On-campus employment for F-1/J-1 international students is limited to 20 hours a week (part-time) during the fall and spring semesters and 40 hours a week (full-time) during summer and university breaks. F-1/J-1 undergraduate and graduate degree students may begin on-campus employment at the beginning of their first semester at USC. F-1 students are permitted to work on-campus and participate in CPT/Pre-Completion Academic Training (AT) simultaneously. For example, students can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus and additionally up to 20 hours per week on part-time CPT/Pre-Completion AT or over 21 hours per week on full-time CPT/Pre-Completion AT so long as the work does not interfere with academic progress.

Many international students apply for positions in various campus locations such as the bookstore, Department of Public Safety, libraries, Hospitality services, Transportation services or are employed through a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship in their academic department.

Students are advised to sign up for a direct deposit to receive payment for hourly work, stipends, and reimbursements.

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Work-Study Positions

International students are not eligible for work-study positions on campus, as these positions are funded only for U.S. citizens and permanent residents by the U.S. government. Work-study positions are advertised as “College Work-Study Preferred” or CWSP.

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Part-Time Enrollment and On-Campus Employment

Any international student working on campus must be enrolled in at least the minimum number of units below in order to be on USC payroll under U.S. Labor Laws. Please note that this is a separate issue from requesting a Reduced Course Load (RCL) and on-campus employment does not authorize students to go below full-time without RCL permission from OIS:

  • 6 units for undergraduates
  • 4 units for master’s degree students
  • 3 units for doctoral-level students

The only exceptions are:

  1. Students in their final semester*. Students in their final semester are permitted to work on campus if they are enrolled for less than the units mentioned above are required to submit a SEVIS Final Semester Check.
  2. Graduate students who register for thesis, dissertation or qualifying exams (GRSC 800) are considered to be enrolled full time although the number of units enrolled will be below the normal full-time course load. An RCL form is not required for students at these final stages in their academic program and they are permitted to work on campus.

*In order for students to work on campus and be paid by USC payroll, the student’s STARS report must be updated to indicate it is the student’s final semester. This is a separate process from submitting a Reduced Course Load (RCL) form to OIS. Updating the STARS report requires the student’s academic advisor to apply courses toward their degree and enter a “degree check” into the SIS record. This action causes STARS to identify whether the student has satisfied all graduation requirements. Once this action is completed, it takes approximately 24 to 48 hours for USC Payroll to receive the information. Once received, the student’s payroll coordinator will be able to process all payroll paperwork.

On-Campus Job-Search Resources

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Off-Campus Employment which may Qualify as On-Campus Employment

Immigration regulations allow international students to work at an off-campus location provided the following:

  1. The employer is educationally affiliated with USC
    • At present, only employment at Hebrew Union College and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is considered on-campus employment
  2. The educational affiliation is associated with USC’s established curriculum or is related to a graduate-level research project which USC has contracted to perform, AND
  3. The employment at this off-campus location is an integral part of the student’s academic program

OIS requires a letter from the student’s academic advisor confirming that the employment meets ALL of the qualifications above.

For clarification on whether an employment at off-campus location qualifies as on-campus employment, please consult with an OIS advisor.

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A Note of Caution

While the USCIS regulations provide a variety of opportunities for F-1/J-1 international students to be employed during their time in F-1/J-1 student status, working without proper authorization is a serious violation of the F-1/J-1 student status. Please consult with an OIS advisor with any concerns.

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