Facts and Criteria

What is SPARK?

Nazareth University's Center for Life's Work offers $1,500 SPARK grants to help cover undergraduate student costs for:

  • an unpaid or underpaid summer internship
  • unpaid or underpaid summer research
  • an international experience (a Naz-approved study abroad or service trip abroad) any time of year

Nazareth also provides a tuition scholarship for summer SPARK-eligible experiences that earn credit, bringing the total SPARK support to more than $4,000 (for a 3-credit experience).

Who is eligible?

  • First-time (meaning you don't have a bachelor's degree), full-time undergraduate first-year students within 24 months of your start date at Nazareth. 
  • First-time (you don't have a bachelor's degree), full-time undergraduate transfer students within 12 months of your start date at Nazareth (exception: 18 months if you transfer to Nazareth before the end of your first year). 
  • Overall GPA of 2.5 or greater required when your application is approved. (Students may apply for an exception through a petition process.)
  • You must have an active planning process established with your career coach.
  • You must be registered at Nazareth for the semester following your SPARK experience.

What's the name mean?

SPARK = Students Pursuing Academic and Real-world Knowledge. SPARK is intended to help make possible great opportunities that can spark learning, growth, and connections that can be life-enriching, door-opening, and career-enhancing.

When can it be used?

  • Internship courses: May through August. You will be notified when you are eligible to register for this course, which you then do in Student Planning. (Your career coach will help you determine the appropriate course).
  • Research courses: May through August (summer). You will be notified when you are eligible to register for this course, which you then do in Student Planning. (Your career coach will help you determine the appropriate course).
  • Study abroad: Eligible for spring, summer, fall, or winter programs.

Other benefits to the SPARK program?

  • Housing: If you line up a summer internship or summer research experience in Rochester and you don't live locally, a limited number of on-campus rooms are available for a nominal fee, per summer term (A and/or B). Indicate your housing need on the SPARK Grant application and apply through the Nazareth housing system by the deadline. (More details below.)
  • Credits: You can receive a SPARK scholarship for up to 3 credit(s) for a summer internship, research, or study abroad experience (within the eligibility time frame).


You must apply before the experience starts, but after you've received approval for participation and/or lined up the experience. SPARK is not retroactive; applications will be denied and check requests won't be processed if submitted after an internship or research experience is over or after your departure from the U.S. to begin an international experience. Internship and research experience applications must be completed and approved by the drop/add deadline.

How to Apply

1. Talk to your career coach — early — for guidance. Also see the guidelines below for internships, research, and international experiences.

2. Line up the program you're going to do, meaning get accepted into an international experience program, a summer internship role, or a summer research role.

3. Get the appropriate experience approval form(s) signed before the experience:

4. Have all of the following handy in digital form:

  • signed experience approval form (see step 3). You can scan and email it to yourself at the Nazareth library at no charge.
  • your resume as a pdf (See your career coach for resume help.)
  • unofficial transcript (Login to Naznet Self-Service, choose Academics, then Student Planning, then Unofficial Transcript.)

5. Notify your career coach that you have found an experience and are ready to complete the application. With the documents ready to upload:

Apply for a SPARK Grant

What happens after I apply?

Your application will be reviewed by the SPARK committee (including your career coach). You will receive an email in about one week to let you know whether your application has been approved.

If approved, how and when do I get the funds?

  • Complete the Student Payment Check Request Form and set up your e-check account in NazNet Self-Service to get your e-check. (Set up e-check in advance to avoid delays in getting your funds: E-check steps). Email Josh Fess at jfess2@naz.edu if you need instructions.
  • Receiving funds:
    • For a summer experience, your SPARK grant funds will be deposited beginning at the start of Summer A (date will vary depending on start date of experience and when you submit your check request form).
    • For a long-term international experience, you will receive the funds at the start of the fall or spring semester (your term of experience).
  • You will receive the $1,500 deposited directly into your bank account only after you have correctly entered your banking information in NazNet Self-Service and Accounts Payable approves your request. (If you previously arranged for direct deposit for an on-campus job or tuition refund, you still need to set-up an Accounts Payable e-check account with your banking information; it takes two weeks to fully verify a new account, so please plan accordingly.)
  • Once Accounts Payable approves the check request form, you will get an electronic transfer within 2-3 weeks.

Additional requirements and aid if you're earning credit for your experience

If you will earn credit for your approved SPARK experience, you also receive a SPARK tuition scholarship to cover up to 3 credits.

  • Talk to your career coach to determine if your summer experience has a credit-bearing component and (if yes) to understand the process and timing of when you register for the course.
  • Be aware that the registration process automatically generates a student invoice/bill for these credits — and you (and any family member who receives your tuition bills) will receive an email to check your NazNet Self-Service Account. Don't panic! Your semester billing statement will show your SPARK experience tuition temporarily, until your tuition waiver is processed by the Financial Aid office. Once your entire financial aid record for the coming year (summer, fall, spring semesters) is complete (including the FAFSA form/process), you will receive an electronic award notice from the Financial Aid office as well as an email from Student Accounts prompting you to view an updated bill that will show a SPARK tuition scholarship offsetting the cost of the credits for the SPARK course. (The waiver does not cover a registration fee of $30, nor any on-campus housing fees if you are approved to live on campus.)
  • Nazareth's Financial Aid Office will let you know if you are missing any documents needed to complete your financial aid package for the coming year.
  • Your financial aid record will show your $1,500 SPARK grant as an "outside scholarship direct to student — SPARK." The grant will not change your bill because the grant goes to your e-check account.
  • If you have questions about the status of your financial aid so this process can be completed, please email finaid@naz.edu.

Detailed Guidelines

SPARK Grant for Research

What's required for research to be eligible?
CARS presentation

SPARK Grant for International Experience

Which international experiences qualify?
How do I make sure study abroad credits transfer to Nazareth?
Can I use the SPARK Grant for trip advance payment(s)?

SPARK Grant for internships

What qualifies as an internship?
How do I find an internship?
Am I guaranteed a SPARK-eligible internship?
Paid or unpaid? "Underpaid"?
Do I have to intern in Rochester?
How do I know which internship course to enroll in?
Can this count as the internship required for my major?
Can I get a SPARK Grant for a past internship?
What if I line up a paid internship for the summer? Do I pay for those credits?
Does other funding exist for summer internship tuition?

Summer Housing on Campus

Who can use summer housing for SPARK Grant experiences?
What if my internship is paid (I'm not SPARK eligible), but I would like to live on campus?
What's included? What's not?

SPARK Grant funds

Is my award based on financial award status or need?
How many SPARK grants can I receive?
Do other funding streams for students affect SPARK eligibility?
Are there tax implications?
Does the 2-credit summer internship scholarship still exist?
Other questions?
Kenyatta Allen used SPARK Grant for Dominican Republic semester

What will you experience?

A SPARK Grant can make great experiences possible. See what Nazareth students are doing with the funds: SPARK Stories »

Info Sheet for Internship Providers

Info Sheet for Internship Providers (and potential providers) summarizes how Nazareth can help support a student to be able to pursue an unpaid summer internship or summer research position.

Juniors and Seniors

If you're not eligible for a SPARK Grant, talk to your career coach about other potential sources of funding.