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International students fill more campus jobs

March 28, 2014

While utilizing the various facilities on campus, students may have noticed more new faces than usual popping up behind desks and working behind the scenes. Monmouth College’s population of international students has seen a surge compared to the past few years – and with it, an increased presence in campus employment.

“This past year, it looks like we’ve gotten more [international students] than we’ve had in three or four years,” said Director of Intercultural Life Ruby Pentsil-Bukari. “Many of them try to get jobs. Some jobs on Monmouth College’s campus somewhat have restrictions because they are tied with student’s work-study. Those ones are federally funded and tie to student’s financial aid package, so international students do not qualify.”

International students are in one of two categories: exchange students or degree-seeking students. Degree-seeking students can either transfer from an institution in their home country to Monmouth and start at junior status, or can start as freshmen and attend all four years.

Another opportunity for employment that is optional is for students to apply for a practical training permit (Employment Authorization Document) to work within their major or minor, or in case of unforeseen financial hardship. However, students must have completed at least one academic year in a U.S. institution to successfully obtain an EAD card. Because of the one-year residency requirement, typically only degree-seeking international students can apply for off-campus jobs after being approved by the college.

Because they do not qualify for work study jobs and they are limited to on-campus jobs for the first year, many international students have taken jobs in different departments like the athletic center, food service, library and academic departments that have grants to pay for student workers.

According to Pentsil-Bukari, students must wait 15 days after a semester begins to register in the student exchange visitor information system (SEVIS); when registered, students must obtain a job offer from any department offering employment on campus and provide it along with an official cover letter from the department of intercultural life, an I-84 and passport to apply for a social security card. After they are approved and receive their social security card, they can begin to work.

“I mentioned that I’m looking for a job, and in a week Bruce [from Aramark] asked me to work with the stocks as they just had a spot open up,” said freshman Sujith Santosh, an Indian degree-seeking international student who works for the college’s cafeteria and as a lab assistant. “It was convenient as it was really flexible when it comes to work schedules. The lab position is something that I absolutely love because I would like to be a professor.”
International students typically wait until halfway through first semester to begin looking for jobs. This is partially to acclimate to a foreign culture and new classes, but also because many domestic students begin to cut-back on their hours.

“During their orientation we talk about how to find jobs and which areas you may start looking for offer letters from,” said Pentsil-Bukari. “We also tell them that while sometimes domestic students are here earlier and get many of the jobs first, halfway through the semester students cut down on their hours. We tell them to keep checking, and to pass out CVs.”

International students are entitled to work on campus up to 20 hours a week according to federal guidelines, but Monmouth has a restriction of 10 hours for all students (international and domestic) to spread available funds for students.

“We spend $7,000-8,000 in total wages and hired 359 students using federal work-study funding and 244 students through non-federal funding,” said director of financial aid Jayne Schreck.

Pentsil-Bukari said that the college had a large number of international students when she first started working at the college but that over the years, many students admitted to the college could not come due to various reasons like economic or visa issues. This past year has seen an increase that came from two main factors: successful recruitment efforts by Monmouth’s coordinator of international recruitment Bren Tooley, and the college’s participation in a consortium by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to offer scholarships to Syrian students.

Cassie Burton
News Editor

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