Reduced Course Load Request Form
Procedure for F-1 international students wishing to apply for a reduced course load
What is a reduced course load?
A student enrolled in less than a full-course of study. Federal regulations allow for a reduced course load (RCL) in limited
instances if approved by a Designated School Official (DSO).
What is full-time enrollment status?
An international student on an F-1 visa is legally required to maintain full-time enrollment during the fall and spring
semesters. F-1 students are not required to enroll in classes during the annual summer break or scheduled college
recesses. However, if a student starts in February, March, or April, they must enroll as a full-time student (6 credits or
equivalent in the Intensive English Program). Please note that students may only count a maximum of one online,
distance education or telecourse toward full-time enrollment. Full time at ECC is defined as:
12 semester hours minimum per semester for college-level classes
20 clock hours per week per session for the Intensive English Program
What are the consequence of dropping below a full course load?
An F-1 student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the DSO will be considered out of
status pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(6)(iii). Falling out of F-1 status is a very serious violation of your responsibilities as an
international student, and it can have long-term consequences on your immigration benefits in the U.S. A student who is
out of status is no longer eligible for benefits such as practical training, on-campus employment, and travel signatures to
re-enter the U.S. If a student fails to rectify their status, they are at risk of being deported and/or being unable to secure
visas to enter the U.S. in the future.
Prior Approval Requirement
Reduced course load requests must be received at least two weeks before you anticipate reducing your course load. You
must verify that your RCL request has been approved prior to registering for less than a full course load and/or before
dropping a course that will result in less than a full course load. Submission of this form does not guarantee a RCL
request will be approved. Please note that a reduced course load based on financial need is not a qualifying reason.
Special Documentation Required
1. Students seeking an RCL during their final semester must submit a verification letter and education plan from the
International Academic Advisor.
2. Students seeking an RCL for academic difficulty must present a typed letter from the International Academic
Advisor verifying the need for an RCL. Students enrolled in the Intensive English Program who request an RCL
based on initial difficulties with the English language must submit a letter from the Director of the Intensive
English Program verifying this need.
3. Students with a temporary, serious medical condition may apply for an RCL based on medical necessity provided
they submit a letter recommending an RCL from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed
clinical psychologist, to the DSO to substantiate the illness or medical condition. The letter cannot be dated more than
30 days before the start of the semester for which the RCL is requested. All letters must days adhere to the following:
Typed on physician’s letterhead, dated, signed by the physician and clearly state the physician’s contact
information.
State that full-time enrollment is not advisable due to a medical condition for a specific semester.
Specify a recommended number of enrollment hours for the semester the RCL is requested.
Indicate a date the student is expected to resume a full course load. Please note an RCL for medical reasons
cannot exceed an aggregate of 12 months while the student is pursuing a course of study at a particular program
level. If an RCL is requested beyond one semester, a student must submit a new request form and updated
medical documentation.
Center for International Education and Programs at Elgin Community College | 1700 Spartan Drive, B105 | Elgin, IL 60123
Email: international@elgin.edu | Phone: +1.847.214.7809 | Fax: +1.847.931.4897
11/2019
____________ I have a temporary, serious illness that requires less than full-time enrollment. Approval for an RCL based
on medical reasons cannot exceed 12 months, and I must obtain permission each semester. I cannot receive an RCL based
on academic difficulty if I have already been authorized for an RCL of 12 months. Current medical documentation from a
licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist must be attached. Please follow the
guidelines as outlined above.
___________ Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods (first semester only)
__________ I am in my final semester and need fewer than 12 semester hours to complete the course of study. You must
attach a verification and education plan from the International Academic Advisor.
Zip Code: __________________________
____________________________________________ ________________________________
Reduced Course Load Request Form
Name: _____________________________________________________ Student ID:__________________________
Last First Middle
Address: ___________________________________________________ City:________________________________
State: _________________ Phone: ______________________________
Email: _____________________________________________________ Semester for RCL:______________________
Program of Study: ____________________________________________ Start Date at ECC: _____________________
I anticipate being enrolled in a total of _________ credit/clock hours during the semester I am requesting an RCL. I
certify I have read this form and the instructions and certify that all information is correct to the best of my knowledge.
Student Signature Date
Please indicate which reason you are requesting an RCL and attach all required documentation.
1. Final Semester
2. Academic Difficulty
Students may only be approved for one semester of a reduced course load per program level. Minimum enrollment
must equal a total of six semester hours in credit classes or 12 clock hours in the Intensive English Program. You must
submit a letter of verification from the International Academic Advisor or the Director of the Intensive English Program
if you are studying ESL.
___________ Improper course level placement
___________ Initial difficulties with the English language (first semester only)
___________ Initial difficulties with reading requirements (first semester only)
3. Medical Reasons
This information is subject to change without notice. For individual questions, please contact the Center for
International Education and Programs for an appointment.
For office use only:
Approved:
Yes No
Documentation Attached: Yes
No
Approval Date: _____________
DSO Approval Signature: ________________________________
Center for International Education and Programs at Elgin Community College | 1700 Spartan Drive, B105 | Elgin, IL 60123
Email: international@elgin.edu | Phone: +1.847.214.7809 | Fax: +1.847.931.4897
11/2019
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