The rate of pay for a student’s internship must be at least federal, state or local minimum wage. Housing cannot be the sole form of compensation.
Government and non-profit agencies are not required to pay interns, but are still expected to provide a learning experience that benefits the intern. Care must be taken to ensure that if an internship is unpaid, it falls clearly within the legal guidelines that make it a learning experience and not a job.
If you are a for-profit employer interested in employing an intern, you are required to comply with the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs minimum wage requirements in for-profit organizations.