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Reduce Course Load Waiver

International students in F-1 and J-1 status are required to maintain full-time enrollment each term.  All students planning to enroll in less than a full course of study must obtain PRIOR authorization to maintain status within the U.S.  A new RCL Waiver request is required for reauthorization if a student needs an RCL for more than one (1) term.   Students are also required to complete a Leave of Absence form with their department and with the Registrar’s Office if they are taking a year (undergraduate) or one term (grad) off.

U.S. immigration regulations allow students to drop below full-time enrollment only after the Designated School Official (DSO) -CISP’s Immigration advisor, approves and updates the student’s SEVIS record reflecting the reduced course load.

See 8 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) sec. 214.2(f)(iii)

(iii) Reduced course load. The designated school official may allow an F-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study as provided in this paragraph (f)(6)(iii). Except as otherwise noted, a reduced course load must consist of at least six semester or quarter hours, or half the clock hours required for a full course of study. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the DSO will be considered out of status.

Full-Time Course Load Requirement
ACADEMIC LEVEL    Minimum course load Minimum In-Person Unit*
English Language Program  All Core Classes All Core Classes
SUSA/ APP 12 units per Semester 9 units
Undergraduate  12 units per Semester 9 units
Graduate 6 units per Semester 3 units

NOTE:  J-1 students may have only one online class per semester to meet full-time requirement.

There are some immigration related exceptions to enroll in less than a full course of study; such as concurrent enrollment, medical conditions, and final term.  There is another exception called academic difficulty, students should contact CISP to discuss if academic difficulty applies to their situation.   CISP recommends speaking with an immigration advisor before any student drops below the required course load.

Exceptions to a Full Course of Study

Concurrent Enrollment at Another School

To be used if you have been given permission to take a class at another school to transfer to your CSUSB transcripts. Please be ready to upload your registered class schedule at the other school. If you cannot prove that you have 12 units at both CSUSB and your other school, you will need to add additional classes to get 12 units, at CSUSB.

Illness or Medical Condition 

You will need to have a note that excuses you from the entire term (ex. Excused for Spring 2024 term) from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist.  Please note that these are professional titles. If your doctor is not one of the ones listed above, they may need to have it signed off by their supervisor, who is.  If you cannot get a doctor’s note, you will need to add additional classes to get 12 units. 

Final Term

If you are graduating in the current term, please file a graduation check.  If you are a graduate student you must have 6 units each term until you are finishing your program. You can take your last class by itself or only be enrolled for culminating coursework without it equaling 6 units. If you are taking less than 6 units but you are not finishing your classes, then you need to send a signed program plan or other agreement between you and your program coordinator, for an RCL request. Otherwise, you don’t need to submit an RCL for these reasons.

Note for Final Term as the Summer Session or Winter Intersession: Students graduating at the end of the Summer Session must be enrolled full-time as per the above table with in-person class requirements being met. Failure to do so could affect immigration status and OPT eligibility. Students graduating at the end of the Winter Intersession must speak with an Immigration Advisor to discuss full-time and in-person requirements via a Reduced Course Load Waiver.  

Summer Session and Winter Intersessions

For main campus students, the Summer Intersession and Winter Intersession are considered vacation terms, students are not required to enroll in class.  However, students may do so without having to take a full course load. Permission is not required to take time off during the summer and winter sessions. 

NOTE* International Extension Program (IEP) students must have completed two (2) consecutive terms before taking a vacation term.  Please speak to your IEP immigration advisor to confirm if you are eligible.