Skip to main content

Students in F-1 status may be eligible to take a reduced course load under certain circumstances but they must receive prior approval from an advisor at the ISSS office before dropping below full-time in the University system.

The following chart shows the acceptable reasons for a reduced course load and the documentation needed by ISSS in order to approve this action in SEVIS:

Reduced Course Load Reason Documentation Needed
Final Term:  Undergraduate students who are in their final semester of study may take fewer than 12 credit hours, if the course credits taken are all they need in order to graduate at the end of that semester. ISSS will need documentation from an academic adviser stating how many credit hours the student must take to complete their degree in the final term.
Academic Difficulties:

  • Improper course placement
  • Initial difficulty with English language
  • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods

An RCL can only be approved once per program level and the student must maintain enrollment for at least half the required number of credits for the semester.

ISSS will need specific documentation from an academic adviser or course instructor detailing the academic difficulty.
Illness or Medical Condition: An RCL can be approved if a student has a temporary illness or medical condition that prevents them from being registered full-time. This can be granted for no more than an aggregate of 12 months during a course of study. ISSS will need documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist recommending the reduction in courseload.


Students can submit a request for a reduced course load in the ISSS Portal under “F-1 student services”.