(a) Student intern subsistence program (1) "Student intern" defined
In this subsection, the term "student intern" means a person who—
(A) is employed by the Department of Agriculture (referred to in this section as the "Department") to assist scientific, professional, administrative, or technical employees of the Department; and
(B) is a student in good standing at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) pursuing a course of study related to the field in which the person is employed by the Department.
(2) Payment of certain expenses by the Secretary
The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this section as the "Secretary") may, out of user fee funds or funds appropriated to any agency of the Department, pay for lodging expenses, subsistence expenses, and transportation expenses of a student intern at the agency (including expenses of transportation to and from the student intern’s residence at or near the institution of higher education attended by the student intern and the official duty station at which the student intern is employed).
(b) Cooperation with associations of colleges and universities (1) Authority to cooperate
Notwithstanding chapter 63 of title 31, the Secretary may enter into cooperative agreements on an annual basis with 1 or more associations of institutions of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) for the purpose of providing for Department participation in internship programs for graduate and undergraduate students who are selected by the associations from students attending member institutions of the associations and other institutions of higher education.
(2) Internship program
An internship program supported under this subsection (referred to in this subsection as an "internship program") shall provide work assignments for students within the Department and such other activities as the association that enters into the cooperative agreement under paragraph (1) with respect to the internship program (referred to in this subsection as the "cooperating association") and the Secretary shall determine. The nature of Department participation in an internship program shall be developed jointly by the Secretary and the cooperating association.
(3) Program coordination
The cooperating association shall coordinate an internship program, including—
(A) the recruitment of students;
(B) arrangements for travel of the students to Washington, District of Columbia, and to agency field locations;
(C) the provision of housing for students, if required; and
(D) all activities for the students that take place outside the Department work assignments of the students.
(4) Number and selection of students (A) Number
A cooperative agreement entered into under paragraph (1) shall specify the number of students that the Department will host each year and a list of work assignments to be provided for the students.
The cooperating association shall provide the Department with a pool of student candidates meeting the requirements for each work assignment identified by the Secretary. Final selection of the students for Department internship positions shall be made by the Secretary.
(5) Cost reimbursement
From such amounts as the Secretary determines are available each fiscal year for internship programs, and subject to such regulations as the Secretary may issue, the Secretary may reimburse a cooperating association for the Department share of all direct and indirect costs of an internship program, including student stipends, transportation costs to the internship site, and other costs of an internship program.
(6) Lead agency
The Secretary may designate a lead agency within the Department to carry out this subsection.
(7) Interagency agreements
Agencies and offices within the Department other than the lead agency—
(A) may enter into interagency agreements with the lead agency to provide work assignments for students participating in an internship program; and
(B) shall reimburse the lead agency for the direct and indirect costs of each student assigned to the agency under an internship program.
(8) Federal employee status
A student who participates in an internship program shall not be considered a Federal employee, except for purposes of chapter 81 of title 5, and chapter 171 of title 28.
AMENDMENTS 1998—Subsecs. (a)(1)(B), (b)(1). Pub. L. 105–244 substituted "section 1001 of title 20)" for "section 1141 of title 20)".EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1998 AMENDMENT Amendment by Pub. L. 105–244 effective Oct. 1, 1998, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 105–244, see section 3 of Pub. L. 105–244, set out as a note under section 1001 of Title 20, Education.
7 U.S.C. § 2279c (2018)