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Student Employment

Note: It is recommended that international students do not work during their first semester in the U.S., because they will need to focus on their studies and their adjustment to a new country.

On Campus Work: International Students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during the school term and up to 40 hours per week between terms. No authorization is needed for on-campus work. 

Students wishing to work on-campus may contact a department directly to ask about job openings, or can check the job listings in the Student Employment Office in the University Center building. Students then apply with each department. International Students are not eligible for “work-study”, a federal government funded program for U.S. citizens. Certain positions offered on campus are only available as “work-study” positions.

After finding a position, get a job offer letter from the department. Bring the letter to the International Student Advisors who will write another letter for you. Take both letters to the Social Security Administration office to apply for a Social Security Number. You cannot work in the U.S. until you receive this number. It may take two or more weeks for the Social Security Administration to process your application and issue you a Social Security Card. 

Students working on campus will need to meet with an employment specialist about the amount of taxes to be taken from the student’s paycheck (see page on taxes).

Off Campus Work: International students are generally not allowed to work off-campus. They may do so only in three specific cases: 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Students may do paid work off campus if enrolled in an internship or independent study course in their major. Students must complete an application form with the International Student Advising Office and secure a department recommendation. Students may not begin working until they receive authorization from the International Student Advisors. Read more..

Optional Practical Training (OPT) – international Students with F-1 visas are eligible to apply for 12 months of work authorization in the United States, usually following the completion of their coursework. Any employment undertaken during the 12 months must be related to the student’s field of study. Although there is an application process, the authorization is routinely granted and many international students choose to take advantage of the opportunity. The International Student Advisors assist students with the application process and make a recommendation for approval to USCIS. Approval can take three to four months. Read more..

OPT STEM Extension - Students in certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math majors may be eligible for a 17 month extension of OPT, beyond the original 12 month period. Read more...

Severe Economic Hardship – With the International Student Advisor’s assistance, student may apply to USCIS for permission to work off campus based on severe economic hardship. The student must have been in the U.S. for at least one academic year and must demonstrate that the reason for the current hardship was unforeseeable – fluctuations in funding, loss of scholarship, currency changes, medical bills, etc.