REDUCED COURSE LOAD
F-1 students are required to maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year. If you cannot/will not meet the requirement please contact the International Student Office (ISO) through the Student Support Network.
Requesting a Reduced Course Load (RCL) consists of the following steps:
- Read the Overview of the RCL process.
- Explore the RCL Options to see what works for you.
- Contact ISO through the Student Support Network.
- An RCL request for must be submitted to the PDSO (only). Any determination by the PDSO is final and cannot be appealed.
Before you begin, please read the following items to understand how the RCL process works.
What is Full-Time and why do I need an RCL?
Federal Regulations limit your ability to enroll less than full-time. If you cannot meet the full-time requirement you need to request an RCL. Dropping below full-time without an RCL is considered an unauthorized drop, which will endanger your immigration status.
Definition of Full Time
- Undergraduate students, including those in post-baccalaureate programs, must register for and complete at least 4 courses (12 credit hours) per semester.
- Graduate students must register for and complete a minimum of 2 courses (6 credit hours) per semester.
- If you are not enrolled full-time as defined here, please contact ISO immediately.
- NOTE: F-1 visa holders may only enroll in one (1) online course per semester.
Unauthorized Drop Below Full Time
- If you drop below full-time enrollment without authorization in advance from ISO, ISO is federally mandated to report this in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS); and you will lose your F-1 status.
Who can approve my RCL and when should I apply?
Who Can Approve RCL?
- F-1 Students: only the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO)
Obtain RCL Approval First
- If you wish to drop below full-time you must obtain approval in writing from the PDSO in advance, regardless of the reason.
- If you register for, or drop below, full-time without appropriate prior approval from the PDSO you will be considered out of status.
- NOTE: lack of financial support does not constitute a valid reason to RCL.
- Go to the Student Support Network
and choose “International Student Inquiry” under report type.
- Select ‘I would like to ask a general question’.
- State your intention to be considered for RCL and submit any supporting documentation.
- RCL may be requested for one semester at a time after registering for that particular semester.
- As part of your Student Support Network submission, scan and upload the following:
- Copy of your passport
- Photocopy of your I-94 card (front and back if issued paper I-94) or U.S. entry/admission stamp in passport (if issued electronic I-94). Refer to the automated I-94 process
- If requesting RCL based on illness, letter from a licensed medical doctor (or doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist) substantiating your illness. Please carefully follow the instructions listed above.
- There is no need to come to ISO in person as it will be handled electronically.