Undergraduates abroad Fall 2020 will not be paid for hourly wage jobs

MIT will not offer hourly wage jobs — including paid UROPs, TAships, or grader roles — to undergraduates living outside the U.S. this fall. However, most graduate students living abroad will continue with their paid remote appointments, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz wrote in an email to students and faculty Aug. 14.

Waitz wrote that MIT can only pay undergraduates living abroad by stipend and not hourly wages due to “international tax and compliance issues.” 

Undergraduates may earn up to $1,900 by stipend in the upcoming academic year through experiential learning opportunities (ELO) including research, entrepreneurship, K-12 teaching, and public service. The ELO stipend was created to offset families’ financial difficulties due to COVID-19, President L. Rafael Reif announced in an email to students July 7.

Undergraduates living abroad may still apply for credit-only UROPs for the fall.

The “vast majority” of graduate students abroad will proceed with their fellowships, TA, or RA appointments as planned, Waitz wrote. However, some TA or RAships may be converted to non-service fellowships according to the country the student is living in, the student’s research area, or “export control requirements.” Funds for non-service fellowships, which do not require students to hold TA or RA responsibilities, will be identified by departments, schools, or the Provost’s office.

Credit-only UROPs, ELOs, and graduate appointments for students abroad will be approved through “the same general process” used for remote international appointments this summer, Waitz wrote. 

Students must satisfy several eligibility criteria, including “good academic standing,” supervisor approval for the remote appointment, active U.S. visa status prior to leaving the U.S., and inability to return to campus due to COVID-19 government restrictions or campus access restrictions, the MIT Team 2020 website writes. 

Eligible students must submit an intake form and a review group will decide whether to approve each appointment. The website writes that MIT aims “to facilitate as many remote international appointments as possible.”

Waitz wrote that MIT has approved about 296 graduate and 113 undergraduate student appointments since May.