CAmpus Employment Options


Image: International students at Hiram

F-1 STUDENT EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS

International students who hold an F-1 visa are eligible to work on campus at Hiram College.  However, there are regulations governing on campus employment and it is the students responsibility to understand and abide by these regulations.

On-Campus Employment

To be eligible for on-campus employment, students must:

  • Be in good academic standing
  • Continue to engage in a full course of study, except for official school breaks and the student’s annual vacation

In order to maintain lawful status in the U.S., students who hold an F-1 visa must:

  • Limit on-campus work hours to NO MORE than 20 hours per week while school is in session.  During the winter and summer breaks, students are eligible for full-time work on campus
  • Complete all paperwork required for payroll and tax withholding with the payroll office in Teachout Price Hall.  A social security number is required for payroll and tax withholding. Students who do not already have a social security card may request assistance from the International Student Advisor to apply for a social security card upon receiving an on-campus job offer

There are two classifications of on-campus employment at Hiram College:

  1. Non-Federal Work Study
  2. Federal Work Study

Non-Federal Work Study jobs may be held by U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents (LPR), and students with an F-1 visa. Popular places on campus that offer “Non-Work Study” positions include Dining Services, Catering, the International Student Services Office, Dray Computer Center, Welcome Center, Business Office, and Admissions. For more job opportunities, please visit Student Job Central (on portal under the student tab).

Federal Work Study positions are available only to U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents who have applied for and been approved for Work Study through the FAFSA form. Students on an F-1 visa are not eligible for Work Study positions.

Off-campus employment is permitted ONLY with authorization from the Designated School Official/International Student Advisor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows F-1 students to gain practical training experience that is authorized as an “integral part of an established curriculum”. Such training is defined as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” CPT may be part-time or full-time.

If you plan to engage in CPT, you should discuss your plans at least two weeks in advance with the International Student Advisor.

Eligibility for CPT

As an F-1 student, you may engage in CPT if you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You have been lawfully enrolled in school full-time for at least one full academic year.
  • Your proposed training is directly related to your major/minor field of study.
  • Your academic program requires an internship experience OR you will earn college credit toward your major from your training experience.
  • You meet criteria of eligibility proposed by your academic department (e.g. class standing, minimum GPA).
Applying for CPT
  1. Check that the major stated on your I-20 is correct and matches the major declared with the Hiram College Registrar. If your major is incorrect, you will need a new I-20. Please see the International Student Advisor for details. Allow sufficient time to process the change of program on your I-20.
  2. Make an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss your eligibility and the application requirements for CPT.
  3. Meet with your Faculty Advisor regarding departmental internship requirements.
  4. Secure an internship opportunity through your academic department, Career Services, or on your own efforts.
  5. Request an internship offer letter from your internship site supervisor. The letter must include:
    1. Your name
    2. Job title
    3. A brief description of your proposed duties
    4. Beginning date of training (this date must be a future date)
    5. Ending date of training
    6. Hours per week (full time or part-time)
    7. Location of employment (street address, city, and state)
    8. Name and contact information for the employer (supervisor’s business card is preferred)
    9. Printed on letterhead and containing an original signature
  6. Meet with your Faculty Advisor to complete the Curricular Practical Training Recommendation Form and course add slip.
  7. Register for the designated departmental course and request a photocopy of the signed add slip.
  8. Make an appointment with the International Student Advisor and bring the following items:
    1. CPT Recommendation Form
    2. Internship Offer Letter
    3. Photocopy of the course registration form
    4. Internship course syllabus or course description from your department
    5. Prior I-20’s and passport

When all documentation is in order, you will receive a new I-20 with the CPT authorization on page 2.

Please note: You may not begin employment until the Form I-20 with CPT authorization is in your hand.

While participating in CPT

  • CPT is authorized one semester at a time to verify continued eligibility.
  • Do not begin training until your I-20 is endorsed and in your hand.
  • You are authorized to work only with the company at the location indicated in the internship letter and during the dates stated on page 2 of your I-20.  If any of these details will change, you and your faculty advisor must notify the International Student Advisor in writing to alter the conditions of your authorization.  Your Form I-20 must be updated and in your hands, BEFORE you may begin training under the new parameters.
  • Withdrawing or dropping credits that are tied to CPT authorization immediately voids the CPT authorization.
  • You are still in F-1 student status while on CPT and must continue to notify the International Student Advisor of changes to your address, program, or financial information.
  • You may travel into and out of the US while on CPT provided you have your I-20 signed by the International Student Advisor each semester.

Please note: If you participate in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are NOT eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) following graduation.

There are few options for students wishing to work off-campus legally. Authorized CPT, authorized OPT, authorized employment with an International Organization, and employment based on severe economic hardship.

U.S. Immigration regulations stipulate:

“If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control” [8 CFR 214.2 (f)(9)(ii)(C)].

Eligibility for Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization

To be eligible for off-campus employment authorization based upon severe economic hardship, F-1 students have to meet the following conditions:

  • Must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
  • Must be in good academic standing and registered full-time
  • Be prepared to show that employment will not interfere with their studies
  • Must be able to explain why other employment opportunities on campus are either unavailable or insufficient to meet their needs
  • Must prove to USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.  Examples of unforeseen economic hardship include:
    • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
    • Substantial fluctuations in the value of the currency or exchange rate
    • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
    • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support
    • Medical bills
    • Other substantial and unexpected expenses

Severe Economic Hardship can be difficult to prove. Please contact the International Student Advisor for further information and application procedures.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment that is directly related to a student’s program of study and is commensurate with the level of studies. F-1 students are eligible to apply for up to 12 months of OPT for each higher degree. For example, if a student obtains a Bachelor’s degree and utilizes twelve months of OPT for that degree, the student may apply for another twelve months of OPT at the Graduate level. Students who have pursued a STEM field may be eligible for a 24-month extension.

Optional Practical Training for F-1 students falls into three categories:

  • During annual vacation, if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next term or session
  • While school is in session provided that OPT does not exceed 20 hours per week
  • Full-time after the completion of a degree.

To be eligible for Optional Practical Training, the student must have completed one full academic year. For Pre-Completion OPT, students may submit the application no sooner than 90 days before reaching the one full year of study and no sooner than 120 days before the proposed employment start date.

For Post Completion OPT, students may apply no more than 90 days before completion of the program (at Hiram, this is the last day of classes in the final term). For best results, students are encouraged to file a TIMELY application, which means BEFORE completion of the program.

OPT approval may take more than 90 days to process. Please plan appropriately.

Applying for Optional Practical Training

The following is a checklist of application materials needed to request an OPT Recommendation from the Office of International Student Services:

  • F-1 OPT Recommendation Request verifying the intended program completion date for Post-Completion OPT or proof of enrollment for one full academic year for Pre-Completion OPT.  You may obtain this form from the International Student Advisor.
  • Copies of all Form I-20s (Hiram and previous school I-20s)
  • Copies of the passport (unexpired), I-94, and F-1 visa stamp
  • Two recent photos (Passport Style) – Lightly print your name on the back of each photo with a pencil.
  • Prior EADs or denial notices from prior applications (if applicable)
  • Form I-765 – On Form I-765, students are encouraged to use the Office for International Student Services address.   Mailed responses from USCIS will not be forwarded if you change addresses during the period the application is pending.   The eligibility category is (c) (3) (A) for pre-completion OPT, (c) (3) (B) for post-completion OPT, and (c) (3) (C) for a 24-month extension.
  • Official transcripts or copies of your diploma showing your program of study (required for STEM majors applying for the 24-month extension)
  • Check made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $550.00 (new fee effective October 2, 2020)

All checklist items should be brought to the Office for International Student Services.  The International Student Advisor will then issue an I-20 with the OPT recommendation on Page 2.  Before returning the Application to the student, the International Student Advisor will make photocopies of all application materials for the student file.  The complete application will be returned with an envelope and appropriate mailing address.  It will then be the student’s responsibility to mail the application.

Within 7-10 days, a receipt notice with a receipt number and date that the application was received should arrive at the address listed on Form I-765.  Once this notice is received, the application status may be found online using the receipt number.

OPT approval is not guaranteed.  Employment may not begin until written approval from USCIS in the form of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) has been received. When an adjudication notice is received, please send a copy of the notice along with the EAD card (front and back) to the Office for International Student Services.

It is also important to remember that once OPT is awarded, it cannot be canceled or saved.