARN THE SUMMER GRANT?
1Ls and 2Ls
Secure summer employment with a qualifying employer as soon as you can.
Complete and submit the PIF grant application by March 1. If you do not have a summer
placement by March 1, you must submit the application anyway. You can provide your
employment information later.
Apply for work-study funding through the Financial Aid Office.
Volunteer the required number of hours towards the PIF Cabaret.
Volunteer for the PIF Phone-a-thon or Mail-a-thon.
Attend one Public Interest Symposium panel.
3. WHO ARE QUALIFYING EMPLOYERS?
The employer must be a non-profit legal organization or a government agency. For example, federal,
state and local agencies, prosecutors’ offices , public defender offices, legal services organizations and
other non-profits are qualifying employers. Judicial internships DO NOT qualify; however, internships
with court pro se offices, which handle cases from individuals appearing without counsel, do qualify.
If you are interested in working for a non-profit located abroad, watch for information in January
about Cornell Law School’s Public International PIF grant program.
4. WHERE DO I GET A PIF GRANT APPLICATION AND HOW AND WHEN DO I SUBMIT IT?
A link to the electronic PIF grant application form will be emailed to all first and second year students
in January. You must complete and submit your PIF grant application by Monday, March 1.
IMPORTANT: You do not need to have secured a job before you submit your initial application. You
must update your application after you receive a summer placement. You may change your mind and
not take the grant should your plans change, but if you do not submit the application by March 1, you
will not be eligible for a PIF grant. Applicants will receive award notices later in March.
5. WHERE DO I GET A WORK-STUDY APPLICATION AND HOW AND WHEN DO I SUBMIT IT?
Work-study eligibility is determined by the Law School’s Financial Aid Office. They will distribute
work-study applications early in the spring semester and will let you know fairly quickly whether or
not you will receive an award. Again, funds are limited so preference will be given to 2L applicants.
6. WHAT IS THE WORK-STUDY PAPERWORK?
Cornell University requires that your employer sign two documents: 1) the Letter of Intent and 2) the
Work-Study Agreement. In rare instances, some employers will not sign these documents.
Understand that if the documents are not signed, you cannot receive work-study funding; but you can
still receive the $1,600 PIF grant. The Office of Public Service will help you with the steps you need to
take to get this paperwork completed.
7. HOW MANY HOURS DO I HAVE TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE CABARET AND HOW DO I DO IT?
Six hours of participation in Cabaret is required. Most often this is easily completed by joining and
working on a Cabaret committee. And there are a few other ways to get Cabaret hours: Audition and
perform in Cabaret (3 hours); Donate an item to the auction (1 hour, more for super cool donations);
Solicit an auction item from a family member, friend, or other personal connection (1 hour, more for
super cool donations); Purchase an item during the silent or live auction (1 hour).
This year’s Cabaret is on Saturday, February 26. For details contact Cabaret co-chairs Melissa Gallo
(email@example.com) or Kira Devin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
8. HOW MANY HOURS DO I HAVE TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE PHONE-A-THON OR MAIL-A-THON
AND HOW DO I DO IT?
These fundraisers involve either making phone calls or collating a mailing in order to solicit donations
to the PIF fund from alumni/ae. Training is included. The a-thons are held in March and students
sign up in advance. Verified participation at one 3-hour shift is required. Verification will be provided
by the a-thon supervisors after the shifts are completed.
9. WHAT IS THE PUBLIC INTEREST SYMPOSIUM AND HOW DO I ATTEND A PANEL?
The Public Interest Symposium is a program organized by the Dean Comstock and Liz Peck in the
Office of Public Service. It consists of four panels of alumni/ae who practice in a range of public
interest and government settings. Verified attendance at one Symposium panel is required. This
year’s Symposium is scheduled for January 27-28, 2011.
10. HOW AND WHEN DO I GET PAID IF I AM RECEIVING PIF AND WORK-STUDY GRANTS?
Your grant will be paid to you through University payroll on a bi-weekly basis during the term of your
employment. You will receive a notice from the Office of Public Service after March 1 instructing you
to set up an appointment with Dean Comstock or Liz Peck. They will assist you with the required
work-study and payroll paperwork. You can arrange for direct deposit with the University Payroll
Office so your paycheck will be deposited into your bank account. Note that this is a separate
arrangement from direct deposit with the University Bursar’s Office, which you may already have set
up for your student loan checks.
11. HOW AND WHEN DO I GET PAID IF I AM RECEIVING A PIF GRANT ONLY?
Your PIF grant will be deposited into your University Bursar account in early June. If you have
already established direct deposit with the University Bursar’s Office your PIF grant will
automatically be deposited to your bank account. If you do not already have direct-deposit arranged
with the University Bursar’s Office, you should contact them to set that up. If you do not make direct
deposit arrangements, to receive your PIF grant payment you have to request a check from the
12. ARE THE GRANTS TAXABLE?
Yes, PIF and work-study grants are taxable income for IRS purposes.
13. WHAT IF MY EMPLOYER CAN PAY ME OR I RECEIVE ANOTHER TYPE OF PUBLIC INTEREST
Because demand is high and funds are limited, if your employer is able to contribute any funding, your
$1,600 PIF grant will be reduced by that amount.
14. WHAT IF I WORK FEWER THAN 45 DAYS?
Your grant is dependent on the number of days worked. If you work 45 days or more, you will receive
the full grant. If you work fewer than 45 days, your summer grant (PIF + work-study) will be pro-
15. CAN I RECEIVE A GRANT AND COURSE CREDIT FOR MY SUMMER INTERNSHIP?
No. You may not receive funding and course credit simultaneously for your summer internship. If
you opt to receive course credit, you need to enroll in the Law School’s summer externship course.
Contact Karen Comstock or Elizabeth Peck for more information.
PIF grants/2011 PIF application FAQs