NU Public Interest Program

Building a Network of Engaged Citizens to Inspire Change

FAQs – Community Partners

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How and when are Fellows paid?
A. Host Organizations agree to pay Fellows a stipend averaging $30,000* and a placement fee of $1,000 to NUPIP. Host organizations are also responsible for providing basic health insurance benefits to their Fellow. The stipend is paid directly from the organization to the Fellow, according to the organization’s pay periods. Depending on the organization, this stipend may be apportioned as a salary or hourly wage. Organizations should negotiate the exact stipend with their selected fellow and the agreed terms will be spelled out in the Letter of Agreement as a final step of the placement process. Please contact our office if you have questions about Fellows’ compensation.

*The exact stipend amount is set by the individual organization, and typically ranges from $27,500-$37,500 for a full-year Fellowship. This annual stipend can also be prorated for a shorter term of service (9-11 months).

Q. What is my role as a NUPIP Host Organization?
A. Beyond providing high quality work opportunities, meaningful one-on-one supervision, and appropriate compensation; there are many other ways you can get involved in the program.  You may have the opportunity to network among other host organizations throughout the year, host a bi-weekly seminar; and share your NUPIP experiences with new organizations.  We also highly encourage you to attend our supervisor/coordinator gatherings, so that we can keep up with the goals and expectations on both ends of our program and evaluate the process according to your feedback.

Q. What is expected in terms of health benefits?
A. Each Fellow receives health benefits in accordance with the host organization’s policy. While health care providers, plans, and payments will vary across organizations, we do require that each Fellow receives basic health care coverage (medical and, if possible, dental). Ancillary benefits such as life insurance and retirement plan are welcome though not required. Please be sure to discuss the details of your benefits plan with your Fellow before submitting the Letter of Agreement. If an organization does not have a group health plan, an additional stipend should be provided so that the Fellow can purchase individual health insurance.

Q. What does the placement fee support?
NUPIP partner organizations are charged a $1,000 placement fee when a Fellow is successfully placed with their organization. (There is no charge if a successful match is not made.) The placement fee helps support: the Fellow recruitment and placement process; ongoing support for host organizations and their NUPIP Fellow during the Fellowship year; the bi-weekly professional development seminars; networking events for Fellows; supervisors and NUPIP partner organizations; and the professional mentor program. All of these components have been designed to help ensure that partner organizations benefit from meaningful contributions from their fellows while each fellow develops professionally and personally throughout the Fellowship year.

Q. How much time off does the Fellow get?
A. Fellows should be granted the vacation, holiday, and sick days typically observed by the host organization. In addition, NUPIP urges host organizations to allow Fellows time off for the bi-weekly seminar and other special occasions as needed. Before signing the Letter of Agreement, we strongly encourage you to discuss with your Fellow his/her anticipated need for any additional time off related to holidays, illness, grad school visits, etc.

Q. What are the seminars like?
A. Public Interest Program seminars usually run from September to May and are held three times per month, typically two Wednesday mornings and one Wednesday evening each month. Fellows are expected to attend all seminars. Seminars offer a chance to learn about social issues such as health care, education, and environmental policy; to visit other host organizations; to gain practical knowledge in areas such as project management and grant writing; and to reflect and build community among other Fellows from similar fellowship programs sponsored by Princeton University and University of Chicago.

Q. What is involved in the mentorship component of NUPIP?
A. Each Fellow will be matched with a Northwestern alumnus who will serve as a mentor throughout the year. Mentors can serve as a sounding board on a range of topics: professional development, workplace issues, graduate school plans, and post-college transition.  Fellow-mentor meetings should not interfere with Fellows’ work schedules.

Q. What do I do if my expectations of the Fellow are not met?
A. There are several levels of support for organizations who are not satisfied with the Fellowship arrangement.  When appropriate, we encourage supervisors to first address the Fellow directly with concerns about job performance, hours and compensation, workplace conduct, etc.  For situations that involve more direct involvement, NUPIP staff are available to ensure that both Fellows and host organizations are having a positive experience.

If you have any further questions about hosting an NUPIP Fellow, please contact Katrina Weimholt at or 847-491-8711.