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Internship Opportunities with OPE

The Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) seeks motivated students who are excited to learn and work with our staff in advancing our mission to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” OPE offers unpaid full- and part-time internships during the summer, fall, and spring. Specifically, we offer internships in the following five divisions: Higher Education Programs (HEP), Policy, Planning and Innovation (PPI), International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE), Management Support Unit (MSU), and the front office of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Below, we describe what functions these divisions respectively carry out.

The Higher Education Programs (HEP) office is divided into two service divisions.

  • Institutional Service: Administers grant programs designed to improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability, and strengthen physical plants and endowments of institutions of higher education, with an emphasis on institutions that enroll large proportions of minority and financially disadvantaged students.
  • Student Service: Administers grant programs supporting low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities as they progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to graduate school, in addition to programs focused on college readiness, campus-based child-care and graduate fellowships.

The Policy, Planning and Innovation (PPI) office develops Federal postsecondary education policy and regulations including policy which supports the Federal student financial assistance programs and programs authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) and administers the review process for accreditation agencies to ensure that the education provided by the institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.

The International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) office administers Title VI (domestic) and Fulbright-Hays (overseas) grant and fellowship programs that strengthen foreign language instruction, area/international studies teaching and research, professional development for educators, and curriculum development at the K-12, graduate, and postsecondary levels.

The Office of Management and Planning advises the Assistant Secretary on matters related to these two units:

  • The Management Support Unit (MSU), which is responsible for operations management for OPE. The unit serves as the primary catalyst for developing and implementing effective management practices, continuous improvement processes, and organizational capacity building to align and implement OPE’s Annual Program Performance Plan in accordance with the Department's Strategic Plan. The Director of MSU reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Planning.
  • The Executive Office, headed by an Executive Officer, provides general administrative and management support services for OPE. Under the direction of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Planning, the office establishes procedures, devotes sufficient resources, and clarifies lines of authority and accountability to ensure that the administrative service needs of OPE are met in a timely and consistent manner.

The Front Office of the Assistant Secretary is responsible for working with the Assistant Secretary to manage and oversee all functions within OPE. Interns in the front office will generally work on special projects that will encompass an array of issues facing OPE at the time. Many of these issues will require research into different policy initiatives, grant-making activities, and speaking engagements that fall within the Assistant Secretary’s duties at the Department.
Below you will find the type of applicant we are looking for, and additional information for you to take under consideration. If you believe interning with OPE is the right fit for you, we invite you to apply through this link.

Required skill set:

  • Strong academic background (college sophomores, juniors and seniors or first-year graduate students);
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Good research skills with emphasis on internet-based research;
  • Interest in higher education policy and grantmaking;
  • Flexibility, initiative, and teamwork skills

NOTE: You must be enrolled in a higher education institution to participate in this program.

Available internship terms:

Summer, fall, and/or spring

For information:

Applications can also be submitted via USAJOBS with this link.

Last Modified: 11/18/2022