The total cost of higher education in US is undoubtedly very high. But, if you consider the job prospects, internships, assistantships, etc. the cost of education and living expenses can be minimized considerably. If you have some on campus job, you get the much needed financial assistance and part or whole of your living expenses can be covered. After completion of 2 semesters, you are eligible to do an internship which gives you the much needed income source to minimize your overall expenses. Getting a TA or RA will also result in large savings reducing your overall expenditure considerably. This article gives an overview of the kind of job opportunities and approximate income that you can expect from these jobs to reduce your expenses.
US Universities On-campus job opportunities
An international student on F1 VISA in US is allowed to work for 20 hours per week on-campus during semester. Every US University has a lot of on-campus job opportunities such as library, help-desk, bookstores, food outlets, gymnasium and other such prospects. You have check with your seniors and University website for any such openings and apply through appropriate means if you are eligible for the job. All such jobs can have payment varying from $8 to $12 per hour.
Technical jobs on-campus in US Universities
Apart from the above non-technical jobs, there are a number of technical jobs available in US Universities. Every US University has a number of departments and each department has a website. The departments are in constant need of technical people with a website development and maintenance experience to handle the content of these websites. Every department has huge computer labs for their students. There is constant need of people who can manage the computers in these labs. Software up-gradations, printer problems, computer utilities problems, etc are supposed to be handled by these employees. There are a number of tutoring requirements in these Universities and jobs open up in these fields regularly. The pay for such technical jobs is slightly higher from $12 to $20 per hour..
RA, TA and GA in US Universities
RA is short for Research Assistant, TA is short for Teaching Assistant and GA is short for Graduate Assistant. For more details about these positions, read the article: What are RA, TA and GA and how to apply for them?
The pay provided for these positions is higher than other on-campus jobs. The compensation might be provided in terms of full or partial tuition waiver. If you are getting a tuition waiver, a big portion of your US expenses is reduced and so many international students seek the RA, TA or GA positions in US Universities. Some Universities and some departments might give an hourly pay for RA and TA which is in the range in excess of $20 per hour. In some cases it might even be up to $28 per hour. Although the pay is high for such positions, they are extremely selective and highly competitive positions and you need to excel in your academics to get these positions.
Off campus jobs
As an F1 student you are not allowed to work off-campus. Unauthorized working off-campus is a serious violation and is illegal. You might have to face severe consequences if caught which might even lead to deportation from US.
If you are facing certain financial troubles, you can get an authorization from your designated school official (DSO) to work off-campus to meet your financial problems. You can work off-campus only with the authorization of DSO, otherwise it is considered illegal.
After FALL and SPRING semesters, you are eligible for a summer internship where you can work up to 40 hours per week. US companies hire inters for a period of 3 months during the summer break which gives the student an opportunity to work in an industry and also reduce the expenses incurred for higher education.The pay given for interns is usually higher than $20 per hour. So, if you do not get any on-campus jobs or any assistantships, you can always work as a summer intern in any company and support your educational expenses.