Work options for international students in the United States


Through Monika Setia

In our series on Special Topics Related to American Higher Education, this week we discuss an important topic that is of concern to many Indian students aspiring to study in the United States: work options for students. international.

Most international students travel to the United States for their graduate studies on an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa. Students holding an F-1 visa are allowed to work only on the campus of the institution where they are pursuing their study program. The country’s immigration laws do not allow international students to work off campus, with a few exceptions which we will discuss next week. Work opportunities on campus are also limited to 20 hours per week during the academic semester and 40 hours per week during academic breaks. Additionally, international students are only eligible for on-campus employment if they are enrolled full-time in a university program.

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On-campus work options depend on the availability of these positions. If a department or college offers assistantships, students can request it when applying or after admission. Most of the time, an assistantship means that the student does not pay the tuition fees and receives a scholarship or stipend which can cover part of the accommodation, meals, books and some personal expenses. The allowance for assistantships varies from institution to institution.

Assistantships are available to students in the form of Teaching Assistants (TA), Graduate Assistants (GA) and / or Research Assistants (RA) in which students assist their departments in the ‘teaching, research, teaching and research, or other department / college work. Students can check the department / college webpage or contact the department for more information on assistantship options.

Students can also apply for other on-campus jobs which are typically advertised through a student employment portal by most US institutions. There is a competition for all open positions, so students should plan to apply as early as possible. They should also take a close look at the eligibility criteria before applying for the position.

Next week, we’ll be discussing the off-campus work options – Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) – for international students.

– Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Advisor at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the United States Consulate General in Hyderabad. Please visit for more information)

Questions and answers

Q. My son plans to apply to US universities for undergraduate degree programs in the fall of 2022. We have encountered different application deadlines – please clarify the difference between each type.
– Rajeswar Reddy

A. Application deadlines for undergraduate (bachelor’s) programs in the United States vary by university. Admissions to the bachelor’s program at US universities have a few different application deadlines. “Regular decision” is the application process in which a student submits an application to an institution by a specified date and receives a decision within a reasonable and clearly stated time. The usual fall admission decision deadlines are usually between October and March. Students can apply to any number of schools for a regular decision without binding commitment.

Another type of application deadline is the ‘advance ruling’, for which a student can apply earlier than the usual decision deadline, but only at a university where, if offered admission, they must. accept. Thus, advance ruling admissions are binding. A student should go to only one university for a quick decision. The advance ruling deadlines are spread over the months of October and November. The next type is the “early action” deadline in which, like the advance ruling, students apply earlier than the normal ruling. However, students may consider more than one school for early action requests as admission is non-binding and requires no commitment. The early action times start in October. Not all universities in the United States offer early action and decision deadlines, so it is important to check the university’s website for application deadlines before starting the application.

Students should be aware of the pros and cons of opting for early decision and action, some of which were explained in this webinar available on the EducationUSA India YouTube channel – = 1CZ5zwxhhDU.

A Few universities also offer continuous admissions, in which they review applications as they are completed and make admission decisions to students throughout the admission cycle.

Q. I am leaving for my masters program in USA. Can I get a loan from a US bank to pay for my tuition?
– Avinash

A. Banks in the United States grant student loans to citizens of other countries only if they have a co-signer – a United States citizen who will be responsible for repaying the loan if you are unable to do so on your own. . An alternative to this option may be to take out a loan in India or to find a university that provides scholarships for international students.

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