International students who maintain legal status under the regulations set forth by the U.S. government can generally be allowed to work for wages on campus. Permission to work off campus can also be obtained for the purpose of practical training and in a small number of other situations. Students must always check with the Foreign Student Advisors, Deborah Chiolero or John Richardson in the Office of International Programs (OIP) to secure work permission and complete required paperwork needed for MSU Payroll Office (I-9 and W-4). After a student finds on-campus employment, the OIP will give instructions on how to secure a U.S. social security number.
On-campus employment is widely available, and most employers are aware of the need to allow students some flexibility to work around class schedules. Many students work to earn spending money, to pay their living expenses, or to supplement their school funding. Work can also be a good break from studying, help a student make new friends, practice English, or learn new skills. Students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week in most cases during the academic year, and full-time, 40 hours per week, during vacation periods and in the summer. Pay ranges from approximately US$8.00 to $10.50 per hour. Pay checks are issued once per month on the 11th day. Some taxes will be withheld from each paycheck, but students will often be eligible for a full or partial tax refund at the end of the tax year.
To Find a Job
To find a job, students should visit the Office of Career, Internship & Student Employment Services in the lower level of the Student Union Building (SUB) and read through the on-campus job listings on the bulletin board. Jobs classified as "student employment" are potentially open to all students. (Please note that jobs identified as "work study" positions are subsidized by the federal government and available only to qualified U.S. citizens and permanent residents.) Once a possible job is found in the listings, students can speak with the job coordinator in Career Services to get details about how to apply for the position.
Other Ways to Find an On-Campus Job Include
asking professors or others in the student's major department about possibilities,
talking with other students to find out about job opportunities,
- contacting some of the key employers on campus directly:
First jobs are often found in a service position, but as a student gains experience and knowledge about the opportunities on campus, jobs can often be found that relate more closely to the student's study area and that can be useful to include on a resume. Highly motivated undergraduate students can sometimes find paid positions as part of a research project. Graduate students may be offered teaching assistantships (TAs) or research assistantships (RAs) in their major department.
Employers will provide training for student employees and outline their expectations for the job. Employers must follow fair practices and treat employees equally. Student employees are well-advised to arrive to work on-time, notify the employer in advance if illness or some other situation prevents them from working as scheduled, follow rules and regulations, and work to fulfill the responsibilities of the job. Building a reputation as a "good worker" is useful in gaining better positions and positive referrals.
IMPORTANT: Everyone, whether employed for pay or not, must file tax forms after the end of each calendar year. More on Income Tax