All international students in F-1/J-1 status are required to maintain a full course load of study during each semester in order to remain in compliance with their non-immigrant status. Illinois State University requires a 12 credit hour minimum for undergraduates and a 9 credit hour minimum for graduate students for the fall and spring semesters. Graduate students are also considered to be enrolled full-time if they are taking a minimum of 1 credit in a 499/599 (thesis) course.
If the summer semester is your first or last semester at ISU, it is NOT considered a vacation period and you must be enrolled full-time. A full course load for the summer consists of a minimum of 6 credit hours. You are also limited to 20 hours per week for on-campus work during the Summer semester, if it is your first or last semester.
International students in F-1/J-1 status wishing to drop a course after the 10th day of classes, must first request permission from ISSS by completing the Request to Drop Course form. Your request will NOT be approved if dropping the course will take you below full-time enrollment, unless you have already been approved for a Reduced Course Load (RCL). Please see the next section of this page for more information regarding reduced course loads.
If you are granted permission to drop, you will be copied on the email sent to the Registrar notifying them of the approval.
To take less than a full course load, F-1/J-1 students must be granted permission by an International Advisor before reducing their course load. A reduced course load can only be granted for very specific and limited reasons (outlined below), which are stipulated by the US Code of Federal Regulations.
F-1/J-1 students who want to apply for an RCL should read the information below related to the type of RCL they plan to request and submit a Reduced Course Load Request.
NOTE: Students approved for a reduced course load should contact the Student Insurance Office to ensure that they are still covered by Illinois State student insurance.
A reduced course load based upon academic difficulty is for students with:
F-1/J-1 students who want to apply for an RCL based upon academic difficulty must:
PLEASE NOTE: An Academic Difficulty RCL can only be authorized once per degree level.
A reduced course load based upon a medical condition is for students with a documented illness or medical condition. F-1/J-1 students who want to apply for an RCL based upon a medical condition must:
A reduced course load based upon final term is for students who will graduate in the current term and need less than a full-course load to meet all degree requirements. F-1/J-1 students who want to apply for an RCL based upon final term must: