Immigration regulations require that F-1 and J-1 students maintain a full course of study (minimum of 12 credits each semester for most students; 9 credits for Graduate Students with an Assistantship; 1 or more credits for Graduate Students approved by the Graduate School for Full-Time Certification). However, the regulations do permit a "Reduced Course Load" in very limited situations. If a student cannot enroll full-time, they must be approved by International Student Services for a Reduced Course Load before dropping below full-time.
An Academic Reduced Course Load permits F-1 and J-1 students to reduce their course load below full-time (to a minimum of 6 credits) if they are experiencing academic difficulty. An Academic Reduced Course Load can be used only one time per degree level.
To be eligible for an Academic Reduced Course Load, a student must be experiencing academic difficult in one of the following areas:
*Not applicable for students who are continuing their studies at UB at a new degree level.
The Reduced Course Load application must be signed by an Academic Advisor AND approved by ISS BEFORE a student is permitted to drop or resign below full-time or before someone is administratively withdrawn from a course(s).
The completed Reduced Course Load form must be submitted to ISS before the end of the Add/Drop period.
If the add/drop period has passed and it is necessary to resign a course due to academic difficulty, then submit a complete Reduced Course Load e-form. If ISS approves the Reduced Course Load then the student may resign below full-time.
Students who drop or resign below full-time without an ISS approved Reduced Course Load are considered out of status. This immigration violation could result in SEVIS termination and other serious consequences.
If the Reduced Course Load is approved by ISS, it is the student's responsibility to drop or resign the appropriate courses by the university deadlines to drop or resign courses. Specific drop/resign dates can be found on the Office of the Registrar's website. It is also important to consider financial liability deadlines (i.e. fees charged when a course is resigned) when deciding if resigning a course is appropriate.
The Academic Reduced Course Load application form requires an Academic Advisor's signature. Therefore, students should plan to discuss their situation with an Advisor. If an Academic Advisor is supportive of the application, please complete the Academic Reduced Course Load Form and follow the directions below:
REMEMBER: Do not drop or resign below full-time until ISS approves the Reduced Course Load request. ISS will make a decision on the request (approve or deny), and will notify the student of our decision via email within 5-7 business days of submission.
Once approved by ISS, a Reduced Course Load cannot be canceled.
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