Graduate International Student Admissions

Severe Economic Hardship

Severe Economic Hardship is a form of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students who experience dramatic changes to their funding source(s) due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. This form of employment authorization:

  • Provides one year of off-campus work authorization before completion of studies.
  • Allows the student to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and 21 or more hours during school breaks.
  • Student must maintain full-time enrollment.


  • Lawfully enrolled full-time in a US university for at least one academic year (two long semesters).
  • Valid F-1 status.
  • Good academic standing (minimum 3.0 GPA).
  • Since arriving in the US something unexpected happened to your funding, such as a sponsor dies or unexpected medical bills.
  • You have looked for an on-campus job and have been unable to find sufficient employment.

Application Process

  • Schedule an appointment with the graduate international student advisor to review requirements and required documents.
  • Submit the required documents to obtain an Economic Hardship Form I-20. Processing time is five business days.
  • Pick up the Form I-20 and mailing instructions.
  • Send the required documents to USCIS. USCIS processing usually takes about three months.
  • If approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing off-campus employment.