The Way Out Fund
The Way Out Fund

The Way Out Fund

The Way Out Fund

How are young people going to find their way out in the world when they cannot establish the networking opportunities and internship experiences that allow them to compete with students who have the financial means to engage in multiple internships with multiple companies, in cities across the country and around the world?

Scott Caldwell
Lead Donor and Former Berea College Trustee

A Career and Connectivity Catalyst 

The Way Out Fund provides Berea’s students with the financial support they need to accept internship opportunities without the fear of accumulating debt. This unique fund seeks to explicitly remove the financial barriers that a Berea student will face making these hands-on experiences affordable for all students. The Way Out Fund was established by Scott, Robin, Collin, and Creighton Caldwell to help cover the costs that might prevent an excellent student from pursuing a life-changing opportunity.

I, like many students, knew a good internship was the way to a great job and ultimately an amazing career. I also knew good internships came at a price–relocation, housing, and general living expenses were just a few. Not to mention, many internships at good companies were often unpaid or minimum wage. Just like my pathway to college, it was not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘how’. This is where The Way Out Fund, and donors like you, come in.

Layla Lee
Portrait of Layla Lee '15

How will Berea students afford their internships?

Layla was offered an internship supporting one of the largest healthcare systems in the U.S. The opportunity required her to move to an on-site location and would have resulted in $4,000 in out-of-pocket expenses:

  • Housing: $2,500
  • Transportation: $500
  • Business Attire and Food: $1,000

Total: $4,000


Our continuing commitment is to help each student progress toward a degree while developing the skills, knowledge, and habits necessary for success and fulfillment. Participation in high-impact learning opportunities such as internships is key to realizing our commitment. Internships are linked to increases in graduation rates and lead to richer educational experiences that move students forward on their chosen career paths.

Internships are high-impact, pivotal educational experiences that change lives, and it is easy for people to get excited about being part of that. Since many excellent internship positions are unpaid, The Way Out Fund makes it possible for students to participate in opportunities that allow them to develop skills, expand their professional networks, and come away with greater confidence in themselves and clarity in terms of their career direction.

Esther Livingston
Director of Internships


But internships, many of which are unpaid, present a significant financial burden for Berea’s students. Expenses such as travel, room and board, as well as professional business attire can put internships out of reach.

Your gift to The Way Out Fund—a true career and connectivity catalyst—makes you a part of our students’ success

I got lucky, my internship with The Resource Group provided me with a housing stipend to cover most of my expenses. In addition, the internship was a paid one which meant I didn’t have to take a second job or worry about my daily living expenses. Not all students get this lucky. Becoming a donor creates equitable opportunities for students so they can take a chance, expand their knowledge, and immerse themselves fully.

Jean-Paul ’24

I have a tendency to underestimate myself and quite honestly I think many students who are low-income have the same lack of confidence. The financial aid provided by Berea through debt-free tuition, The Way Out Fund, and more are ways to reduce this burden and give students like me a chance to free up mental space and think about who we are, our life goals, and how we can get there.

Tori '23

Internships allow students to see a different future for themselves. In addition, internships can provide intangible benefits such as confidence, professional socialization, and autonomy. Personally, my internships gave me meaningful experiences where I was able to contextualize what working in the ‘real world’ was like, and in turn, was better prepared to succeed and improve my life post-graduation.

Yabsira Ayele ’19