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.
|Academic English||20 clock hours|
|Undergraduate/Undergraduate Pathway||12 credits|
|Graduate/Graduate Pathway||9 credits or
at least 1 credit of 499/599
|Summer (First or last semester only )||6 credits|
NOTE: Due to COVID, the U.S. government is temporarily allowing F-1/J-1 international students to enroll in more online courses than would normally be permitted by immigration regulations. Continuing F-1 students can enroll in a combination of in-person, hybrid, and online courses (while inside the U.S.) or enroll in 100% online courses (from inside or outside the U.S.) and maintain their status provided they have maintained all other requirements of their nonimmigrant status since March 9, 2020.
There are specific limits for online and distance education courses that are stipulated by the immigration regulations. At Illinois State, both online and hybrid courses are considered distance education. For the exact definition of these course types, please see the Course-Type Definitions listed on the Office of the Registrar's website.
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 and you cannot be enrolled in only online or hybrid courses.
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.
NOTE: Academic English and Undergraduate Pathway students who have a required summer semester as part of their prescribed program of study must be enrolled full-time during that summer semester.
International students in F-1/J-1 status must be enrolled full-time unless they first receive permission from ISSS for a Reduced Course Load. If you wish to drop a class after the 10th day of classes, you must submit a request to the Office of the Registrar that will need to be approved by ISSS before it is processed. 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.
International students in F-1/J-1 status can audit courses, but these courses DO NOT count towards meeting the full-time enrollment requirements.
Only certain courses are offered on a credit/no credit basis. International students in F-1/J-1 status can take credit/no credit courses, and these courses can count towards meeting the full-time enrollment requirements.
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 generally reserved for new students in their first semester due to:
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:
F-1 students at Illinois State University may choose to take classes concurrently at another SEVIS-approved school. To request concurrent enrollment, please submit a Concurrent Enrollment Request.
Any credits earned at the other institution must be transferred back to ISU and count towards meeting your ISU degree requirements. No more than one course may be taken online at either institution.
Students who are approved for concurrent enrollment must be aware of class drop policies at both institutions and must continue to be enrolled full-time. The combined credits earned at both institutions must be equivalent to a full courseload (12 credits for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduates) and at least half of the credits earned (rounded up) during the semester of concurrent enrollment must be from Illinois State University.