FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith was given a $1 million gift to its internship program from Doug Babb, the current chair for the UAFS foundation board, and his wife Kathy.

Blake Rickman, vice chancellor of university advancement says that the Babb’s “know the struggles that students go through and trying to pay for college, and the work that students are doing is really great work. So, Doug thought it was really important that they get paid for their work.”

The program will pay students who accept unpaid and nonprofit internships. The school says that students will be paid hourly.

Susan Krafft never understood why anyone would ask students to work hard for free. “You and I would never work for free. So, it’s not necessarily reasonable for us to expect our students to work for free,” Krafft said.

Krafft continued by saying that some of the students are eligible for Pell grants. “They’re working really hard to pay for school, and books, and gas and all of those things that add up very quickly,” Krafft said. “[It] oftentimes eliminates very talented students from doing an internship if it’s unpaid”.

Career center officials are hoping with this donation that they can help students moving forward.

The university is currently working to determine exact details including the application process and wages, but the school plans to have the program up and running by 2025.