Reduced Course Load (RCL) Information and Request Form
All students on F-1 visas are required by USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service) to be enrolled full-time (a minimum of 12 credit-hours for undergraduate and 6 credit hours for graduate). Only 3 credit-hours of online courses may be counted towards full-time enrollment.
Students who enroll in fewer than the required credit-hours must submit this form by the first Wednesday of the first week of classes and receive approval from the Office of International Student Services to maintain their visa status.
- A Reduced Course Load protects a student’s visa status. If not submitted when needed, the student cannot work on campus and you must stop any internship work – YOU WILL BE IN VIOLATION OF YOUR VISA STATUS AND YOU MAY HAVE TO LEAVE THE U.S.
- Even if all thesis/dissertation hours required for the degree have been completed, students must be registered for credit. In the event that the Office of International Student Services has questions about this form, the question will be sent to the student’s APSU e-mail account.
- The top 2 reasons a RCL cannot be processed: incomplete form (missing signatures and/or documentation) and holds on student account
Please fill out the form carefully and be sure you have no holds before submitting it to the Office of International Student Services.
Types of Reduced Course Load
- Medical Condition. F-1 visa student has a medical condition for which he or she is currently receiving treatment. Students can only obtain a medical Reduced Course Load for a total of 12 months. No CPT will be considered for students who select “Medical Condition.” Attach an original letter, not on a prescription pad, from the doctor or licensed psychologist treating the student; it must clearly state the diagnosis and length of time required before you can resume a full course load. No adviser signature is required for this reason
- Adjustment and Course Placement.
- Adjustment. F-1 student has difficulties with adjustment to (1) education in the United States, (2) English or (3) the United States educational system. This is the student's first full-time semester at a U.S. institution in university-level classes. No adviser signature is required for this reason. This may only be used once per academic year during student’s first year.
- Course Placement. F-1 student would like to drop a course due to a situation which resulted in an improper course level placement by the student’s adviser. An example of this would be a case where the adviser signed the student up for a class and the student did not have the prerequisite. The adviser must attach a letter on university letterhead with an explanation of the situation. This may only be used once per academic year during student’s first year.
- Final Semester. The courses the student has remaining to complete a degree program do not equal 12 (on-ground) credit-hours for undergraduate study or 6 (on-ground) credit hours for graduate study. The student has completed all other coursework for a degree. Enrollment cannot solely be on-online courses; there will need to be at least one on-ground course. The academic adviser must sign at the bottom of the form. This may only be used during final semester of degree program.
- Course Work. F-1 student has completed all course work for a graduate degree and only has thesis/dissertation credit or an examination left. NOTE: the student must still remain enrolled for course credit. The student cannot maintain status if he or she is not registered for the semester. The graduate program director (not academic adviser) must sign at the bottom of the form.
- Graduate Assistantship Student. F-1 student is a master’s degree student with a graduate assistantship. Attach a copy of the award letter and have the assistantship supervisor sign at the bottom of the form.