WORK ON CAMPUS
International students in the U.S. in F-1 status may not accept off-campus employment unless they receive authorization from USCIS. Working without authorization is one of the most serious violations of visa status and can result in you having to return home to obtain a new visa. It can also result in immediate deportation. Please talk to Aaron, Luyen, or Kara if you have any questions about employment authorization.
If you accept an on-campus job, then consult the W-4 Form instructions under the Taxes section of the ISP website for more information on filling out this document. You will need your W-4 to give to your employer for tax purposes. Be sure to update your information in Glacier.
You will also need to complete and sign a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Further information about completing this form and establishing identity and employment eligibility as an international student can be found on the Form I-9 section of the USCIS website.
Student Employment as Financial Aid
On-campus employment is considered a form of financial aid. Students authorized to work on campus by the Financial Aid Office may do so without any special work authorization, but are governed by the following immigration rules:
- Employment is performed on the school’s premises, or considered student employment by the Financial Aid Office.
- Employment must not exceed 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- Employment may be full-time when school is not in session if the student is both eligible and intends to register for the next term.
- Students may not be employed on campus after completion of their studies (unless doing this under the terms of Optional Practical Training) or graduation.
Finding a Job
For their first year of student employment, students are placed by the Student Employment Office in available positions. These placements are the result of matching a department’s job requirements to the student’s skills, abilities, and experience indicated on the financial aid “Application for Student Employment” form.
After the first year of employment, students are responsible for their own placement. Every spring, students are able to participate in a job search. This self-placement process informally continues up to late summer, at which time first-year and transfer students may be placed in these other departments. Jobs can be found online at the Student Employment Job Postings site or through direct communication with the department for which the student wishes to work.
Macalester College uses a job classification process to ensure that all student employees are being paid equally while working in similar positions. Student Employment determines job tier level and pay rates in accordance with comparable positions in other departments and tier guidelines. First year students generally work 10-12 hours each week to reach their maximum student employment award.
Non-Aid Student Employment
Students who do not have a student employment award as a part of their financial aid package must wait until October 1st of fall semester or the third week of classes of spring semester to start applying for Tier I positions. However, they do not need to wait to apply for Tier II and Tier III positions, which require a higher or specific skill level. An example of an approved no-need (often Tier II or Tier III level) position is a preceptor. A preceptor must have taken and received a specific grade in the course they are precepting, and must also carry a specific GPA according to department requirement in order to be hired. This type of position could be filled by either a financial aid or no-need student. While students with a student employment award are often given priority for positions, non-aid students should not feel discouraged to apply for available positions. Once hired, non-aid students also need to request a Student Employment Authorization Form.
Social Security Number (SSN)
In order to be employed at Macalester or anywhere in the U.S., students must have a valid U.S. government-issued social security number. (More information can be found on our Social Security Number page). A Social Security card is necessary in order to be employed in the U.S., but it is only valid for employment if you (as an F-1 student) have employment authorization granted by USCIS or ISP. When filling out your W-4 form to present to your employer, you will have to write down your Social Security number. Students who have been granted permission to work are not required to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes during the first 5 years they are in the U.S.
The summer employment program is administered by the Student Employment Office for the months of June, July, and August. Employment may be full-time or part-time.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
CPT is temporary employment authorization used for a paid or unpaid internship related to your major (no minors or concentrations) and must be registered for academic/internship credit. Students who have enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year are eligible for CPT.
You are limited to 12 months of full-time CPT; however, you may accumulate the 12 months throughout your Macalester experience. Additionally, there is no limit to the amount of times you may work part-time.
- Training relates directly to the student’s major area of study (no minors or concentrations).
- Employment, e.g., internship, research position, must be registered for academic credit before the appropriate Drop/Add Date.
- Designated school official (DSO) (an ISP staff member) authorized CPT in SEVIS, and the authorization prints on the student’s new I-20.
- No employment, training/orientation, or related work activity may be conducted BEFORE I-20 issuance; doing so may mean lost of student status.
- Occurs before the student’s program end date on the I-20.
- Authorization is for one specific employer and for a specific period of time.
- Student must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized.
- Student can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time.
- One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student’s eligibility for OPT.
- Find an internship.
- Complete your Learning Contract on Handshake.
- Use your legal (passport) name in the Learning Contract.
- Include the physical or street address of your employer (even for remote work).
- Bring a signed add/drop slip or summer registration slip from the Internship Program to the Registrar’s Office to register your internship for credit.
- ISP must issue you a new I-20 authorizing CPT employment BEFORE you begin any work.
Time to complete authorization process: approximately 1-2 business days (plus internship search)
For more information on CPT, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Study in the States CPT site.
Employment Info for Student and Employer
See the below resource for information on how to talk to your potential employer about hiring international students.
SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP (SEH)
You may apply for SEH if something unforeseen has happened to your financial situation (e.g., significant devaluation of your currency, loss of a sponsor, or an unexpected change in your family’s income).
Authorization is for one year and it is renewable. Authorization allows you to work 20 hours or fewer while school is in session and full-time during the breaks (i.e., between semesters, during summers, and over Spring Break).
- Write a cover letter to USCIS explaining the unforseen financial hardships beyond your control which necessitate applying for Severe Economic Hardship.
- Complete the Form I-765.
- Get two passport Photos (at CVS or Walgreens).
- Decide the dates you wish to be employed.
- Visit Aaron, Kara, or Luyen at ISP to have information entered into SEVIS.
- Bring check for $410 made payable to “Department of Homeland Security.”
- Mail Form I-765, photos, and check to:
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Time to complete authorization process: approximately 80-120 days