Student and Scholar Nonresident Aliens

International Student Employment

Nonresident Aliens (NRAs) cannot be paid until after they meet with an HR Expert to complete new employee paperwork.

After making an appointment, you will be emailed instructions and a password for accessing GLACIER, online tax compliance software. Complete GLACIER before your appointment, and arrive with the following:

  • Social Security number (SSN) if available
  • Passport
  • EAD card
  • Visa type (F-1, J-1, etc.)
  • USCIS form appropriate for visa (I-20, I-797, or DS-2019)

The HR Expert will initiate the tax treaty form process; complete the W-4, I-9 and direct deposit forms; and provide you with pay simulation and an income estimate.

On-campus Employment Rules

Students 

An F-1 student can work up to 20 hours per week on campus (including Carnell Hall and Chartwells) when school is in session. A work week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Exceptions to the 20-hour rule can be made for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) when permission is granted before beginning employment.

During summer, winter and spring breaks, students are eligible to work 40 hours a week (or more, if determined by department).

Working even 15 minutes more than 20 hours a week is a violation of your F-1 visa status and carries serious consequences.

Scholars

Scholars may work 40 hours a week (or more, if determined by department). Scholars are eligible for either hourly or appointed employment.

J-2 Visa Holders

J-2 visa holders can work 40 hours a week (or more, if determined by department) if they are authorized to work and have an EAD card.

Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

SSNs are only for employed students or scholars. If you are not employed, you are not eligible to have an SSN.

International employees are not required to have an SSN to begin work. Because the process to receive an SSN can take four to eight weeks and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all workers be paid, HR issues a temporary SSN to NRAs, valid for 60 days. When the permanent card arrives, the NRA must present it at HR for copying and return the temporary SSN. Download the Social Security Application Packet for NRAs.

Applying for a Social Security Number

Apply for a Social Security number immediately upon beginning employment. Bring the following forms to the local Social Security office:

Receiving Scholarships or Fellowships

Scholarships made to NRA students will be taxed on the amount of the scholarship in excess of qualified expenses.

Examples of qualified expenses include:

  • Tuition
  • Fees that are required of all students
  • Books
  • Supplies

Examples of non-qualified expenses include:

  • Stipend payments
  • Living expenses
  • Room and board
  • Cash
  • Non-required equipment

An expense is usually qualified if it is required of all students at the university. If a fee is required by your major, it does not mean it is a qualified expense because it is not required by all students.

Example: One college requires a computer for all majors, but a computer is not required for all university students, so it is not a qualified expense.

Scholarship taxes are assessed by taking the amount of the scholarship and subtracting the amount of qualified tuition and fees. The difference is taxed at 14%.

Example: A student has $10,000 in scholarship funds and has $8,000 in tuition, fees and qualified expenses. This student will receive a scholarship check for $1,720 after $280 has been subtracted for the taxes on the scholarship.

10,000 Received in scholarship
8,000 Applied to applicable tuition and fees
2,000 Remainder taxable scholarship; taxed at 14%
280 Amount of tax subtracted from remainder of scholarship

Example: A student has $10,000 in scholarship funds and has $10,000 in tuition and fees, but $3,000 of the expenses are for room and board. The room and board will be taxed.

10,000 Received in scholarship
7,000 Applied to applicable tuition and fees (minus $3,000 for room and board)
3,000 Remainder taxable scholarship; taxed at 14%
420 Amount of tax subtracted from remainder of scholarship

Exemptions from Paying Scholarship Tax

To be exempt from paying scholarship tax, you must have an eligible tax treaty for scholarship income. To honor the tax treaty for scholarship income, you must (no exceptions!) have a Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification number (ITIN).

Scholarship tax will be reported on form 1042-S, which is provided by March 15 each year. Use this form to report taxes and ascertain eligibility for a tax refund.

Payment for Travel Reimbursement, Honoraria, Speaker Fees

Students who receive travel expenses in relation to their compensation (attending a seminar, conference, etc., in relation to your employment) will not be taxed. This falls under the accountable plan which applies to all employees. Travel reimbursements are paid through the travel office, and payments to individuals who are not employed by the university will be made through accounts payable.

Students who receive travel expenses in relation to their scholarship/fellowship (attending a seminar, conference, etc.) will be taxed at 14%, including travel reimbursement or payments made on your behalf. The 14% tax can be exempted due to an applicable tax treaty, if you have a Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification number (ITIN).