On campus Jobs vs Off campus Jobs in USA - Pay Rate

What are On-Campus, Off-Campus Part time Jobs in US for F1 Students ?

In Student Life by KumarUpdated : 31 Comments

As an international student in US, most of the them try to find ways to support themselves financially. They prefer not to ask parents for money either it is for fees or for expenses. Typically students do two kinds of Jobs to support themselves. One is on-campus and other is off-campus. Each of them has their own rules, when you are studying on F1 visa. In this article we will look all those details related to part time jobs in US for F1 students.

What is an On-Campus Job or Part Time Job in US University?

As the name says, you work “On Campus ” in the University and it is part time. Part time means, there is a limit of 20 hrs per week if you are a full time international student studying on F1 visa. Working over 20 hrs is against the rule and you will NOT be allowed to work on-campus, with one exception of Summer semester.  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, which is up to 40 hrs per week 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 at 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 part time jobs you may get tuition waivers, depending on the type of the on campus job. The waiver primarily depends on the job category and the school. 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 ? 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. You may watch the short video below to get an idea. Also, you should check this article on How to Get an On Campus Jobs in US as Student .

What are Off-Campus Jobs  ? Is it illegal to work off campus ?

Unlike on-campus job, you do not work on campus. You work outside of University campus. Anything that is not affiliated with University is called Off campus Job. This is a typical term used by international students as “Off Campus Job”. In general, 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 some 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 by ICE Officer. So, never engage in such Off Campus work, it is not worth your time and risk. You risk your future of studying and working in US, if you engage in such illegal off-campus job.

What are the various kinds of Off-campus jobs ?

Typically, depending on the authorization you get for off campus you can work in administrative assistant 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 McDonald or Subways which are owned by Indians, Working in Indian stores, etc…  This is absolutely illegal to work as F1 student, this is just for your information.

How much do you make in Off-Campus Part time Job ? Pay ?

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 or more. 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 we do NOT Recommend anyone to do that ! we 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 ?


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Comments ( 31 )

  1. KC


    Great Post. Thanks for the detailed information.

    I’m having 4 years of Experience in IT field in India from one of the top most MNC.
    I’m planing to do MS, So i found few consultancies, they are offering the Jobs in US with their Clients for hourly based with the Same profile which i’ve already been working
    My question is If I apply for MS, then the university is ready to approve CPT from Day one ( Because I’m already holding a Offer Letter from the Client) ? If Yes then How far it will be valid and is it a good option for me to choose that ?

    Waiting for your reply .

    Best Regards

    1. administrator

      CPT from day one is a big scheme that is prone to fraud. Read CPT Fraud and you can end up in big trouble. If your goal is to work, you should pursue H1B or L1 visa and try not to take shortcuts, you can be in big trouble. Be careful my friend !

      1. KC

        Thanks for the detailed Information Kumar.

        One More Query:
        How to Apply L1 ? Could you please suggest me for L1 process ?

  2. Divya

    I am Divya, I am Bds student in India and I am interested to study MHA in US. Just brief me abt the course and career. I am married so is there any possibility to take my husband also as a dependent so that he can work there. I want to kno what is the cost of living and how much money is needed for 2 person for one month. What abt the part time jobs??
    Please help me out

  3. Laksh baweja

    HI there,

    I’m from INDIA and i had completed my graduation by this year only,
    I am planning for my post graduation in US , can you please tell me avg. expense to reside there for a student (i.e residential +food + other small expenses ) ?

    Thank you 🙂

  4. Aakash

    i am a dropped out engineer. i completed my school graduation in 2011 and now i wanted to go to the USA for re graduation. and yeah i am a national level athlete. will it be helpful for me to get there ? and yess, my academics of the high school were good. i graduated with 72%.

    pls reply !

    1. administrator

      Well, I am not sure, how much your national athelete status would help. You can try writing to the athletic division of the schools or the admission department. If you are dropped out, then you can consider transferring some of these credits and completing your undergraduate degree. You may be asked to take SAT and TOEFL to study in US. I suggest you check with few schools on what are the best options. You can email the admissions explaining your situation…

    2. Kashish Bansal

      I’m a former student at the SAIC and I want to know about the living expenses in Chicago Loop and areas around it also how much can I possibly earn by working on campus and is it enough to pay my rent and utilities?

  5. Sargive

    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

    1. administrator

      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.

  6. Sanjay

    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.

  7. harwinder singh

    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….

  8. Austin

    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

  9. Amit

    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

  10. Shubham

    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?

  11. sameer gupta

    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.

  12. Raass

    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!

    1. administrator

      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.

  13. IndianGuy

    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 …

  14. D D

    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.

    1. Zidan

      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

  15. D D

    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!

    1. Darshan

      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.

      1. administrator

        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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