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Full-Time Student

F. Full Time Student

  • Be a full-time student each academic quarter. You must complete (not just register for) a full course load each term:
    • 18 contact hours for English Language Institute students
    • 12 credit hours for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students
    • 10 credithours for graduate students
  • For F-1 academic students, no more than one online class (three credit hours) or distance education course in any term may count toward your full-time requirement. Post-baccalaureate and undergraduate students must take at least 9 credits of in-person classes each term; graduate students need at least 7 credits of in-person classes.  ELI students may not take any distance education courses to meet full time requirements.
  • Audited classes do not count toward the full-time requirement.
  • If you withdraw from a class at any time during the quarter, that class cannot count toward the full-time requirement.
  • Attend only the university named on your I-20 or DS-2019.  There are some exceptions during annual vacation, but you must check with an immigration advisor first.
  • Make normal academic progress. Visit the OGI Academic Advisor to create a study plan and follow your plan.  It is permissible to fail a class from time to time, but if it becomes impossible for you to graduate on-time, you will be considered out of status.
  • Attend all of your classes, every day. Remember that if you are not in the classroom then there is no reason for you to be in the U.S. as a student.
  • Concurrent enrollment with another institution is allowed only with prior permission from a DSO or ARO. OGI’s Concurrent Enrollment Request form must be signed by your academic advisor and you must provide proof of enrollment in the specific class.
  • If you need to drop below a full course load for any quarter, make an appointment with an OGI immigration advisor before taking any action – even if you are failing a class or if you believe that you are eligible for a vacation.
  • Reduced coarse loads (RCLs) are only permissible if you meet one of the following criteria and have appropriate documentation:
    • Academic Difficulties -- initial difficulty with English or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods, or improper course level placement. [Only available one quarter per level of study]
    • Medical Conditions -- current documentation from a U.S. licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist required. [Permission must be re-authorized each quarter – total may not exceed 12 months in a level].  Letters must include a specific diagnosis and recommendation for less than full time study.
    • Final Term in Program of Study -- fewer than 12 undergraduate or 10 graduate credits to complete, or fewer than 18 contact hours to complete ELI program. Classes must be taken in-person (not online). Completing courses from previous terms does not count as enrollment during your final term.
    • Registered for Thesis/Project class -- this reduced courseload authorization is only possible so long as you are actually registered in thesis or final project credits.  Master’s students who cannot register for further thesis or project credit may need to apply for Optional Practical Training or take other steps to maintain valid status.
  • Summer Session: If you will not be taking a full course load you must receive authorization from OGI in advance of the term. You are not required by USCIS to enroll in classes during the summer session unless summer is your first term in a new program (new I-20) or you have taken a different vacation term within the three previous quarters. Please check with your immigration advisor to make sure you are authorized to take less than a full course load in the summer. You must still submit your RCL form.
  • Annual Vacation: Summer is Eastern’s usual vacation term.  However, if you have been enrolled full time for three consecutive terms (including summer) at the same academic level, you may be elgibile to request Fall, Winter, or Spring as your annual vacation term instead.