Students with F-1 visa status may be eligible to participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which “is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”. Southern Arkansas University defines Curricular Practical Training as a course that is listed in the course catalog with an assigned course number, has an established grading or evaluation component, and is offered at a cooperating employer.
- The student must currently be in valid F-1 status.
- The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year. Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training.
- The student must continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT in fall and spring semesters.
- Employment must be related to the student’s major field of study, and be a required part of the academic program. Work which is not required by the degree program may meet the requirements for curricular practical training if the student receives academic credit for the employment experience.
Regulations governing CPT:
- CPT is authorized one semester at a time.
- Students must be registered in a CPT course for each semester.
- CPT must be authorized on the I-20 prior to the start date of employment. To work without authorization is illegal.
- CPT may be for 20 hours per week (part time) or for more than 20 hours per week (full time). During the fall and spring semesters students can only work 20 hours.
- Students who accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT at the time of degree completion.
- Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.
- Once a student has filed an application for OPT, the student may not apply for CPT.
- Students cannot change employers while on CPT unless you apply for another CPT I-20.
- Students in the English Program are not eligible for CPT or OPT.
Bring the following to your advising appointment:
- CPT Application Form, completed by you and your advisor
- Current I-20
- Unofficial Transcript
- Training offer letter printed on official business letterhead from your employer that includes the following information:
- Job title and brief job description
- Exact dates of employment
- Number of hours of work per week
- Physical place of employment (Street address, no PO Boxes)