Guide to hiring OPT-authorized students for volunteer positions

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Utilizing ASU graduates for degree-specific volunteer tasks is a win-win. A student who has been authorized for Post-completion Optional Practical Training must maintain status by obtaining employment directly related to their field of study. Offering a volunteer position could benefit a recent ASU graduate by helping them maintain their status while searching for that perfect job. 

Post-OPT students must not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment, and must work for 20 or more hours per week. (Specific guidance due to COVID-19 may apply. Refer to ISSC’s updates related to COVID-19.) 

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When offering a volunteer opportunity to a student authorized for Post-completion Optional Practical Training, please consider the following.


  • Create an offer letter which includes:
    • Department letterhead — may be signed by a departmental HR representative or the hiring professor.
    • Description of the tasks the student will be performing, making it clear that the tasks are directly related to the student’s field of study.
    • The start date.
    • The number of hours required each week (must be 20 or more).


  • Reduce a student’s hours below 20 per week.
  • Request a student to perform tasks unrelated to their field of study.  
  • Violate labor laws.