International Students (F-1 Status)

Hour Limitation

Labor Positions, during the academic year, are limited to no more than 20 hours per week. Students may work full-time during break periods as long as they have maintained status and have registered for the following academic term.

Work During Breaks and Summer

The College recognizes that it is often critical for international students to work during break periods and during the summer to maintain enrollment status and to supplement regular earnings. While we send early notification of vacancies and offer to assist students in locating positions, it is ultimately the individual’s responsibility to avail themselves of these resources and begin seeking a labor position as soon as possible. Opportunities are limited, and the College does not guarantee work during these periods.


Off-Campus Work

All F-1 international students arrive at Berea College having agreed to certain non-negotiable conditions imposed by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Among the restrictions associated with enrollment is that F-1 students must not work off-campus without prior authorization. While there are some opportunities for international students to work off-campus while enrolled, unless that work qualifies under the clearly articulated rubrics of Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), participation places a student out of F-1 visa status which is a serious violation and means they can no longer remain enrolled and should leave the United States immediately. Both processes for legal work authorization are simple and straightforward for the student to follow.

Note: It is not permissible to compensate international students for casual jobs such as house cleaning, babysitting, yard work, tutoring, etc. These are specific examples of the sort of off-campus work that violates the conditions of enrollment for international students.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

An F– 1 student may be authorized by the International Student Adviser 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. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the International Student Adviser. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I–20 with the DSO endorsement.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

A student may apply for authorization for temporary employment for optional practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study. The student may not begin optional practical training until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document, Form I–766 or Form 688B. A student may submit an application for authorization to engage in optional practical training up to 90 days prior to being enrolled for one full academic year, provided that the period of employment will not begin until after the completion of the full academic year as indicated by the International Student Adviser.

A student may be granted authorization to engage in temporary employment for optional practical training:

(1) During the student’s annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session, if the student is currently enrolled, and is eligible for registration and intends to register for the next term or session; (2) While school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session; or (3) After completion of the course of study, or, for a student in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent). Continued enrollment, for the school’s administrative purposes, after all requirements for the degree have been met does not preclude eligibility for optional practical training. However, optional practical training must be requested prior to the completion of all course requirements for the degree or prior to the completion of the course of study. A student must complete all practical training within a 14-month period plus 17-months extension which equals 29 months following the completion of study. Please refer to the Center for International Education for further updates.

OPT is coordinated through the International Student Adviser; the Berea College OPT fund, administered by the International Student Adviser, covers the cost of application, pictures and mailing.