The typical market price for software engineering interns in my city is 22-25$/hour. In more tech-centered cities, I received referrals from current employees for positions that pay between 45-60$/hour, with 6k-9k housing stipends and addition perks.
Money isn't everything to me however and they are a few companies in my city I would like to work for despite having lesser perks. This being said, 30-35$/h is my ideal range which I believe is fair and better reflects my level of experience.
I realize that several companies have caps for intern salaries and my ideal range is potentially exceeding it, so I'm wondering what might be the best way to approach this topic with potential employers. For example, should I be upfront and mention my expectations at the interview stage, or wait for an offer and then negotiate? Should I bother to negotiate if my range exceed their caps or should I simply politely walk away? In sum, how should I approach this topic to better maximize my chances of success?