On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are eligible to work on-campus while attending classes. The work does not need to be related to your field of study. You must maintain legal F-1 status while engaging in on-campus employment. On-campus employment job postings can be found at careers.umich.edu. Make sure to filter the results for the Flint campus. Employment at the Dearborn or Ann Arbor campuses is not considered on-campus employment for F-1 students at UM-Flint.

Note: As a reminder, currently enrolled F-1 international students are not permitted to work off-campus or to work on campus for credit without prior CPT authorization. 


  • Earn extra $$.
  • Work experience looks good on a resume.
  • Meet new people and make friends.
  • Develop communication skills and various other skills.
  • Learn to manage your time and juggle many projects at once.
  • Recommendation letters and personal references for future employment or education.

Definition of 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 (University Pavilion or University Center).


  • You must be enrolled full-time during fall and winter semesters.
  • You may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session during the academic year (fall and winter semesters).
  • You may work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) on campus during official university holidays, breaks, and vacation periods (spring and summer semesters for most students).
  • You may not engage in on-campus employment after the program end date listed on your I-20 or if you otherwise fail to maintain F-1 status.

You are not eligible for the UM-Flint work-study program. The work-study program provides jobs for students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education expenses. Under the work-study program, a percentage of a student’s earnings is paid through federal or state funds, and the student’s employer pays the remainder.

What to Consider

  • Preferably, the job should be one which looks good on a resume and provides learning experiences and valuable skills (communication skills, computer skills, etc.).
  • Try to choose a job that might eventually lead to a better job. For example, work as a grader, then go on to become a teaching assistant (TA).

Documentation Needed After Getting a Job

When you get an on-campus job, you will need to complete the following forms with Human Resources:

  • I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification)
  • State and federal withholding allowance certificate (W-4) forms
  • Direct Deposit Authorization Form if you would like to have your paychecks directly deposited into your bank account.


  • The Center for Global Engagement can provide you with a copy of the Social Security Application (SS-5) so you can apply for an SSN with Social Security Administration.
  • When you get an on-campus job, you will be required to pay tax on your earnings.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

As described by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), an F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)].

The CGE considers two types of CPT, required and non-required. 

  • Required CPT: The program requires all students to have practical work experience in the field of study in order to receive the degree. 
  • Non-Required CPT: It is an integral part of the student’s curriculum and pursuant to a course with a formal practical training component. 

CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application.

CPT employment may not delay the completion of the academic program.

Be aware that adding a CPT course may have an impact on your tuition and fees.

Students must be otherwise maintaining F-1 status to be eligible for CPT. This includes the full-time enrollment requirement in Fall and Winter terms (unless Spring/Summer is the first term). Graduate students must meet the full-time requirement with at least 8 credits and undergraduate students must meet the full-time requirement with at least 12 credits.

As a reminder, currently enrolled F-1 international students are not permitted to work off-campus or to work on campus for credit without prior CPT authorization. 

Note: Employment for the sole purpose of earning money or gaining experience is not an appropriate use of CPT. Please note that non-required CPT is only allowed in your final term if you are also registered for other courses which are required for the completion of your academic program. 

Requirements for Non-Required CPT

  • You must be enrolled in a CPT course. Please work with your Department and Academic Advisor on an appropriate course. If the internship is not required for the degree, it must be taken for academic credit and connected to a relevant class that has similar educational objectives. To be approved, the Academic Advisor needs to confirm the work serves as an “integral part of the student’s curriculum” and describe how the work is directly relevant to the academic objectives of the class. The course must be related to a student’s major program of study (not minors for undergraduate students).
  • Notes regarding CPT course enrollment:
    • CPT cannot be authorized for a course taken in a previous term, future term, and/or an incomplete course. Students must be enrolled in a course directly related to the work experience/internship/coop/practicum/clinical concurrently. 
    • If CPT is non-required, it may be logical to add another course and participate in off-campus practical experience during the Spring/Summer semester. Please remember, CPT participation cannot delay the completion of the program.
    • CPT approval dates will directly correspond with the dates of the semester it is approved. 
    • You must have declared a major.
    • Students who are engaged in thesis/dissertation work and have finished their coursework are still eligible for CPT, only if the CPT is an integral part of their thesis/dissertation or research.
  • Students are required to maintain a physical presence on campus during fall and winter terms. Additionally, physical presence is required in your final semester even if it falls in the spring/summer. 

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. You must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time and physically present on campus to maintain lawful F-1 status during fall and winter terms.

Full-time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will eliminate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). During fall and winter terms, you must be enrolled full-time or have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis while physically present in the US for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms) unless your academic program requires immediate participation for all students.
  • Enroll in a CPT course
  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have UM-Flint approved health insurance
  • Have a job offer
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program

Documentation Needed to Apply

  • CPT Authorization Request Form in iService
  • Academic/Faculty Advisor Recommendation Form for CPT in iService
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript from SIS showing CPT course enrollment
  • Job offer letter including the following:
    • Printed on company letterhead
    • Employer name
    • Employer address
    • Student work site address (if different than employer address)
    • Supervisor information (Name, email address, phone number)
    • Number of hours per week
    • Start and end dates of employment (keep in mind that CPT is only be authorized by semester)
    • Job title
    • Job duties

Please ensure all documents are complete. The CGE will not accept invalid or incomplete CPT applications.

How to Apply for CPT

  • Plan ahead. CPT authorization takes 1-2 weeks for the CGE to process and requires several documents that may take you time to compile.
  • Speak with your company/employer and obtain a Job ‘Offer Letter’.
  • Meet with your Academic or Faculty Advisor to discuss your CPT plans in detail. Let them know when you fill out the CPT application in iService and they will receive an email that will need their approval. Your advisor will also help you enroll in a CPT course.
  • Gather all required documentation. Submit your CPT I-20 Request in iService.
  • An International Student and Scholar Advisor will review your CPT application. If all requirements are met, the advisor will approve your CPT and create a CPT I-20 showing this approval. Normal processing time is 1-2 weeks.
  • You will receive an email once your CPT I-20 is ready. No work, paid or unpaid, may take place until your CPT I-20 is printed.
  • Be sure to sign and date your CPT I-20 and keep all I-20s permanently in your personal files.

If any details of your training opportunity change, please email documentation verifying the changes to [email protected] so that we may update your CPT accordingly.

CPT and Unpaid Internships

It is not uncommon for students to confuse unpaid internships with volunteering (and therefore conclude that no work authorization is necessary for engaging in an unpaid internship). However, there is a difference between volunteering and engaging in an unpaid internship. Volunteering refers to donating time to an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation. For more information about volunteering please see the Employment vs. Volunteering section on the CGE website. 

Do F-1 students need CPT authorization to participate in unpaid internships?

CPT authorization is required for all unpaid internships for university credit, whether the student does or does not need to provide employment authorization documents to the company. The F-1 regulations are written in such a way that CPT is an authorization to do practical training as part of the curriculum for the academic program, and as such is significant in more ways than simply for the employer to verify employment eligibility. CPT authorization is more than just permission to get paid.

You should have CPT authorization for unpaid internships for the following reasons:

  • CPT authorization by the university serves to demonstrate that this practical experience is part of the curriculum.
  • CPT authorization is a way of reporting in SEVIS the student’s activity, employment, and location where they are working and therefore maintaining their status.
  • If ever a student is doing a job on an unpaid basis that someone would be hired and paid for, employment authorization in the form of CPT, OPT, etc. is advised.
  • If the unpaid internship at some point changes into a paid one (or if your employer decides to compensate you for your work in any way – for example, give you a monetary gift), you won’t be able to accept the payment if your internship was not authorized as CPT. Please keep in mind that F-1 students cannot be retroactively remunerated or in any way compensated for work done in an unpaid internship if they did not obtain work authorization prior to when the work was performed.

Based on the above, we require that you apply for CPT authorization if you have an internship offer (paid or unpaid) that meets CPT eligibility criteria.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

Employment Resources