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Reducing Your Course Load

International Students must request approval from the International Student Adviser before dropping any classes. Immigration regulations permit exceptions to the full-time registration requirement in very limited circumstances. Reduced course load can only be approved for one semester for academic reasons and once for the final semester during the student's degree program. Students who drop below full course load without International Student Adviser approval will be reported to SEVIS, your SEVIS record will be terminated, and you will lose your lawful F-1 or J-1 status including F-1 and J-1 employment eligibility and benefits.

For immigration purposes, full-time enrollment is defined as:

  • 12 Hours - Undergraduate Students
  • 9 Hours - Masters Students
  • 6 Hours - Graduate & Teaching Assistants


Students will be considered for a reduced enrollment based on the reasons listed below:


Academic Reasons

Academic reasons for dropping below full-time include initial English language difficulties, improper course placement, or in cases when full-time enrollment would not be academically appropriate. Reduced course load for academic reasons may be approved for only one semester during the student's degree program. Students should consider this carefully before requesting a reduced course load for academic reasons since it can only be used once.


Final Semester

Degree-seeking students who are completing their degree requirements in a specified semester can enroll for as many or as few credit hours as needed to graduate. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:

  • The student must graduate at the end of the semester
  • Upon completion of the specified semester students will have a 60-day grace period for a one-time departure or transfer to another school, advancement to a higher degree level, change of nonimmigrant status or may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)


To Apply for Reduced Course Load

To request approval before dropping any classes, submit a Reduced Course Load Form online. You will be notified of the outcome of your request via email within one week after online submission. Once you receive approval from the International Student Adviser please go to the Service Center to drop the course.

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