International students who plan to be enrolled for part time studies must submit the Reduced Course Load (RCL) form to ISS in a timely manner; the form must be approved by the student‚Äôs academic advisor or medical professional prior to submission to ISS. There are only a few exceptions to the full time enrollment requirement for the Fall and Spring semesters. Each exception has its own criteria, which are outlined below.
F-1/J-1 students should not drop below full time enrollment until they have received authorization from ISS.¬†¬† Students who drop below full time enrollment without the proper authorization from ISS will be considered out of status.
Students may request an RCL due to academic difficulty only once per degree level.¬† Academic difficulty could be due to the following reasons:
Students who receive an academic difficulty RCL must resume a full course of study in the next available semester in order to maintain status.
ISS may authorize a medical RCL due to a temporary medical condition with an appropriate doctor‚Äôs letter recommending the RCL for medical reasons.¬† Students must receive prior approval from ISS for the medical RCL.¬†
Requirements of Medical RCL:
Students may enroll in any number of credits (please note: graduate student must take a minimum of two credits to be considered a continuing student. If a student cannot enroll for any courses due to the medical condition, the letter from the medical professional must state this.
ISS may authorize a final semester RCL for students who are in their final semester of study and only have a few credits remaining to meet academic program requirements.¬† Students may request an RCL due to final semester only once per degree program.
Graduate students who will be completing or have completed all required course work and are studying for preliminary examinations or working on a thesis or dissertation may apply for an RCL.¬† Students must enroll for a minimum of two graduate level (300+ or above) credits. Note: in this category, ISS considers you enrolled full-time for immigration purposes only. Your SEVIS record will indicate full-time enrollment rather than a reduced course load.