There are very few exceptions to the full time course load rule. Students must request approval from an OIP advisor for before dropping below full-time academic status. Studentst who drop below a full course of study without the prior approval from OIP will be considered out of status and must be reported in SEVIS. The students SEVIS record will be terminated and they will lose F-1 status and their employment eligibility and benefits.
To obtain approval, students must submit a signed and completed Reduced Course Load (RCL) form to OIP. The RCL form must be signed by the student and the student鈥檚 academic advisor (except RCL due to medical condition).
- Academic difficulty
- Medical condition
- Completion of course of study
- Thesis/Project/Recital/Oral Defense/Exam (Graduate students only)
RCL due to academic difficulty is only available for students who are attending school in the US for the first time. This is a one-time only exception. Continuing students who have been attending SF State are not eligible for this exception.
Students who wish to request RCL due to academic difficulty must meet with an OIP advisor and submit request in person. The RCL form must be signed by both the student and by the student's academic advisor. Permission from OIP MUST be obtained by university鈥檚 withdrawal deadline posted on Registrar鈥檚 website
Federal Immigration regulations define academic difficulty as:
- Initial difficulty with English Language or reading requirements (First semester in the U.S. only); or
- Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods (First semester in the U.S. only); or
- improper course placement
(Students must provide written proof from academic advisor explaining how student was misadvised. The written proof must be printed on the department letterhead and sign by the academic advisor)
Once the RCL is approved, students must:
- Registered for at least 6 units (for Undergraduate) or 4 units (for graduates) in the approved semester
- Resume a full course of study in the next available Fall/Spring Semester in order to maintain legal student status
- Will not be eligible for a second RCL due to academic difficulty authorization
- Will be eligible for RCL due to completion of study or Thesis/Project/Recital/Oral Defense/Exam
To apply for approval to take a reduced course load due to medical condition, permission from OIP MUST be obtained:
- If the student is not planning to enroll full-time due to medical condition: permission must be obtained before the student registers, or within 2 weeks of the semester start at SF State
- If the student is enrolled full-time and medical condition occurs during the semester: contact an
advisor at OIP immediately
Students must request a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist to complete the 2nd page of the RCL due to medical condition form, or attach an original letter from the doctor (on the doctor鈥檚 original letterhead stationary) substantiating the student鈥檚 illness or medical condition (this means a brief but detailed description of student鈥檚 medical condition/illness), The doctor鈥檚 letter must also recommend that the student enroll in either 0 units or in a part-time course of study for this semester.
- A reduced course load or withdrawal from SF State due to a medical condition cannot exceed a total of more than 12 months (Summer session is not included)
- A separate request form must be completed and approved each semester, if more than one semester of reduced course load or withdrawal is needed
- If the request is approved, student must resume a full course of study in the next available Fall/Spring Semester in order to maintain legal student status, unless another RCL is approved
- Requests for RCL due to medical condition will only be considered if the request is submitted BEFORE the end of the semester in which the student wishes to be part-time. RCL due to medical condition can not be approved retroactively
OIP may authorize a reduced course load if the student is in his or her final semester and if fewer courses
than a full-time course load are needed to complete the degree program listed on his/her I-20. If the RCL is approved,
the student must then be registered for those units needed to complete the course of study and must graduate at the end of the semester.
The signed RCL form must be submitted to OIP within 2 weeks of the semester start.
Business and HTM major students must get a signature from BUS 112.
Download RCL due to completion of course of study form
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Download RCL due to Thesis/Project/Recital/Oral Defense/Exam form
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