It's Your Money: Pay for internships - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

It's Your Money: Pay for internships

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MADISON (WKOW)--Joe Ho always dreamed of lending a hand at a luxury hotel. He knew an internship was key but had trouble making connections.

That's why Joe contacted the University of Dreams; one of several internship placement services promising to help students score experience in everything from finance to fashion.

The catch? Services like the one Joe used will cost you. Eric Lochtefeld is with the University of Dreams, which costs anywhere from $5,000 to more than $9,000 and operates in 11 major cities.

"We have successfully placed over 3,500 college students in internships and counting," says Locktefeld.

All of the services help students re-format resumes and polish up interview skills. While students can find free help at career centers on campus, the U-of-D and another service, the Washington Internship Program, say they have special relationships with companies or government agencies that give students an important edge.

Anita Webb's daughter got an introduction to an author through U-of-D. She says the price covered much more than an internship.

"That did include room and board, the seminars. It was an investment equal to her college education."

Other companies, like Fast Track Internships, do not have formal relationships with businesses, but they work to identify hundreds that students can contact, even ones that don't advertise.

"By giving them a well written resume, the student might be one of the few or the only resumes that that company has seen," says Fast Track's Steve Rodems.

Rodems says they charge anywhere from nearly $800 to $1,000.

"Our number of inquiries coming from students is up about 25% versus this time last year."

Another company, Brill Street, places students in paid internships, then takes a cut of their paycheck as a fee. While the services may give students an "in," career counselor Patricia Rose says no one should pay for this kind of help.

"Part of the learning process is going through, learning the "do's" and "don'ts," making contacts."

Some educators also worry these programs may give wealthier students an unfair advantage.

"That would be unfair to think of our program in that light. we have a substantial financial aid program at university of dreams," says U of D's Lochtefeld.

Joe Ho says his internship ultimately led to the job of his dreams.

"Without this internship, I wouldn't have the experience and the confidence that i do have now in my career."

Both University of Dreams and Fast Track Internships offer a money-back guarantee.

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