Home > Graduate Student Employment Guidelines

Graduate Student Employment Guidelines

For those employing international graduate students it is essential to comply with the employment limitations imposed by certain immigration statuses. Failure to do so places both the student and University in jeopardy. For the student, failure to comply with the hours limit imposed by immigration status is a violation of their immigration status, and will result in immediate employment termination by the University. Violation of immigration regulations governing employment are deportable offenses. Current immigration regulations do not provide for reinstatement to student status following unauthorized employment. For the University, non-compliance could result in the loss of all Federal funding.

Key Points to Note:
During the academic year (including Intersession) graduate students may work on the Graduate student payroll (State or RF) up to a maximum of 20 hours. International students in F-1 or J-1 status may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
Occasionally graduate students are asked to undertake a one-time service that is different to their normal obligation (ie. helping at commencement, singing/playing a musical instrument at a reception). This should be paid as a lump sum payment on the graduate student payroll.
Graduate students salaries should not exceed $28,333 for a 10 month obligation or $34,000 for a 12 month obligation when on the graduate student payroll. Requests to exceed this are rarely approved but should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School.
Eligibility for health insurance requires you are in an active pay status and earn at least an annualized salary of $4,293 or more (subject to change).
Graduate students must be matriculated and registered for full time graduate-level study and remain in compliance status by meeting the following criteria:
  • G-1 and G-3 level require 12 credits
  • G-2, G-4 and G-5 require 9 credits

To help departments in complying with both immigration regulations and the graduate student employment policy, we ask that all Graduate employment appointment forms indicate accurately the number of hours/FTE that the student will work. On State forms please indicate FTE, as follows:

Stipend Hours/week FTE
Full 15 - 20 .50
3/4 12 - 14 .37
1/2 7.5 - 11 .25
1/4 4 - 6 .12

Social Security Numbers

All GA/TA's must obtain a valid social security number issued from the Social Security Administration within the first few weeks of the semester in order to avoid the disruption of check distribution. Pseudo social security numbers are temporary for payroll purposes only and should not be used off-campus. After registration for classes, those who need a SS # will need to submit an offer letter from the employing department to Stony Brook Visa and Immigration Services for an endorsement verifying immigration status and course registration. Application for a Social Security number must be made at a Social Security Administration office.


Cancellation of appointments must be processed as a termination. Human Resource Services must be notified immediately of cancellations. To prevent overpayments and department sanctions, Human Resource Services can be notified immediately via the Payroll Department Hotline.

Questions regarding employment should be referred to HRS at (631) 632-4446 for State and (631) 632-6162 for Research Foundation. Questions regarding Benefits should be referred to (631) 632-6180.

Questions regarding employment restrictions imposed by immigration regulations should be referred to Visa and Immigration Services at (631) 632-4685.