Students who wish to pursue employment or studies in the areas of media law and policy at the University of North Carolina have a number of options available for financial support, including scholarships, employment assistance, and summer grants.
Both the UNC School of Law and School of Media and Journalism provide scholarships and other funding to students who have an interest in media law and policy. In addition to the standard financial aid packages available to students at each school, the following scholarships are open to students with an interest media law and policy:
- Roy H. Park Fellowships provide tuition reimbursement, health coverage, and an annual stipend for doctoral students of $20,500 and master’s students of $14,000 at the School of Media and Journalism.
- Beverly Cooper Moore Scholarships provide up to $20,000 per year to doctoral and master’s students at the School of Media and Journalism.
- Wade and Sandy Hargrove Media Law and Policy Fund provides approximately $5,000 per year to students at the School of Law who have an interest in communications law.
Summer Grants Program
Each year, the UNC School of Law provides summer grants to law students taking unpaid or low-paying summer public interest jobs. Funding for these grants comes from several sources including: the Carolina Public Interest Law Organization (CPILO), private funds given through generous donors, law school funds allocated by the Dean, and student organizations that fundraise to support students working in a particular area of interest. In past years Carolina Law has awarded up to $500,000, which benefits more than 100 students.
The Center for Media Law and Policy contributes additional funds to assist students (both UNC law and graduate students) who are interested in gaining experience in the areas of media law and media policy, including working at media organizations, nonprofits, law firms, advocacy groups, and research centers. In past years, UNC students have received summer public interest grants while working at the Federal Communications Commission, National Public Radio, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Future of Privacy Forum, and Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
For those students who haven’t yet landed a summer job or aren’t sure what they want to do, we provide some helpful resources, including our media law and policy Jobs Center, where we list dozens of summer and post-graduate employment opportunities. Students can also read about the summer experiences of their fellow students on the center’s blog.
Requirements and Information on How to Apply for Summer Grants
For UNC law students interested in both a Center grant and law school grant, the application process and general requirements for both grants is the same. Simply check the box on the application for the law school’s Summer Public Interest Grant indicating “Media Law or Policy” under the heading “Substantive Areas Your Summer Employment Will Involve” and you will be automatically considered for Center funds in addition to the law school grant. If you have already filled out an application, just log back in and check the box for “Media Law or Policy”; you can make changes to your application until the application deadline.
For UNC graduate students and law students who are not eligible for law school funds, please download the application form and send it directly to us at medialaw [at] unc.edu along with the other supporting material described below.
The deadline for both programs is usually in March. Please check the Center’s blog for an announcement of the current deadline.
You must have a job offer from one of the following types of organizations to be eligible for law school funds: a nonprofit organization (an organization that is described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Code), a legal aid office, a state or federal government agency, a public defender office, or a district attorney office. If are a UNC graduate student or law student who is not eligible for law school funds, your employer does not need to meet the requirements described directly above.
Applications will be evaluated based on (a) your demonstrated commitment to working in the areas of media law or policy and (b) the quality of your essays (each essay must not be more than 500 words).
Required documents include:
- Resume (without grade information)
- Offer letter from your employer
- Essays (no more than 500 words each) *
* Essay questions:
- Essay #1: Describe your work responsibilities and how they relate to media law or media policy.
- Essay #2: Describe your commitment to public service. How have your past interests and work experiences contributed to your proposed summer internship responsibilities?
- Essay #3: How do you see this summer work experience contributing to your long-term career goals?
Be sure to check out these Tips for Writing a Strong Grant Application.
Pro Bono Employment Opportunities
Law students at UNC School of Law can participate in one of the most active pro bono law school programs in the country. Students can choose from hundreds of pro bono projects under the supervision of practicing attorneys in both public interest and private practice. You can read more about Carolina Law’s Pro Bono Program here.