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Employee Information

MCC International Students

On-Campus Employment

F-1 students who are maintaining status may engage in on-campus employment. Employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session and more during vacation periods.

F-1 students may look for an on-campus job by going to different departments to ask if they have a position available. Some departments include the Bookstore, the Institute of Culinary Arts, Library, Maintenance & Grounds, the Learning and Tutoring Center or check with an instructor.

Off-Campus Employment

Unfortunately, working off-campus is very limited for students in F-1 status. However, there are some guidelines for practical training and severe economic work authorization that you can read to see if you qualify. Please contact International Student Services for more information.

Severe Economic Hardship

Students in F-1 status who have an unforeseen change in their economic situation, such as substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills or other substantial and unexpected expenses, and who have maintained status for three consecutive quarters and are in good academic standing, may potentially be eligible for severe economic hardship work authorization. If approved by USCIS, this authorization allows students to work off campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week (part-time work) while school is in session, and a maximum of 40 hours per week (full-time work) while school is on vacation or break. Severe economic hardship work authorization can be potentially issued for a maximum of one-year or until the end of your studies, whichever comes first. It does not affect your ability to apply for optional practical training or subtract from the employment time. Students should make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for off-campus employment.

Access the directions and forms for Severe Economic Hardship by clicking on ISS Forms.

F-1 students may begin to look for employment, but they may NOT begin to work until they receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS and the beginning date noted on the card. F-1 students may tell a potential employer that they have filed for severe economic hardship and that they are waiting for a response from USCIS.

Normally it takes approximately 90 days to receive an EAD card from USCIS, if approved.

Immediately apply for a social security number. Please see How to Apply for a Social Security Number for more information.

Practical Training

There are two types of practical training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Practical training allows students to work in their field of study for a specified period of time, depending on which type is authorized. Each requires that studnts have attended at least a full academic year of studies and have maintained your F-1 status. A student in an intensive English-language program is not eligible for practical training.

To apply for both types of practical training, you must make an appointment by calling 531-622-2281 or by emailing iss@mccneb.edu approximately three months prior to applying for practical training.

Curricular Practical Training

Several academic programs have an internship requirement to complete the degree.

CPT is reviewed and authorized by International Student Services. The amount of time that we can authorize depends upon the work required to complete the course. Thus, CPT varies by program. CPT is usually part-time and is not subtracted from your one year of full-time OPT. However, if F-1 students engage in an aggregate of 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, they become ineligible for optional practical training, (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i). There are very few instances when we can grant full-time curricular practical training, but it depends on the class and degree requirements.

How to Apply for Curricular Practical Training

  1. Make sure that an internship course is either required for gratuation or can be used to fulfill graduation requirements. 

  2. Make an appointment with an ISS staff member approximately one month before your internship class commences to make sure you understand the policies.

  3. Follow the requirements listed in the CPT form from ISS.

  4. After ISS completes the CPT work authorization, take your I-20, I-94, and passport to the Social Security Administration office to apply for a Social Security Number. Please see How to Apply for a Social Security Number for more information.

Optional Practical Training

F-1 students may request OPT to obtain work in their field of study.

To apply for OPT, you must make an appointment with an International Student Services staff member. ISS will review your request for OPT completely based on whether or not they meet requirements of the immigration regulations and the MCC policies.

Students are allowed 12 months of work during the 14 month period following completion of studies. This OPT option may not be used after 14 months following completion of study, even if the F-1 students have not been able to work for the entire 12-month period. OPT is automatically terminated when students transfer to another school or begins study at another educational level.

F-1 students are potentially eligible to apply for OPT if they meet the following criteria:

  • Been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year
  • Maintained F-1 status for at least a full academic year
  • Have not exceeded 12 months of full-time CPT authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)

Access the directions and forms for OPT by clicking on ISS Forms.

F-1 students may begin to look for employment in your field of study, but they may not begin to work until receiving an EAD card, which shows the start date. F-1 students may tell a potential employer that they have filed for practical training and are waiting for a response from USCIS. Employment must be related to the field of study! Please see the After OPT Approval section for more details.

Normally, it takes approximately 90 days to receive an EAD card from USCIS. However, it can take longer, especially during Spring and Summer Quarters.

After OPT Approval

  1. OPT employment/job must be directly related to the field of study and commensurate with the level of education.

    • F-1 students may work at a full- or part-time job, whichever is related to the field of study. For a part-time job, it must be at least 20 hours per week.
    • Self-employment is allowed. F-1 students must work full time and prove that they have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in work related to the field of study.
    • Volunteer work or unpaid internships that do not violate U.S. labor laws are acceptable. The work must be at least 20 hours per week.
    • F-1 students may have more than one job as long as they are related to the field of study.
  2. Reporting requirements to International Student Services

    F-1 students are required to report to any of the following changes to the International Student Services within 10 days of the change:

    • Personal contact information, such as name, address, phone number and email address.
    • Employment information:
      • Name of employer
      • Address of employer
      • Start date of employment
      • Clarifying if it's a paid or unpaid employment
      • Number of hours per week
      • Describe how this job is directly related to your field of study
      • Change of employer, with end date of the previous employment and start date of new employment
      • Indicate “unemployed” and the end date of your last job if it’s more than 10 days of unemployment
    • If F-1 students decide to go home (i.e., giving up OPT) and complete the F-1 status prior to the OPT expiration date, please contact International Student Services before leaving the U.S.