International students in F-1 status are required to maintain a full course of study during Spring and Fall semesters of the school year. If a student cannot meet this requirement, the student has to request a reduced course load from a DSO at TAMU-CC Office of International Education (OIE) in advance. Federal Rules and Regulations limit a student's ability to be less than full-time. If a student drops below full-time of study without prior approval of a DSO at the Office of International Education (OIE) after the drop/add deadline, he/she will lose his or her F-1 status regardless what the reason might be.
Definition of Full-Time
Full-time course of study is defined as NINE credit hours for graduate students and TWELVE credit hours for undergraduates at TAMU-CC. Enrollment is not necessary during the summer term unless:
- a new student's first semester at TAMU-CC
- first term after readmission or change of status or transfer-in
- the first term in a new academic program
- last term of the current degree program
Procedure for Requesting a Reduced Course Load
- Discuss your situation with DSO at OIE before you plan to drop below full-time or enroll for less than full-time. Failure to contact your DSO may cause serious delays in processing your request.
- If you have obtained the OIE DSO advice of your reducing course load, then complete the Form for F-1 Student Reduce Course Load.
- Attain the signature from your academic advisor or degree program coordinator at your department/college/school.
- Submit the Form for F-1 Student Reduce Course Load to Office of International Education together with all required support documents.
- After reviewing the RCL request form and supporting documents, a DSO at Office of International Education will make the final decision on your request. You will receive an email notifying you of the final decision.
- If your request is approved, DSO will issue an updated I-20 to you immediately.
- After obtaining an approval of reduced course load, you may drop below full time or register for less than full-time study.
Unacceptable Reasons for Reduced Course Load
- Financial difficulties
- Suspension from an academic program
- Working on classes with "incompletes" from a previous term
- Preparing for Examinations, i.e. CPA, GRE, GMAT, a pedagogy exam, and content area exam for a certified teacher in Texas, etc.
- Medical illness of a family member
- Child care issues
- Please be advised that a lack of financial support does not constitute a valid reason to reduce course load according to the U.S. Federal Rules and Regulations.
- If you select a medical reason for reducing the course load, you MUST attach an original supporting letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist to the application form. Also, limit to 12 months of reduced course load per degree level for a medical reason.
- Approval of a reduced course load is authorized on a semester basis.
- Only one online course can be counted toward full-time equivalency each semester. If a student only has one course to complete the program of study, the course cannot be completed online, which means that a student must be registered for at least one in-person course during his/her final semester.
- If a student fears the possibility of getting an "F" in a course, she/he is not eligible for an RCL based on academic difficulty.
- Reason for academic difficulty may be used one time (one semester) per degree level.
- If participating in a full-time required internship or a full-time Co-Op, students must submit the evidence that the internship is a requirement of the program, or documentation showing the student is participating in a co-op program approved by his/her academic department/college/school.