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Hiring Current Students & J-2 Dependents

MSU hires more than 18,000 students each year in positions like department aides, computer assistants, food-service workers, laboratory attendants, research aides, and tutors. Working on campus is a great way for students to practice English, make friends with other students, get to know MSU faculty and staff and learn professional skills.

F-1 Students

Hiring F-1 MSU Students

F-1 students come to the U.S. to pursue a program of study or degree program. Their primary purpose in the U.S. should always be to study.  

Per the U.S. government regulations, international students with F-1 visa are eligible to work on-campus while maintaining their F-1 visa status at MSU. On-campus employment must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session. A school is considered in-session during the fall/spring semesters AND during the student’s first or final semester.

If you would like to hire a student to work more than 20 hours a week, they must qualify and be approved for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

F-1 students must obtain work authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before beginning employment off-campus.

Dependents of F-1 students are in the U.S. in F-2 status. F-2 dependents are not, under any circumstances, allowed to work or earn income in the United States.

Hiring F-1 Students from Other Universities

F-1 students who are currently enrolled or who graduated from other universities in the U.S. must be approved for off-campus work authorization to work at MSU. Non-MSU F-1 students must consult with an international student advisor at their university to apply for either Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), or STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT). 

Hiring F-1 Students with STEM OPT

As the employing department, you must complete parts of the form I-983 for both MSU F-1 students and non-MSU F-1 students. More information about STEM OPT.

The I-983 must be fully completed and signed by both the student and the employer, as follows:

  1. Sections 3 and 4: MSU HR Solutions Center must complete and sign sections 3 and 4. For more information or assistance, contact the MSU HR Solutions Center by calling 517-353-4434, or emailing solutionscenter(at)

  2. Sections 5 and 6: Must be completed by the immediate supervisor within the hiring department. 

  3. Annual Evaluation sections: Must be completed by the student and reviewed by their immediate supervisor every 12 months. Both the student and the supervisor must sign the I-983 annual evaluation sections. The student must submit the annual evaluation sections to their home institution, usually to their international student advisor. MSU F-1 students must submit the annual evaluation sections to OISS. 

More information about employer responsibilities and instructions for employers can be found on SEVP Employers and the Form I-983

J-1 Students

Employers do not incur any employment authorization processing costs for J-1 students.

J-1 students come to the U.S. to participate in international exchange programs between Michigan State University and universities in other countries, or whose education in the U.S. is financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of the student's home country, an international organization of which the U.S. is a member, or by another institutional sponsor.

J-1 students have U.S. work authorization options that must be pre-approved by OISS or their program sponsor.

The possibility of employment for J-1 students is primarily governed by the J-1 visa sponsor. Most J-1 students at MSU have J-1 visa sponsorship from MSU, but some have other J-1 visa sponsors, such as IIE Fulbright

  • J-1 students who are sponsored by MSU can get information about work authorization options on the OISS website Work in the U.S. 
  • J-1 students who are not sponsored by MSU must contact the J-1 visa sponsor who issued their DS-2019 for information about working in the U.S.

J-2 Dependents

Employers do not incur any employment authorization processing costs for J-2 dependents.

J-2 spouses and J-2 children age 14 and above are eligible to apply for work authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The application takes approximately three months to process. See J-2 Request for Employment (PDF) for more information.