On-Campus vs Off-Campus Jobs in US Universities. Pay in On campus & Off campus Jobs

On campus Jobs vs Off campus Jobs in USA – Pay Rate , Legal Status F1 Visa

Once we come to US as student, 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 legal and other is illegal on F1 visa. Let me explain you the differences and what are those.

What is an On Campus Job ?  

As the name says, you work “On Campus ” and it is part time. There is a cap of 20 hrs per week if you are a full time international student and working beyond 20 hrs is against the rule. 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.

So, what kind of On campus jobs do you get to do ?

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 quit a few of these on-campus jobs and you should be able to get one, if you search well. 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 

How much can you make in On-Campus  Job ? 

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 you get 7 USD per month, then on an average ( if you work 20 hrs ) per month 20 x 4 x 7 = $560.   Also, you should check this article on How to Get an on Campus Jobs

What are Off-Campus Jobs  ?

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, it is totally illegal and you can get into big trouble and even get deported.

What are the kinds of Off-campus  jobs ?

Typically, working in a Gas station as cashier and doing other work ( this is what people talk about students back in India, 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…

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.

 Working Off Campus is ILLEGAL and I DO NOT Recommend anyone to do that ! I have just posted this for your information based on my 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 ?

17 comments… add one

  • Sargive Sep 25, 2015 Reply

    If theres an off campus, and i took it, but its too late to apply for CPT in school. Then i accept the offer and start working, can i be paid by cheque? i also dont have a social security number so can i receive cheque payments or only cash?
    Thank you

    • Kumar Sep 25, 2015 Reply

      Working off campus without proper authorization from school and DSO is illegal. You should NOT engage in such off campus employment. If you have economic hardship, then you can work with your DSO to get special authorization to work off campus.

  • Sanjay Sep 3, 2015 Reply

    Hi there!
    would like to know the minimum average expense of living in us cities, since planing for a MS course in US therefore concerned.

    thanks in advance.

  • harwinder singh Jul 30, 2015 Reply

    sir,i m planning to go CANADA can i work on campus as well as of campus and also cannot i work little more than 20 hrs (per week)and last is , is there any disadvantage i would get as i m of 17 years (but finished my standard educ.)in canada while working….

  • Austin Jun 23, 2015 Reply

    hi I worked Off-campus and accepted a check as my pay for once will there be any problem !!!if so what are the consequences

  • Amit Feb 27, 2015 Reply

    I am planing to go to US but don’t have much Idea about it please help me out
    Looking for better prospect in US
    Even I am planing to do Off campus Job for an time been

    Please help me out

  • Shubham Dec 20, 2014 Reply

    Hello sir,
    In india after BE i.e. BS ,students are allowed to teach at diploma level student ….can we do such things in us ,,,is there any such diploma degree?

  • sameer gupta Sep 29, 2013 Reply

    Gr8 post. very helpful. Had a question!

    What about working online from within the campus? where i can take online assignment and all the deliverables as well are online?
    would it be counted legal?

    appreciate your help.

  • Raass Feb 11, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the information and service you are providing. Its a great help to many!

    I am in a strange situation and am unsure what to do. I am finishing undergrad and have an employer sponsoring for h1b authorization soon. Few summers back, I worked for a short period at a US company for internship. But I didn’t know about needing CPT auth. and employer also didn’t seem to be aware, so no action taken. I got some minor income and filed tax return also. My question, will this impact getting h1b and whether i should do anything now? I am doubtful to tell school now, since i heard other colleges make problem. should i tell attorney filing petition for company, about this?

    Please, kindly give some info/advice on what i should do… should i just not bring it up, and remove exp from CV? I don’t know whom to ask without starting problems. Please help!

    • Saurabh Feb 11, 2012 Reply

      IMO, you should at least let the attorney know about it, so that they can provide you the right guidance and be aware of any possible RFEs that USCIS may issue b/c of this. You can also talk to an independent attorney if you feel concerned approaching H-1 employer’s attorney.

  • IndianGuy Feb 15, 2011 Reply

    Hey Guys,

    Firstly, very nice website and Kudos to Kumar!
    Is working from Home allowed, I mean, having a job where you work at home and deliverables are completely online? So there is no physical interaction with anyone, just online and the money also comes in to the Bank Account or Paypal …

  • D D Apr 30, 2010 Reply

    When in a foreign country, be it the United States or anywhere else, try and stay away from 3 types of issues: (1) police/security issues (2) legal (immigration-related) issues and (3) medical issues; and you’ll be all fine. Of course, medical issues is something you cannot actively control, but surely stay away from issues# 1 and 2.

    • Zidan Mar 22, 2015 Reply

      Sir I am planning to go for mbbs degree in USA , so how much would be my average expanse In a month , where I prefer normal accomadation near to the main city and proper fooding ? PleAse help sir

  • D D Apr 30, 2010 Reply

    It is foolish to work off-campus. Find and get a job on-campus and try to work 20 hours/week. Beyond that, if you want to work off-campus, ask yourself whether you have come here on student visa or work permit. With the heavy course load and homeworks, midterms and other activities, 20 hours/week or TA/RA itself feels burdensome… Taking a risk by working off-campus illegally and not focusing on your studies is not worth it. (1) Work conditions at these places can be harsh and you cannot complain to anyone. (2) Also, at gas stations and other places, there is a slight risk involved and if a security issue arises and the police arrive, they will immediately grab hold of you since you are working illegally, although you might not be at fault. When you undergo background checks at companies for jobs, file for H1-B or green card later, you need to fill out if you were ever convicted in any police case… You are just ruining your chances of a good job/H1-B/green card for earning some meagre salary by working off-campus. I’d say: Not worth it!

    • Darshan Oct 12, 2010 Reply

      i did not intend to work off campus but unaware of the fact that the enterprise was off-campus, started working there. I worked there for 16 hrs and as soon as i came to know that it is off campus i left it. But now the college is thinking of legal action against me and punishing me. Please advise asap.

      • Kumar Oct 13, 2010 Reply

        Darshan, as replied on Facebook, please talk to your International student advisors and Dean of students. Accept your mistake and say you were not aware of it… They will be willing to help you as you were ignorant. Good Luck buddy ! Do NOT panic.

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