As an international student in US, we all try to find ways to support ourselves. We try not to ask parents for money either it is for fees or for expenses. Typically students do two kinds of Jobs. One is on-campus and other is off-campus. Each of them has their own rules as you are on F1 visa. Let me explain you the differences and what are those.
What is an On Campus Job in US University?
As the name says, you work “On Campus ” in the University and it is part time. There is a limit of 20 hrs per week if you are a full time international student. Working over 20 hrs is against the rule and you will NOT be allowed to work campus, with one exception of Summer. As summer is an optional term, you can only work for more than 20 hrs in Summer, when you are not taking any classes. Technically, if you are not enrolled in classes, you can work full time up to 40 hrs in summer term.
What are the various On campus jobs that Universities offer ?
On-campus jobs are typically jobs meant to support the University operations. Typically, jobs like working in library shelving books, working in Computer Labs taking care of printers, terminals, etc. Working in cafeterias, receptionist in an university’s offices, admin kind of stuff in several offices like international students office or academic affairs office. In fact, a decent size university would have quite a few of these on-campus jobs and you should be able to get one, if you search well and there are not many international students. Working On-Campus is legal and allowed by immigration law. Also, for some of these jobs you may get tuition waivers and it only depends on school and type of job. Typically tuition fee waivers are common for Teaching assistantship (TA), Graduate Assistantships (GA) and Research assistantships. Read Funding in US Universities TA, RA and GA . On a side note, I had two on campus jobs during my student days, one was working in library and other was working as research assistant…used to hate going to library for the 8 AM shift 🙁
How much can you make in On-Campus Job ? What is the Pay ?
Well, it depends a lot on the state minimum wage that you are working in and the University classification for a job. You can make anywhere from 7 to 12 dollars or more. It amount per hour varies by state. Imagine, state minimum is $7 USD, so the University pays you about the same of 7 USD per hour, then on an average ( if you work 20 hrs a week ) per month 20 x 4 x 7 = $560. Thats decent amount of money to support your expenses in most of the places with sharing. Also, you should check this article on How to Get an on Campus Jobs
What are Off-Campus Jobs ? Is it illegal to work off campus ?
Unlike above, you do not work on campus. You work outside of campus. Anything that is not affiliated with University is called Off campus Job. Typically, it is ILLEGAL to work off campus if you are on F1 Visa, unless you get an exception and waiver from school for severe economic hardship. It is not very uncommon for students to engage in some sort of off campus job because they do not have a choice to support themselves. You see students take this path, when they are having hard time finding jobs on campus and in need for money. From Immigration perspective, if not approved by school under economic hardship, it is totally illegal and you can get into big trouble and even get deported. So, never engage in such work, it is not worth your time and risk.
What are the kinds of Off-campus jobs ?
Typically, depending on the authorization you get for off campus you can work in admin roles to working in a Gas station as cashier and doing other work ( this is what people talk about students back home, saying he was cleaning floor and stuff filling petrol ) , working in a Motel as front desk person to handle customers ( just like lodge in India working at front desk ), working in different stores in Malls, Working at restaurants ( Food is free, may people do this ) or anything like Mc Donald or Subways which are owned by Desis, Working in Desi stores, etc… This is absolutely illegal to work as F1 student, this is just for your information.
How much do you make Off Campus :
It all varies by negotiation and state minimum wage. As it is illegal to work without proper authorization from school, students are paid anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars. It depends on the type of job, it is up to your boss to decide. But, most of the times the owners are good and they pay around market rate. Some good students get carried away by the money they see in off campus and ruin their education. So, it has to be watched out carefully and not advised to work off campus. You can be deported.
Working Off Campus is ILLEGAL and I DO NOT Recommend anyone to do that ! I have just posted this for your information based on general knowledge. Consequences of working off campus can be very bad., if you are found or caught working illegal, you can be potentially deported too. Be careful
Did you work on-campus or off-campus ? What has been your experience ?