Reducing Your Course Load Authorization (RCL)

Definitions

Definitions

Reduced Course Load Authorization (RCL). This is the request for permission to go below full-time. International students on F-1 or J-1 visa must register for a full course load every spring and fall semester. First-time student who are starting classes during the summer semester must also take a full course load in the summer.

Status. Your status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant student.

SEVIS. SEVIS is a web-accessible database that collects, tracks, and monitors information regarding exchange visitors, international students and scholars who enter the U.S. on F, M or J visas. SEVIS is managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Termination. The termination of a SEVIS record invalidates your F-1 status. Terminations are a result of a status violation(s).

Immigration regulations permit exceptions to the full-time registration requirement in very limited circumstances and only with prior approval from ISSS. Students who drop below full-time without approval will be reported to SEVIS, jeopardizing their ability to stay in the US. Students will be considered for a reduced enrollment based on the reasons listed below: academic, health, or final semester.

Academic Reasons

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

Documents to be submitted:

  • Reduced course load form signed by academic advisor

Health Reasons

Students may drop below full-time for physical or mental health reasons. The reduced enrollment must be recommended by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. Students with health problems should contact the Health Center for care or referral.  Reduced enrollment for health reasons may be approved for no more than a cumulative period of 12 months during the student’s degree program. Approval for reduced enrollment will be given for only one semester at a time, thus continuing health problems may need more than one approval if it continues beyond one semester.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Medical reduced course load authorization form/letter from U.S. licensed medical doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist.

Final Semester

Degree-seeking students who are completing their degree requirements in a specified semester can enroll less than full-time in order to graduate. 

Documents to be submitted:

  • Reduced course load form signed by academic advisor

Process

1. Set up an appointment with your academic advisor or U.S. licensed medical doctor (or licensed clinical psychologist) to complete the RCL paperwork.
2. Submit the completed RCL form to the ISSS office at least 3 days before the date you intend to drop the class.

You will be notified by e-mail when this process is complete. Do not drop below full-time without receiving notification of your RCL approval.