Although full-time enrollment is required every fall and spring semester, the following are exceptions approved by the Department of Homeland Security to deviate from full-time enrollment.
- It is your last semester before you graduate and you have less than 12 (UG) or 9 (GR) credits left to finish your degree. If a student needs only one course to finish the program of study, it cannot be online. Per F-1 regulations, physical presence is required in order to maintain F-1 status.
- It is your first semester in the U.S., and you are experiencing difficulties with U.S teaching methods or reading requirements.
- You have a medical condition preventing you from being a full-time student (medical note is required).
- You are a graduate student and your program offers special curriculum, which provide full-time equivalency (FTE)
- You are working on your thesis or dissertation
If you have any other reason, please speak to an ISS International Student Advisor (ISA).
Instructions for proceeding with RCL
- Discuss your part-time enrollment with an academic advisor
- Log in to ISS Connect. Go to the Requests tab and select Request Authorization for Reduced Course Load (RCL). Complete all requirements in the request, and click "Submit".
- If your request to be a part-time student is because of a medical condition, do not submit an RCL request in ISS Connect. Instead, you must contact Mira Krasnov, ISS Director at email@example.com or Melba Benitez, ISS Assistant Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. For medical RCL, a note from a licensed medical doctor, or licensed clinical psychologist is required. The note must state that reduced course load (or zero course load) is recommended for you for a given semester due to a temporary illness or medical condition. Only twelve months of medical leave is allowed, and we can only authorize this type of RCL for one semester at a time.
- An International Student Advisor will review your request for RCL. If it warrants an approval, it will be processed through SEVIS, which will allow you to maintain your F-1/J-1 status although under-enrolled.