University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

International Student
Funding Program



International Student Work Opportunity Program (ISWOP)

The International Student Work Opportunity Program (ISWOP) assists international graduate students who have financial need to receive an assistantship position in departments that otherwise would not be able to fully fund an assistantship. For an ISWOP award, ISSS provides up to half the salary and benefits for a graduate assistantship appointment, and the academic department funds the remaining amount. Funds will be transferred directly to the department by the end of the fiscal year that the ISWOP was awarded.

Receiving an ISWOP award may limit your eligibility to receive other types of ISSS funding.

Eligibility Requirements

You must meet the following conditions to be eligible for an ISWOP award. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee that you will receive ISSS funding. If you do not meet all the criteria and have extenuating circumstances, you can still apply. Extenuating circumstances are considered, even if not all criteria are met.

  • Document and verify your financial need.
  • Be enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Be in legal F-1 or J-1 student status , and you must have held this status for at least 12 months while attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  • Be making satisfactory academic process.
  • Completed at least one academic year at the University of Minnesota in your current degree program.
  • Spend reasonably and frugally. Excessive and non-essential spending (e.g. any travel expenses, restaurants, entertainment, shopping) may disqualify you. Your spending history will be reviewed.
  • ISWOP appointments are not guaranteed to be approved. Employment should not begin until an award notice has been issued by ISSS. Starting the employment before an ISSS award notice is given may be interpreted as the department having agreed to fully fund the position without the need of an ISWOP award.
  • ISWOP applications are not renewed automatically. Renewal applications are not guaranteed and will be reviewed to determine approval or denial.
  • Priority is given to students who have not yet completed all their coursework and thesis credits.
  • Priority is given to students who will have received ISWOP for 2 or fewer semesters in total, depending on availability of funds.
  • Priority will be given to students in departments and/or colleges/schools that have not received other ISWOP awards for the current fiscal year.
  • You must submit all required documentation. Everything in your application and all documents will be reviewed in detail. If it is determined that you are missing any required documents, your application may be delayed and/or automatically denied.

Required Documentation

You will need to submit the following documents with your application.

  • All of your bank and credit card statements for the previous six months
  • Letter from your funding source (as listed on your I-20 or DS-2019) explaining in detail why they cannot continue providing financial support. You will need separate letters for each source of funds, if you have more than one on your I-20/DS-2019.
  • A completed Department Information Form with the appropriate signatures.
  • Documents you that explain your financial need, including medical bills, employment records, or financial documents
  • Additional documentation and information may be requested


Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications at least two weeks before the start of the semester, if possible. Applications will only be accepted if funds are remaining after this time.

How to Apply

Please access the online application here: ISWOP Application.