General EPIC Advantage FAQs

  • What is the EPIC Advantage?

    The EPIC Advantage is a $7.5 million gift from Earlham Alumni Alan ’74, and Peg Kral Scantland ’74 that provides funding to current Earlham students to support one (1) highly focused career-discerning experience before graduation.
  • Is the EPIC Advantage award considered taxable income?

    It depends. For any portion of the award that pays an eligible educational cost (like a tuition or program fee), that portion is not taxable. Whether or not a specific fee is eligible for this educational exclusion must be determined by the Accounting office (and their determination is final). Also, different rules regarding taxation apply to domestic vs. international students.  
    For international students: amounts spent on services or goods outside of the United States are not taxable. However, flights purchased for departure from within the United States count as expenses within the US and are taxable. 
    The College will report all portions of the award that are taxable for the tax year in question.
  • Do international students need to apply for work authorization, like Curricular Practical Training (CPT), to participate in an EPIC Advantage-funded experience?

    International students will only need to apply for CPT (or pre-completion OPT) if the experience is both compensated (in any way) and the compensation comes from a U.S.-based organization or company or any organization in the world while the student is working and living in the U.S. All forms of compensation are considered payment – not just direct stipend or wages. (For example, an employer who provides a daily lunch or a transportation pass for the city of residence is compensating you, and that counts as working.) If you are compensated, but it’s from a company based in another country and paid 100% while you are living and working in that country, then work authorization is not needed. If the experience is not compensated, then no work authorization is required. See also this visual flow chart on off-campus work for international students.
  • Can a DACA program participant intern or study abroad?

    Technically, DACA participants can apply for and secure an “advance parole” that allows for lawful re-entry into the United States upon return. However, in practice, currently prevailing politics come into play. Earlham College advises caution and careful consideration of the risks of leaving the U.S. even with advance parole. We strongly recommend you speak with an immigration attorney before deciding. Note that there are ample opportunities from intercultural immersion within the U.S.

EPIC Advantage Faculty-Led Summer Programs FAQs

  • What are EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs?

    EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs are intensive, single-course programs of between one and four weeks in the summer (May through August). They are designed to be career-discerning experiences and include either intensive research with the faculty leader(s) or a community-engagement experience in an area related to one or more career pathways.
  • Are all of my expenses covered by EA funding?

    All expenses associated with summer faculty-led program-related are covered by EA funding with a few exceptions; students must pay for their passport, any immunizations that are required for the program location, and spending money for personal expenses and/or travel before or after the program.
  • How do I apply for an EA Faculty-Led Summer Program?

    Students should complete an application for EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs via Terra Dotta, which can be found here. The date that the application opens will be announced at the beginning of each fall semester. Students may apply for one program. After the applications are reviewed, the faculty leader(s) will conduct interviews for the program. Students will be informed by the Center for Global and Career Education about whether they are accepted to the program, put on a waitlist, or not accepted.
  • Can I receive credit for my EA Faculty-Led Summer Program? If so, how many credits? And when are the credits applied? Can the credits apply toward meeting any graduation requirements?

    EA faculty-led Summer Programs can be worth 0-3 credits, depending on the length of the program.

    • All programs will be assigned as 1-3 credits by the faculty leader(s) of the EA program, in consultation with the Director of Off-Campus Programs and the Registrar. In general, this will be based on the length of the program (i.e., 1-13 days = 1 credit; 14-20 days = 2 credits; 21 or more days = 3 credits).
    • If an experience occurs within the calendar space assigned to May Term courses (generally ending the first Wednesday of June), any credits for the program will be assigned to the spring semester. If an experience ends (regardless of when it begins) after the calendar space assigned to May Term courses, any credits for the program will be assigned to the fall semester of the following academic year. A senior counting on these credits for graduation in May must participate in a program during the calendar space assigned to May Term courses, or that student will become a December graduate of the College.
    • Credits earned through EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs count toward the total credits required for graduation but do not apply toward any additional graduation requirements.
  • Participating in an EPIC Advantage Faculty-Led Summer Program will give me more than 18 credits for the semester. What should I do?

    If the credits from this experience push a student over 18 credits for the semester, the credit overage will be billed like additional credits obtained during a May Term, regardless of when the experience occurs. EPIC Advantage funding will not pay for credit overages so that this additional fee would be billed to the student’s account. With the consent of the faculty member(s) leading the experience, students can opt to participate for zero credits.
  • May I use my EA funding for a semester- or year-long off-campus program?

    EA funding may be used for either an EA Independent Student Experience or an EA Faculty-Led Summer Program, but not for a semester or year off-campus program. 

    However, students may apply their financial aid to one Earlham or Earlham-approved semester or year program and participate while paying normal tuition, fees, room, and board for that period of time, with passport, airfare, and personal expenses being the only additional costs.

  • I am a senior. What happens if I am accepted to an EA Faculty-Led Summer Program that ends up being canceled for any reason? Will I still be able to use my EPIC Advantage finding?

    Seniors who select EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs choose the last-possible time to engage in an EPIC Advantage-funded experience. If the program is canceled and it is too late to apply for a different option, this, unfortunately, could mean the loss of the opportunity.
  • Do I need to take the EPIC-171 course before participating in an EA Faculty-Led Summer Program?

    No. Instead, participants in these programs will enroll in the section of OFFC-124 (EPIC Pre-Program Orientation course) taught by the program’s faculty leader(s) during the spring semester prior to the program. That said, all students are encouraged to take EPIC-171, an excellent experience in exploring career discernment, and professional preparation.
  • Where can I learn more about the policies for EPIC Advantage Faculty-Led Summer Programs?

    The policies for EA Faculty-Led Summer Programs can be found here.

EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experiences FAQs

  • Who is eligible for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience funding?

    Any Earlham student can apply for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience Funding prior to graduation.  However, they must:

        1. be enrolled during the semester when the experience will take place 

                   OR 

        1. be enrolled during the semesters immediately preceding and following the break when the experience will take place 

                   AND

        1. Not have already completed an EPIC Advantage experience of any kind
  • Where do EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience come from?

    They come from you! You will research and secure an experience that speaks to your passions and career goals, and also meets EPIC Advantage requirements. Career coaches can help you explore opportunities. While Earlham has developed partnerships with third-party providers, you are neither restricted to nor guaranteed these options.
  • How do I apply for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience funding?

    After securing an appropriate experience and enrolling in the EPIC 171:Foundations course you can submit an application for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience funding in Terra Dotta.
  • When do I apply for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience funding?

    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed once at the beginning of each month.  Review and approval can take up to a week.  Processing of funding typically takes another week. You should plan to submit your application to be reviewed and processed at least 30 days before the start of your proposed experience.
  • How is funding determined?

    Funding for EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experiences will be based on the detailed budget you develop for your specific experience based on anticipated expenses. Please review the Budget Guidelines (found in the resources section below) for more specific information for the current academic year.
  • When can I complete my EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience?

    EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experiences can be completed in any semester or break PRIOR to graduation.  However, students must: 

      • be enrolled during the semester when the experience will take place 

            OR 

      • be enrolled during the semesters immediately preceding and following the break when the experience will take place
  • Can I receive credit for my EPIC Advantage Independent Student Experience?

    It depends. If you are completing an internship you will be enrolled in the EPIC 481 course (or a similar course through your academic department if you are completing the internship for a graduation requirement) and can elect to enroll for 0-3 credits based on the number of hours you will spend in the internship.  If you are completing a field study, practicum, or course at another institution of higher learning and will earn course credit for your experience, you can transfer those credits back to Earlham (subject to all the usual policies about transfer work).

EPIC Advantage and the Pandemic FAQs

  • What are the options for EPIC Advantage experiences while off-campus activities are suspended?

    Although in-person activities involving experiential learning off-campus are suspended during the pandemic, students may use their EPIC Advantage to engage in a virtual experience that will be career-discerning.  Available options include virtual internships, virtual micro-internships, virtual certification/training programs, or a virtual practicum or field study experience.
  • If I am engaging in a virtual EPIC Advantage experience, can I still request in my budget support for living costs like accommodations and meals, and for travel to and from a location?

    No. Virtual experiences do not include support for living costs or travel, since they do not require traveling to a specific location to complete the experience. You may, however, include any special software subscriptions (for example, Skype credits or the paid version of a particular platform required for your experience).
  • If I am engaging in a virtual EPIC Advantage internship, can I still ask for a savings goal as part of my budget?

    The savings goal is allowed for internships during term breaks, including winter break and summer break, as long as your internship meets the criteria in terms of minimal weeks and minimal total hours.
  • Given that summer 2020 EPIC Advantage experiences were canceled, can seniors participate in summer 2021 experiences?

    Seniors have never been allowed to participate in post-graduation Independent Student Experiences because the donor’s gift is for one career-discerning experience before graduation. We have worked with an exception for seniors to participate in Faculty-Led Summer Programs, though this was never intended to be a permanent option. This option will be available in summer 2021, but that is likely the final year of this exception.
  • What if I select a virtual experience, and the cost is well below the $5000 maximum? Does that mean that I am “wasting” my EPIC Advantage?

    No. The EPIC Advantage is about ensuring that every student has the funding to pursue one career-discerning experience that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive to you. It’s best not to think of it as a pot of money that must be spent fully to “get your money’s worth” but, instead, a grant that can fund the best possible experience for you with costs up to $5000 and within the allowable categories of expenses. For some folks – particularly during the pandemic– a virtual experience may be the ideal option. Holding a virtual internship during the fall or spring semester, for example, allows you to gain valuable professional experience and explore career pathways while leaving winter and summer breaks open for paid employment and/or additional career-discerning experiences. The best way to think about it is: what is available? And, of those options, what will best help me to plan my next steps in terms of my academic and professional pathway?

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