Obtaining Reduced Course Load Authorization
If you have a reason supported by the regulations to be approved for a Reduced Course Load (RCL), you must first get written authorization from ISS before the end of the add/drop period.
Students are authorized for a Reduced Course Load for the following reasons only:
- Medical reasons (must not exceed an aggregate of 12 months per program level)
- Academic reasons:
- Initial difficulties with the English language
- Initial difficulties with reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
- RCL in the final semester
- Concurrent enrollment at another educational institution
Regulatory reasons that you may be authorized for reduced course load:
- If your department has determined that you are unfamiliar with U.S. teaching methods or requirements, or that you were improperly placed in a course level, you may seek a course load reduction. (This does not apply to ESL students.)
- Your department has determined that you need ESL training so you are enrolling in non-credit-bearing ESL courses. (Exchange: 6 hours of ESL = one 3-credit program course.) (This does not apply to ESL students.)
- You have a medical reason to be enrolled less than full-time and able to document it clearly with medical documents. F-1 Students are limited to authorization of a medical reduced course load for no more than one year per program of study.
- You are employed on campus pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship that is deemed to be part of your academic program. You will need to provide a letter from the Financial Aid Office offering the award and a letter from your Department Chair detailing your responsibilities.
- As part of your program of study requirements, you are concurrently enrolled in courses at another university, bringing your total enrollment to full-time.
- This is your last semester and you need fewer courses than a full-time load to satisfy all the requirements of your program of study.
- You were not in the U.S., and therefore not in F-1 Student status and not required to be enrolled full-time during a semester.
For J-1 Students, similar limits apply. Please speak to an ISS advisor regarding your circumstances.
To apply for Reduced Course Load you must submit:
- ISS Service Request Form
- Completed Reduced Course Load Approval Form signed by your Academic Advisor.
- Official letter from a health care professional OR academic advisor stating the reasons why a reduced course load is needed. (A letter is not needed for RCL authorization in the final semester.)
- Proof of registration, if you are concurrently enrolled at another institution.