For many college students across the country, internships are a requirement for their degree programs. But for many of those students, there are internships that aren’t paid. It’s something that Anna Britton who is going to the Arizona State University College of Social Work in Tucson experienced during her two year master’s degree program.

“If I want to get paid a legitimately livable wage, I’m going to have to go to grad school,” she said.

But her internships weren’t paid, which creates a hardship for her as she navigates higher education, she said. Britton has applied for grants as a way to make an income during the internships.

“I do over 16 hours of internship a week and the work for my grant program,” she said. “I also work part time. I personally had to go through a lot of extra work to earn a little bit of extra money.”

Her classmate Victoria Spencer said she loved her internships as they have introduced her to the community and her profession in a special way. But there was a huge financial strain, she said.

“I had small stipend that came out to a few cents an hour,” she said.

The United States Department of Labor has a test to determine if an intern should be paid. One of the points states that the intern should compliment an employee’s work rather than replace it.

“I’ve seen a lot of times where students are working as therapists and are taking over the labor of employees,” Spencer said.

Both Britton and Spencer hope universities help students find solutions for this financial strain.

“I think the school should compensate them in some way whether that’s a stipend, decreased tuition, minimum wage payments, or something like that,” Britton said.