On-Campus Jobs for International Students
March 27th, 2015 by Lette Berhe

job imageThere may be those of you out there who have stayed on top of the application process and scholarship deadlines, but have also taken the time to determine what extra funds may be necessary apart from tuition. These extra funds can sometimes be crucial, due to the fact that most people underestimate what their daily living costs may actually be. It is always better to be prepared for unexpected expenses. The idea of spending an extended period of time in a foreign country and not having an influx of cash may be daunting, but you do have options. Although there are many international students who do not work during their time in the US, it is not impossible and could be a great option for those of of you who would like to make some extra cash.

What Qualifies as an On-Campus Job?
As an international student, when you are accepted into a university you are given a student visa (F1, J1, or M1). Attending a university with any of these three visas requires you to be a full-time student. As part of this requirement, you do not qualify for employment in the any US establishment. However, most campuses offer employment opportunities targeted at the student body, which also includes international students.

      • Physically On-Campus
        As the term indicate most jobs that fall under this umbrella are found in the departments and buildings physically on the university campus. Common employment opportunities include working in the university library, dining facilities, campus administrative office, and working as a teaching or research assistant. In addition to these positions sponsored by the university, international students are also eligible to work for any commercial business that has an on-campus venue. Which means that the commercial business is located within a university owned building. Some examples of this could be popular food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, or Subway.
      • Satellite Campuses Some of the larger universities have other campuses, in addition to the main campus, located around the city. Because the  campuses are property of the university, you should be allowed to apply for any open positions advertised. One of the most important prerequisites taken into consideration is whether the other campus is within a reasonable distance, allowing for an easy commute thus having no interference with your responsibility as a student. Be sure to speak with your academic adviser or your school’s Office of International Studies (OIS) for more information.
      • Off-Campus Employment
        The previous examples refer to the physical location of the working establishment; however, immigration regulations do allow for international students to work in an external, non-university location. Although it is possible, this option may be a little bit more difficult to obtain. To confirm that this will work for you, we recommend talking to your International Student Advisor to make sure you are in full compliance with your student visa. In general, however,
        an international student must satisfy the following qualifications to be employed off campus:

        1.There must exist some type of educational affiliation between the employer and the university.
        2.To be considered educationally affiliated, the position must be associated with the university´s established curriculum; or, the employer must have been contracted by the university to perform some type of graduate level research project.
        3.The position must prove to be a fundamental component of a student’s academic program.The above requirements of employment must be confirmed by your academic adviser. You should request an official letter from your department and submit it to the university´s Office of International Studies (OIS). If successful in receiving the green light for an off-campus position, it may be necessary to apply for a Social Security Number.

Since you are on a student visa, you are expected to be enrolled as a full-time student. Being that your course of study should be your priority, you will not be allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. However, the 20 hours a week is limited only to when school is in session; so you are able to work full-time during any vacation periods. This would apply for example, if you stay in the area during your Winter or Spring break.

Where to Look
Depending on the size of your chosen university you may be bombarded with job ads at every turn. However, because campus jobs are convenient there´s a lot of competition, which means starting early is key. Most campus departments (i.e. Psychology, Engineering, Linguistics, Spanish, etc.) offer some type of on-campus position.

      • On-line One of the best places to begin your job search is on your school´s website. Most universities have a job portal site where you can find employment for regular university staff positions or jobs targeted at university students.
      • Ask around It is quite common that campus departments prefer to hire students who are not studying a major within their school; for example, the Psychology department might prefer to hire a student studying cinema rather than a student studying psychology. This being the case, ask around to see if there are any openings; then, get to know your campus by checking out the different university departments, their bulletin boards, and asking what they may have available.

Work-Study vs. Non-Work Study Just like it is important to familiarize yourself with loan jargon, it is important to know what new expressions you´ll be running into on your job hunt. Whether you´re starting your search by surfing the web or giving yourself a personal tour of the university, it is important to decipher which jobs are available for international students. Once you’ve started your job search, you will probably see something like this:

Job Title: Recreation Operations Assistant
Pay Rate: $9.00/hour
Hours assistance is needed: Mon: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., Thurs: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Federal Work-Study

Now you may be asking yourself, ¨Federal work-study required; what does that mean?¨ In the world of on-campus jobs there are two types of job offers available to students, a work-study position or a non-work study position. What you need to know is that as an international student you are not eligible for work-study positions. Work-study positions are a type of financial aid that only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for. So if you see any job advertised requiring work-study, keep on looking.

Have more questions about working in the US? Check out our Working in the US section for some great tips!


  1. bikas kar says:

    Sir/madam,I am bikas kar.I am very poor student.I wants to study abroad.if any person can help me.so I Willvery success.

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