Exceptions to Full-time Enrollment/Reduced Course Loads (RCLs)

Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment

Reduced Course Loads (RCLs)

Enrollment in less than a full-time course load MAY be authorized in the following situations:

  1. If the student is medically unable to maintain a full-time course load (with letter of recommendation from licensed clinical psychologist or medical doctor).
  2. If the student is having difficulty during the first semester of their degree due to (1) initial difficulties with the English language, (2) with the reading requirements, or (3) unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.
  3. If the student has been placed in or advised by their academic advisor to take a course at an improper course level (with letter of explanation from DGP/advisor).
  4. If the student is in their final semester.

If you are eligible for one of these exceptions, you must receive authorization from OIS first in the form of a new I-20 prior to dropping below full-time status. Dropping below full-time enrollment without authorization in place is an immigration violation.

PLEASE NOTE: There may be financial, insurance, or GSSP eligibility consequences for dropping below full-time status. Please check with the Cashier’s office, Student Blue insurance (if applicable), and the Graduate Student Support Program Coordinator in the Graduate School regarding your Graduate Student Support Program eligibility (if applicable) to confirm if there will be any issues.

Additionally, please note that Reduced Course Loads only authorize less than full-time enrollment in the immigration database. There may be additional academic steps necessary to drop below a full-time course load, such as completing a schedule revision form. Please check with your academic advisor or Director of Graduate Programs to see if there are any other academic requirements to drop below full-time.