THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE SCHOOL


Graduate School > Publications > Administration of Graduate Assistantships
 
International Students and INS Regulations
 
An F-1 student may accept employment at the institution he or she is authorized to attend without prior approval from INS, provided the student is enrolled in a full course of study and the employment will not displace a U.S. resident In this context, "displace a U.S. resident" means that an on-campus employer may not remove a U.S. worker to hire a foreign student.

On-campus employment primarily means work performed on the school's premises. It includes employment with "on-location commercial firms that provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria." It does not include employment on the school's premises for a commercial firm that is not providing on-campus services for students, for example, at a construction site for a new school building.

On-campus employment may also include work "at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school. In the case of off-campus locations, the educational affiliation must be associated with the school's established curriculum or related to contractually funded projects at the post-graduate level... [and] the employment must be an integral part of the student's educational program."

On-campus work is limited to 20 hours per week while the school is in session. Such employment may be full time during vacation periods (summer and winter and spring breaks) for students who are eligible and intend to register for the subsequent academic term. In this context, an F-1 student is eligible for on-campus employment if the student has maintained lawful F-1 status by maintaining full-time enrollment during the spring and fall terms and by maintaining valid immigration documents, i.e., INS Form I-20 and passport.

On-campus employment is not permitted after completion of a course or courses of study, except employment authorized for Optional Practical Training, accompanied by INS Employment Authorization Document (EAD), unless the student has been "issued a Form I-20 to begin a new program in accordance with the provision of 8 CFR 214.3(k) and ... intends to enroll for the upcoming regular academic year, term, or session at the institution which issued Form I-20." If the new Form I-20 is from a different school, the student may engage in on-campus work on the campus of the new school before classes begin or on the campus of the old school until the new school's classes begin. A student may arrive on campus and begin on-campus employment as early as three months prior to the beginning of his or her academic program.

Generally, all students who have provisional language admission status must complete the English Language Institute’s Intensive English Program with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the advanced levels (Levels 4, 5, and 6) or earn the minimum score on any of the following standard English proficiency tests before they may hold any form of assistantship:

  1. TOEFL: At least 550 on pBT or 79 on iBT.
  2. IELTS: Minimum requirement 6.5 on the IELTS.
  3. PTE:  Minimum requirement 59 on PTE Academic.

However, those students who do have provisional language admission status may be approved to hold an assistantship that is externally funded through a contract or grant.

All non-native speakers of English must successfully complete the University’s International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) before they can hold a teaching assistantship (category 4005 and 4401 occupation codes).


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