If I'm getting a college credit, my college would make me pay the regular tuition fee, so I'd definitely do it if I'm at another college and I can get a free college credit this way. As long as it's my decision, and it's not mandatory to work for free for the degree, then it's fair. It's definitely not fair though if the school requires a certain number of hours to be completed for graduation.
However, I'm a very finicky person, and I reserve the right to quit at any time if I'm left to do all the grunt work. It's not like they can do anything about that, and bosses have already screwed the rest of us over by cutting jobs and giving themselves raises. I better be treated well as a volunteer, or I will screw the company over.
It is fair, because both parties are benefiting. The college student will benefit by getting the experience for working at the company. When hiring, companies like to see candidates with experience. The company gets the internship off the student for free. As long as both sides are fair to each other, and do not take advantage of this agreement, this is a fair method.
The opportunity for a college student to intern can be a valuable experience. Although the company does not pay them for their work and services, the student gains valuable experience and contacts within their desired field. This experience and the contacts that they make can often lead to job offers and opportunities. Many times, the company that they intern for will offer them a job when they graduate.
If college is meant to teach you about the real world, then working in the real world temporarily provides an excellent learning experience. An internship allows a student to try out the skills and knowledge they have learned in their classes without any significant repercussions for mistakes. If they do well enough in the internship, they may be offered a job with the company that they worked for and that would pay off in the end.
Students desperately need experience. This is such a vital asset to their education, and it has immense value. In most cases, I would say that it is fair for college students to intern for free for college credit. Being in college myself, I certainly would rather intern for money. The experience truly is worth the work put into the internship, though. Getting a college degree is also worth it. These degrees seem so essential in getting desired career opportunities. Internships that aid in this process are awesome.
College these days is getting to be incredibly expensive. If there is a way for students to gain college credit, as well as real world experience, without having to pay for that college credit, it is a very fair to the student. If, however, the student is interning for free and has to pay the college to get the college credit, it takes advantage of the student and would not be fair.
It is a fair trade off for college students to intern for companies for free. Because they do in fact receive college credit that can help them complete their major. They also receive real world experience working for a company, and trying out a job in a certain industry to see if it is a good fit for them.
Although college students are not paid in money for internships, they do gain a lot of real world experience that will give them an advantage when they want employment after school. Additionally, since many companies will eventually employ interns, they have an edge in an otherwise shaky economy. Of course, the fact that they receive college credit makes it justified as well.
College students must pay for every college credit they take. When college students take on internships they often earn college credits but do not receive any monetary pay. I think this is fair since they are saving money by not having to pay for the credits they earn doing the internship.
Student who intern are able to leave school with experience in their field. Oftentimes, they are able to get a foot in the door with prospective employers, and sometimes land jobs with the company they interned at. Students are also able to build relationships and gain professional references from interning. The per-credit cost to students is minimal in this regard. However, students should not be allowed to take unlimited intern credits that apply to their graduation requirements.
Unpaid interns really get shafted by companies. They usually wind up not doing actual activities that educate them towards their field or degree, but instead, they just get whatever work no one wants to do dumped on them. Their projects are long, monotonous and boring tasks that some animals could do, if they were properly trained. Meanwhile, while they are not getting paid, they are continuing to support themselves in other ways and racking up student loan debt. Internships are a raw deal.
I think that this is really a case-by-case basis. Some companies provide incredible experience and pay is not necessary, but if the internship doesn't provide something that will be life changing, and the student is doing mediocre work that someone off the street would be paid to do, then the students should get paid as well.
While some may argue that the true purpose of college students participating in internship programs is to gain valuable real world experience, this is a very limited view on the matter. The most obvious argument against these "volunteer" programs is the obvious notion that they are unpaid. Students are forced to make a trade-off between getting valuable experience that may pay off in the future or use their time to work a job that pays now that might be less beneficial or come with less opportunity for advancement later on in life. Oftentimes, students are already strapped for cash so spending large amounts of time during the school year or summer months with no financial incentive puts many of them in binds for cash. Therefore, to make the arrangement beneficial for both the student and the employer, small stipends are better than no compensation at all.
Although interning for college credit is a great idea, the fact is that they are working a job and they ought to be paid. Going to school is expensive, but even if they're getting college credit for interning, that doesn't help with the big picture. They still have to eat and pay the bills. Real life experience at a job means you are working for something, incentive, a paycheck! If they work at their interning job during the day for free, then they'll probably need another job to do at night, after work.