Academic Reduced Course Load
When to Apply for a Reduced Course Load
Students seeking to drop below full-time enrollment should apply for the RCL prior to dropping coursework or withdrawing. Students must keep in mind the deadlines for dropping a course and receiving a “W” on their transcript. These dates can always be found on the Registrar’s website under Academic Calendars.
If approved, the RCL will be for the entire duration of the semester, even if the authorization is not granted until partway through the semester. For example, if the RCL is requested and approved in October, authorization will be given for the start of fall semester through the end of fall semester.
The Reduced Course Load- Academic e-form is available for submission: August 1- September 30 (Fall Semester) and January 1 - February 28 (Spring Semester)
If a student needs to submit a request outside of this timeline, please contact ISSS advisors at International@MiamiOH.edu and you will be helped! Students seeking to drop below full-time enrollment should apply for the RCL prior to dropping coursework or withdrawing. Students must keep in mind the deadlines for dropping a course and receiving a “W” on their transcript. These dates can be found on the Academic Calendar. If approved, the RCL will be for the entire duration of the semester, even if the authorization is not granted until partway through the semester. For example, if the RCL is requested and approved in October, authorization will be given from the start through the end of fall semester.
How to Apply for a Reduced Course Load
- Discuss the situation with a divisional academic advisor and ISSS as appropriate.
- Log in to your Interlink account (click the blue login button) using your unique ID and password. Complete one of the following e-forms depending on your situation:
- Reduced Course Load Request—Academic” e-form. Note that your academic advisor will need to review your request after you submit the e-form. Your advisor will receive an email message from ISSS which will provide a link to review your request.
- After your advisor comments on your e-form request, ISSS will review your request. You will be contacted by email after your request is processed. If you are eligible for an RCL, ISSS will process your RCL authorization in SEVIS and send you an email notification. If your RCL was based on final semester of study, your I-20 end date will be shortened to the end date of the given semester and a new I-20 will be printed for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Government regulations do not allow for an RCL based on poor academic performance. If you are struggling in one or more courses, you will not be authorized for an RCL based on this reason alone. If it is your first semester at Miami University, you may want to explore the possibility of an RCL based on academic difficulty. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression, you may want to consider seeing a counselor at Student Counseling Service.
If none of these options is appropriate for your situation, you will have to make a decision between staying in the course and potentially failing it or dropping the course and losing your legal status. This is a complex issue and we urge you to discuss your situation with an ISSS advisor before making a decision. Please call 513-529-8600 or utilize Miami’s online scheduling system to make an appointment.
If you drop below full-time enrollment without authorization for an RCL, you will be in danger of losing your legal status. Generally, you will be given a short period of time (no more than 21 days) to add credits to bring your total back up to the required minimum (12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 for graduate students). If you fail to do so, your SEVIS record will be terminated and you will lose your legal status. You will be expected to depart the U.S. immediately or apply for reinstatement of status (if eligible).
No. As long as you remain enrolled in at least 12 credits, you are considered to be maintaining your status, even if you fail one or more courses. However, you may eventually face academic suspension due to a low GPA if you continue to fail your courses. If you are suspended, you will lose your F-1 legal status at that point.
If you have been authorized for an RCL based on final semester and realize that you are not likely to graduate, you will first need to request an extension of your I-20 at least one week before the expiration date. Assuming ISSS is able to extend your I-20 for an additional semester, you will then need to request an RCL for final semester again for the additional semester. This scenario will require additional scrutiny from ISSS as we examine why you were not able to graduate and how likely you are to graduate after an additional semester. Note that an RCL for final semester can never be granted more than twice. If you fail to graduate in a semester for which you were granted an RCL based on final semester, you will only have one more semester to complete your degree. If you fail to graduate after a second semester of RCL, you will lose your F-1 status.
Please do not ever do this without speaking to an ISSS advisor first, as it may put your legal F-1 status in danger.
Audited courses do not count toward full-time enrollment. Courses taken as credit/no credit, however, do count toward full-time enrollment.
No. Once you are granted an RCL based on completion of required coursework and credits, your RCL “clock” has begun and you cannot reverse it. RCLs based on completion of required coursework and credits are authorized based on the understanding that you have only thesis/dissertation remaining and only need at most 2 more semesters (excluding summer) to complete your degree requirements. While you would not be prohibited from enrolling in extra credit hours after being approved for an RCL, doing so will not allow you to have additional time to complete your degree or to “save” additional RCLs for future semesters.
Your eligibility for RCLs is tied to your degree level. For example:
- If you were authorized for an RCL based on academic difficulty while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at another U.S. institution and then transferred to Miami University to complete your Bachelor’s degree, you would not be eligible for another RCL based on academic difficulty at that degree level.
- If you used 6 months of RCL for medical reasons while pursuing a Master’s degree elsewhere in the U.S., you would have 6 months of RCL for medical reasons left if you transferred to Miami University to complete your Master’s degree.
Immigration regulations do not prohibit you from working on campus during a period of an authorized RCL. However, you will need to think seriously about your ability to spend time working on campus, depending on the basis for your RCL. If you have medical or mental health issues, it may be difficult or impossible for you to work. If you are having academic difficulties, ISSS would strongly urge you to spend your time on your coursework rather than working on campus. In addition, Miami University policies require students to be enrolled in a certain number of credits in order to be eligible to work on campus. For more information, contact the Student Employment or Academic Personnel offices.
It depends. Some of Miami’s services are funded through fees or are only available to full-time students. If you are not enrolled full-time or being charged the relevant fee, this may cause you to lose access. To confirm the policy, please check with the relevant offices.