SPILG Fellowship: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SPILG Fellowship?

The SPILG Fellowship (Suffolk Public Interest Law Group) is a Suffolk University Law School program that provides $5000 for students working in a summer internship in public service with a non-profit, or government organization in the United States. Judicial internships (including FYSIP) DO NOT qualify. The SPILG fellowship is made up of two parts:

  • 25% ($1,250) of the fellowship is a grant that is made up of money raised by the SPILG organization through the SPILG auction and other sources. As a result, when a SPILG Fellowship is accepted, the recipient must accept responsibility for participation in the annual SPILG auction during the following academic year.
  • 75% ($3750) of the fellowship comes from the Federal Work Study program (FWS), which is managed by the Office of Financial Aid.

Please note: some students selected for a SPILG fellowship may not be eligible for federal work study. These students can receive the 25% stipend portion of the SPILG fellowship ($1250). If you have questions about your eligibility for FWS, please ask the Office of Financial Aid.

Do I need to have secured a public interest internship before I apply?

No, you do not have to have accepted a position by the time you apply. You must accept a position by April 29, 2016 in order to participate in the program.

How Do I Apply for the SPILG Fellowship and Federal Work Study Award?

There are two requirements for a complete SPILG fellowship application. Both must be completed by March 9, 2016.

  • Submit a resume and two-page statement of interest through the SPILG OCI tab on Symplicity. The statement of interest should include any positions for which you have applied and are still being considered, and your general areas of interest in public service. If you have accepted a position already, please describe.
  • Submit a FAFSA for both 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. Students who are currently receiving federal student aid, including Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans, have already completed the 2015/2016 FAFSA. If you have not already done so, you must complete the 2016/2017 by the March 9 deadline as well. International students are not able to complete the FAFSA and will not be required to do so.

Please note: if you wish to be considered for the stipend ONLY ($1250), you still must submit the statement of interest and resume by March 9, 2016. Please state in your essay that you are not applying for FWS, if that is the case.

How will I learn whether I have received the SPILG Fellowship?

You will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid whether you have received a FWS award and corresponding SPILG fellowship. If you are not awarded a FWS award in the initial awarding round, you will be placed on a waiting list and notified if FWS funds become available. Remember, that you must receive BOTH a FWS award and a SPILG Fellowship in order to utilize the FWS award. We expect to notify students of their eligibility for the award on or about April 1, 2016.

What Paperwork Must Be Completed Prior to Starting Work in a Federal Work Study/SPILG position?

After the awards have been made, there will be a required meeting which recipients must attend. We anticipate this meeting will be held in early April. The required employment paperwork specific to each recipient will be disseminated at that meeting, with instructions and deadlines for completion. All employment paperwork, including the name and contact information for your summer employer, must be returned to the Office of Financial Aid by April 29, 2016.

Will receipt of SPILG and Federal Work Study Funds affect my financial aid eligibility?

If you are awarded the total $5,000 SPILG Fellowship, the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive for the 2016/2017 academic year can be affected.

The Office of Financial Aid will consider the $5000 award when determining your loan eligibility for 2016/2017. If you normally borrow up to the Cost of Attendance, the award will reduce your loan eligibility by $5000 (the amount of the award).

But, while loan eligibility may be reduced, law students in this situation will still receive the same total amount of financial aid. By earning the $5000 over the summer through SPILG instead of through loans, students can reduce the total amount of loans they need to borrow.

Speak to the Office of Financial Aid if you have specific questions about your loan amounts, or if you plan to take a summer course. SPILG/FWS can reduce your eligibility for other forms of summer financial aid.

Please note: if you choose to only accept the $1250 stipend, your financial aid will not be impacted.

Can I accept another Suffolk University Fellowship in conjunction with SPILG?

No. Law students are allowed to accept only one summer fellowship.

In addition, if you accept SPILG fellowship funding, you cannot be paid for the same hours by another source, including an outside fellowship or an employer.

Can I receive the SPILG fellowship if I intend to transfer?

No. The SPILG Fellowship is only intended for students who plan to attend Suffolk University Law School in the fall of 2016, and you will be required to sign a form stating this intent. If you have been accepted by another institution and intend to attend next year, please do not apply. If you decide to transfer in the middle of the summer you will stop receiving payments from Suffolk.

What are the hourly and weekly work requirements for the SPILG fellowship?

If you receive the full grant and FWS fellowship, you must work 35 hours per week, for a minimum of eight weeks. To earn the full $5000 you must work ten weeks. If you have special circumstances requiring you to work different hours, please speak directly to the Office of Financial Aid to see if you will qualify.

The hourly rate will be $14.00 per hour. You can only accumulate the follow amounts in the two pay-periods during the summer:

  • Summer I: mid-May to June 30th $2,300
  • Summer II: July 1 to the end of August $2,700

If you do not earn the amounts specified by each of the dates indicated above, you will not receive the total award. You cannot exceed your total award of $5000.

The Office of Financial Aid will provide you with several methods of keeping track of your hours as you are working. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO TRACK YOUR HOURS. If you work hours beyond those that may count towards the SPILG fellowship (for example, if you work 50 hours one week on a special project, or work two extra weeks at the end of the summer) you may apply for pro bono credit for the extra hours through the Office of Professional and Career Development.

Please note: if you receive only the $1250 stipend, you will receive your payment in two equal amounts, at the beginning of each summer session. Since these funds are a stipend, there is no hourly rate and you do not need to track your hours for Suffolk University. No taxes will be withheld and you will receive a 1099 in early 2017.

What is the International SPILG Award?

The Suffolk Public Interest Law Group (SPILG) International Fellowship provides a grant of up to $5,000 for a few students working in summer international internships with non-profit and government organizations. The purpose of the Fellowship program is to support Suffolk Law students dedicated to international public service while providing an invaluable service to nonprofit and government organizations and the communities they serve. A separate application process exists for the SPILG International Fellowship. For more information, contact Christine Bustany.