International Student Services

Reduced Course Load (RCL) for Specific Academic Reasons

Your ISS adviser can authorize you to drop a course and have part-time enrollment for an academic reason. These are the reasons allowed by the F-1 regulations:

  • Initial difficulty with the English language
  • Initial difficulty with reading requirements
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement

ISS advisers can only authorize an academic RCL in coordination with your academic adviser or course professor/instructor. We in ISS are not academic advisers; we do not have expert knowledge about your course curriculum or performance in your course. We require information from an academic adviser or course professor/instructor to assess your eligibility for part-time enrollment.

  • You must request the RCL and receive approval from your ISS adviser by the end of the quarter in which you want to drop the course.
  • An academic RCL is only allowed one quarter per degree level.
  • You will receive a new I-20 if your ISS adviser approves your RCL request.

How to Apply

  1. Print theĀ ISS Academic Reduced Course Load Form.
  2. Consult your course professor/instructor or academic adviser about your difficulties in the course. Explain that because of your F-1 status, you must obtain special permission to drop a course if you will be part-time after the course drop. It might be helpful to print this page to share with them or email them a link to this information.
  3. Ask your academic adviser or course instructor to complete the instructor/academic adviser section of the paper form. They may or may not assess that you meet the criteria to drop the course. If the agree to sign the form, continue to step 4.
  4. Complete the online request below (you must upload a scan/photo of your completed Reduced Course Load Form):

  6. Allow 15 business days for processing. Your primary ISS adviser will contact you. If approved, your ISS adviser will also assist you with dropping your course.