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Severe Economic Hardship


If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus.

Examples of unforeseen circumstances:

The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time.
The authorization allows you to work for any employer part time (up to 20 hours per week) while you are registered full-time at APSU.
It also allows you to work full time (more than 20 hours per week) during quarter breaks and your annual vacation quarter.
This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you graduate, fail to maintain status, or transfer to another school.


How to apply:

  1. Consult an ISS DSO to discuss your financial situation.
  2. After your ISS appointment, request an I-20:

Request Severe Economic Hardship I-20 

  1. Gather the application documents to mail to USCIS:
  1. After you receive your updated I-20 from ISS, make a copy. Include the copy of your new I-20 along with the other documents listed above.

If your I-765 mailing address is in Tennessee (including APSU ISS) mail the entire application to:


P.O. Box 660867

Dallas, TX 75266

Application processing times vary between two to four months. Do not begin working until you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Other Resources

From the APSU Emergency Aid website:
We understand life can be unpredictable. Unexpected costs and needs can cause significant stress and impact your academic success and personal well being. That’s why Austin Peay State University has  Emergency Aid to support currently enrolled APSU students.