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Reduced Course Load


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

  1. 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.
  2. If you have obtained the OIE DSO advice of your reducing course load, then complete the Form for F-1 Student Reduce Course Load.
  3. Attain the signature from your academic advisor or degree program coordinator at your department/college/school.
  4. Submit the Form for F-1 Student Reduce Course Load to Office of International Education together with all required support documents.
  5. 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.
  6. If your request is approved, DSO will issue an updated I-20 to you immediately.
  7. 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

Special Notes

  • 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.