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) HERE.
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 to submit the RCL request HERE.
- An RCL request for must be submitted to a P/DSO (only). Any determination by the P/DSO 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.
- Submit an Authorization for Reduced Courseload Request HERE
- Read all instructions carefully, upload required documentation, complete and complete the learning content and questionnaire
- Click Submit
- 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:
- 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.