An important article for you to consider, and it comes from the Washington Post: Do you want to pay in order to secure an internship in a competitive environment such as Washington D.C? An equally interesting article comes from the Yale Daily News, which discusses the (supposed) merits of an internship.
Full disclosure before I move on: I have been a faculty leader at four academic seminars put on by The Washington Center, which is discussed in the aforementioned article, and I know many people who work there. You're not going to find a stronger advocate for TWC and the opportunities it provides its students.
Perhaps the unwritten but certainly implied statement associated with the Post's article is that of personal and family income. My sense is the newspaper is suggesting that programs such as TWC's cater to suburban and well-to-do families. And if they are, then the further implication is that such programs reinforce the differences in class that exist in the U.S.
If that's the point, then the newspaper has done a disservice to these programs. Granted, it takes a considerable amount of money to take part in such programs. Granted, the opportunities will not be available to all students. But that shouldn't in any way be taken as an exclusionary or elitist program.
If I've misread the purpose of the article, so be it. And I certainly welcome any interpretation you have.