Employment Options

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment includes work done as a teaching or research assistant as well as jobs in the university library, dormitory dining facilities, laboratories, and administrative offices.
On-campus also includes employment with on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as stores or restaurants located in a University owned building (Examples: KUSSI (bookstore), Aramark (dining services), or PSECU (credit union)). On-Campus Employment criteria:

  • You must be enrolled full time during fall and spring semesters.
  • You may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session during the fall and spring semesters.
  • You may work more than 20 hours per week during official university holidays, breaks, and vacation period (winter and summer terms).
  • Students who currently have a full-time (20 hours) graduate assistantships are not eligible for additional on-campus employment. 
  • Students with multiple on-campus jobs are responsible for monitoring their eligible hours per week. 
  • You may not continue to work their on-campus job after the program end date (graduation date). 

Curricular Practical Training

Students who have studied for one academic year in full time status are eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT provides F-1 students temporary authorization for practical training/internship directly related to your major field of study. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year and during the summer vacation.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for authorized work related to your academic field of study. OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study is called "pre-completion" OPT. OPT authorization that begins after graduation is called “post-completion” OPT. Students in eligible S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors who are currently engaged in post-completion OPT may be eligible for a 24-month extension. Your job must be related to your STEM studies, and your employer must be enrolled in E-verify

Severe Economic Hardship

F-1 students who are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are enrolled full-time. It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during summer and semester breaks. This employment does not affect your Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility. F-1 students are only eligible for this authorization if:

  • You have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year. 
  • You are in good academic standing and are taking a full course load.
  • You must demonstrate that employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond your control and that other employment opportunities are either not available or otherwise insufficient to financial support you.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary internship or practicum for F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study. 

    Note: Twelve months or more of full-time CPT will disqualify you for Optional Practical Training (OPT), however, no amount of part-time CPT will count against the 12-month total for OPT.

    CPT Eligibility:

    • CPT may be paid or unpaid and part-time or full-time, depending on the requirement of the curriculum.
    • CPT can only be authorized if it is required by the major or you will be receiving academic credit. CPT can not be authorized for independent studies or individualized instruction. 
    • Undergraduate students must be lawfully enrolled in full-time studies for at least one academic year to be eligible for CPT.
    • Graduate students can participate in CPT immediately if it is required by the academic program; otherwise, the full-time attendance requirement for one academic year applies.

    How to apply for CPT:

    Step 1: You must have an offer of employment prior to requesting CPT.  Obtain a letter from the employer on company letterhead with the following information:

      • Student's job title
      • Student's job responsibilities
      • Start and End dates of the student's employment period - month, date, and year
      • Number of hours per week the student will work
      • Name and contact information for the student's direct supervisor
      • Employer Identification Number (required if you also need to apply for a Social Security Number)

    Step 2: Meet with your academic advisor and request a letter. Obtain a letter from your advisor with the following information:

    Option 1: CPT that will apply as an internship:

    • Verification of full-time student status
    • Anticipated program completion date
    • Internship course number and title and number of credits
    • A statement that, "The internship is an integral part of the student's curriculum." and a detailed description of how it is directly related to and meets the goals of the class
    • Confirmation that the internship will count towards fulfilling degree requirements
    • Start and End dates of the internship - month, date, and year

    Option 2: CPT that will apply as a practicum or research for graduate thesis or dissertation:

    • Verification of full-time student status
    • Anticipated program completion date
    • A statement that, "The internship is an integral part of the student's curriculum." and a detailed description of how it is directly related to and meets the goals of the class
    • Start and End dates of the internship - month, date, and year

    Step 3: Complete the CPT Request Form and email the above letters to international@kutztown.edu. Requests for CPT must be made at least 10 business days before you plan to begin the internship or practicum.

    Step 4: The International Office will issue you a new I-20 authorized for CPT. You will receive an email notification when this is ready. 

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    The OPT application can be filed online or through U.S. mail. Instructions are included below for each method. Both online and paper forms collect the same information, so choose the method that works best for you. 

     OPT Eligibility:

    • Enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine months by the time OPT will begin.
    • Does not have 12 months total of full-time CPT
    • Has not used all 12 months of OPT during pre-completion OPT for the current educational level. 

     OPT Employment:

    • Start Date: You can begin OPT employment on or after the start date indicated on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS. Work cannot begin before the approved start date printed on the EAD card.
    • Pre-Completion OPT: You may work up to 20 hours during the academic year or full-time during breaks
    • Post-Completion OPT:
      • Required to work a minimum of 20 hours per week
      • Maximum of 90 days unemployment permitted
    • Employment must be directly related to your area of study.

    Student Application Process

    Step 1: Review and prepare the OPT Filing Documents and Instructions.

    Step 2: Complete the OPT request form.

    Step 3:  The International Office will issue you a new I-20. You have 30 days from the issue date to apply for OPT. If you are filing online,

    Step 4: Submit the I-765 form. Do not submit the I-765 until after you receive the new I-20. 

    • Students may file for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before the academic program end date/graduation date, but no later than 60 days after the program end date/graduation date.
    • Standard processing time for OPT applications by USCIS is 60-90 days. 

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM Extension

    The STEM extension application can be filed online or through U.S. mail. Instructions are included below for each method. Both online and paper forms collect the same information, so choose the method that works best for you.

    STEM Extension Filing Instructions

    STEM Extension Process

    1. A student with a STEM-qualifying bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an accredited, SEVIS-certified U.S. educational institution, who is in a valid period of standard post-completion OPT, has an offer of paid employment for at least 20 hours per week from an employer enrolled in E-Verify.
    2. The student and the employer complete a Form I-983 Training Plan, and the student submits the completed plan to the DSO.
    3. The DSO reviews the Form I-983 submitted by the student, and determines that it is "complete, signed, and addresses all program requirements."
    4. The DSO updates the student's SEVIS record with a recommendation for a 24-month STEM OPT extension, and issues a new Form I-20 that reflects the STEM OPT extension recommendation.
    5. Within 60 days of the DSO's recommendation in SEVIS, and before the expiration of the student's post-completion OPT, the student files with USCIS: Form I-765, the Form I-765 filing fee, the STEM OPT Form I-20, and documentation of the STEM degree.
    6. The 24-month STEM OPT extension period begins on the day following the expiration of the student's standard post-completion OPT. If the Form I-765 is still pending as of that date, the student is authorized to continue employment for up to 180 days after the expiration of the student's post-completion OPT.
    7. USCIS will issue an EAD reflecting the approved STEM OPT extension.
    8. Throughout the STEM OPT extension period, the student, employer(s), and school comply with all reporting, training, supervision, evaluation, wage, documentation, and other obligations specified in the regulations and on Form I-983.

    STEM Extension Filing Deadlines

    • Before the expiration of the student's current post-completion OPT (standard or cap-gap), but no sooner than 90 days before that date; and
    • No later than 60 days from the date the DSO recommended the STEM OPT in SEVIS.

  • Severe Economic Hardship

    If you are in F-1 status for an academic year and have good academic standing, you may apply for "off-campus employment based on economic hardship." Documentation would have to show that part-time employment opportunities through on-campus employment were otherwise insufficient. Economic hardship refers to the financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control which arose after obtaining F-1 status. These financial problems may be the result of losing a graduate assistantship, the death of a financial sponsor, inflation in your home country causing the devaluation of currency or exchange rate, etc. If the financial problems are too great, it may not be possible to solve the problem through part-time employment.

    You are required to make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for off-campus employment based on economic hardship. If the economic hardship clause applies to your situation, please meet with the Designated School Official to request a recommendation for authorization to engage in off-campus employment. You may not work off-campus without special authorization from USCIS; unauthorized off-campus employment will result in termination of status. Please note, if you are authorized to engage in off-campus employment, you may only work part-time during the semester, and must continue to maintain a full-time course load. With authorization, you will be permitted to work full-time during regular university breaks.

    All off-campus employment must be approved by USCIS prior to job search and job placement.

    Students should consult the USCIS I-765 website for the most up-to-date information on forms, filing locations and fees.