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Full Time Enrollment Requirements

Full-Time Enrollment Requirement

Visa regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to register for, and complete, a full course of study each Fall and Spring Semester.

Undergraduate Students = 12 Credit

Please note that additional credit requirements vary depending on the program to which you were admitted; in some cases, the required credit for your degree program may exceed the 12 credits. Dropping below 12 credits without prior authorization by ISS is considered a violation of your F-1 or J-1 visa status and will result in a negative SEVIS record termination.

Graduate Students = 9 Credit 

At the beginning of each semester, the ISS is required to confirm that all international students are maintaining full-time enrollment. Student enrollment continues to be monitored throughout the semester. Students who drop below full-time enrollment without prior authorization from the ISS must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security via SEVIS. As a result, the student will lose lawful F-1 or J-1 status including employment eligibility and benefits.

Semester Verification
Federal regulations require FDU to notify the Department of Homeland Security about the physical presence and registration of every F-1 student each academic semester. We do this via your electronic SEVIS record once you have verified that you have returned to campus and are registered for a full course of study. 
► click for Returning Student verification

Online Course Restrictions

Federal regulations permit exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement in very limited circumstances. You must request and obtain a reduced courseload authorization from  ISS prior to dropping below full-time enrollment. ISS cannot retroactively authorize a drop below full-time enrollment, so please contact  ISS before you drop or withdraw from classes. Students may be considered for an exception for the following reasons:

Reduced Enrollment for Academic Reasons
Acceptable academic reasons for dropping below full-time enrollment include improper course level placement, initial difficulties with the English language and/or reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods.

You must fill a Reduce Course Load application and have your academic counselor verify the circumstances with the recommendation that you be allowed to take less than a full-time credit load for the semester.

Authorization for reduced enrollment due to initial difficulties with the English language and/or reading requirements or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods may only be authorized during the first semester of study.

Reduced Enrollment for Final Semester
Degree-seeking students in F-1 or J-1 status may be authorized to drop below full-time enrollment in their final semester if they will complete all program requirements by the end of that semester.
 You will fill an RCL Final Semester application and signed by your academic advisor, director of graduate studies, or dean of the school/college verifying that you need only a part-time course load to complete your program in the current term.

Reduced Enrollment for Medical Reasons
Students may be authorized to drop below full-time enrollment due to physical or mental health reasons. Students must provide documentation from a medical doctor,  recommending a reduced course load due to illness or medical condition. The letter must also specify the time period recommended for the reduced enrollment.
Authorization for reduced enrollment for medical reasons cannot exceed a cumulative period of 12 months during the student’s degree program. Authorization for reduced enrollment for medical reasons can only be given one semester at a time, therefore continuing health issues may require more than one authorization.

Requesting Authorization for a Reduced Courseload
To request authorization for a reduced course load for any of the permitted circumstances, you should complete the RCL Request  Form, bring your support documentation to ISS. Upon approval, your SEVIS record will be updated to reflect the reduced course load authorization and you will receive a new Form I-20 documenting the authorization.