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International Students Who Wish to Drop a Class

F-1 and J-1 international students (those with a residency code of 300 or above) must complete AT LEAST the following number of credit hours EVERY fall and spring semester to maintain legal status:

  • 12 credit hours: international undergraduate students
  • 9 credit hours: international graduate and professional students without a graduate staff appointment
  • 6 credit hours: international graduate and professional students with a graduate staff appointment

A designated school official (DSO) in the Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) must authorize exceptions for a reduced course load (RCL). Failure to authorize RCL status prior to the drop results in the student losing his/her legal status. Acceptable reasons for RCL authorization are:

  • Medical
  • Improper course placement
  • Initial difficulty with English language ability
  • Initial difficulty with American teaching methods
  • Final semester of a student's academic program

Procedures for RCL Authorization

  • The academic advisor completes form 23. The student takes the completed form 23 to ISS to request an RCL exception.
  • Students who qualify for consideration of an RCL exception are then required to complete an RCL request form (provided by ISS).
  • The student gains appropriate endorsement of his/her request on the RCL request form from either an academic advisor, head of his/her graduate program (or designee), or a faculty member of a particular class, as appropriate, and returns the form to an ISS DSO for authorization.
  • If RCL authorization occurs during the first four weeks of the semester, ISS completes the form 23 transaction. If authorization occurs during the fifth week, the Office of the Registrar completes the form 23 transaction.

Note: ISS staff will not prevent a student who doesn’t qualify for RCL authorization from dropping a course if that is the student’s wish, even if it means that by doing so the student will lose his/her legal status.

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Maintained by: Undergraduate Studies Program

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