Drexel University said Wednesday that the Lenfest Foundation has pledged $3 million to supplement the salaries of students working cooperative education jobs in the nonprofit cultural sector.

The university has heard concerns over the years that co-op students working in those jobs earn less than their counterparts — or in some cases nothing — in the corporate. health sciences, technology, and other for-profit settings, who are traditionally paid $15,000 to $30,000. Under the co-op program, Drexel students typically spend several semesters working full-time jobs, usually related to their field of study.

The donation from philanthropists Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest will allow the university to fund eight co-op jobs a year.

"This gift will offer Drexel students meaningful, substantive interactions with our community's cultural sector," president John A. Fry said in a statement, "while providing cultural organizations with much-needed insight from a young demographic, as these organizations consider how to sustain themselves and thrive in the future."

The university has named its Center for Cultural Partnerships in honor of the Lenfests.