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Dropping a Class and Withdrawal

Are you thinking of dropping a course, or withdrawing from the semester? Before doing so please consider the following questions:

  • Will you be registered full-time or part-time after dropping the class?
  • If you would be part-time, does your F-1/J-1 status allow this? (See below for exceptions to the full-time registration requirement.)
  • What are the Registration Office's drop deadlines?

Full-Time Registration Required

In general, international students must be registered full-time. This is defined as 12 or more credits each semester for undergraduate students and 10 or more credits each semester for graduate students. Only one online class may count towards the minimum credit amount. According to the F-1 regulations, an online class is one that "does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class." Therefore any course that has some sort of physical attendance requirement, such as for a lecture, exam, or faculty meeting is not considered fully online for visa status purposes. Hybrid classes that are mostly online but have a physical presence requirement are not counted toward the 1 class limit for online courses.

Annual Drop, Withdrawal, Hardship Withdrawal, On-Leave Status

The University's annual drop, withdrawal, hardship withdrawal, and on-leave status policies sometimes conflict with the F-1/J-1 full-time registration requirement. Even though the ECSU registration policies might allow you to drop a class, or an academic adviser or professor might recommend you drop a class, you must also consider the F-1/J-1 rules, which are separate. Such a drop might be a violation of your F-1/J-1 status.

Procedure for Dropping/Withdrawing/Applying for On-Leave Status

You must meet with Dr. Petoskey for permission to drop a class after the semester has started, and of course if you wish to withdraw from the full semester. We will discuss the following questions before approving the drop or withdrawal.

  • Will the drop put you below full-time credits?
  • Do any of the full-time registration exceptions (see below) apply to you?
    • If not, will the drop violate your F-1/J-1 status?
    • If dropping the course will violate your status, are you aware of the serious risks associated with a status violation? Is the reason for the drop (such as GPA concerns) worth the risk?
    • Are there other alternatives, such as changing to a Credit/No Credit grading option or replacing the course with an online course so that you are still full-time? Status violation can be a serious matter, making you ineligible for benefits like employment authorization and jeopardizing your stay in and future travel to the U.S.

Exceptions to the Full-Time Registration Requirement

F-1 Status

A reduced course load (RCL) for specific academic reasons
Your academic adviser or class professor must send an email to Dr. Petoskey explaining that one of the following reasons apply to you. Note that the first two reasons are primarily for new students beginning their studies, since the exception reasons refer to "initial" difficulty.

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

Dr. Petoskey will review the email from your academic adviser or professor, evaluate whether or not a drop will be allowed, and if approved, will print a new I-20 for you. An academic RCL is only allowed one semester per degree level. You must request the RCL and receive approval from Dr. Petoskey by the end of the semester in which you need the approved RCL.

A reduced course load (RCL) for a documented medical condition
You must submit a letter to Dr. Petoskey from a "licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist." The doctor or psychologist must state in the letter their recommendation that you enroll either part-time or not at all for the specified semester.
A reduced course load due to a medical reason may be authorized multiple times so long as the aggregate period does not exceed 12 months. Regardless of the date during the semester you request the RCL, it will cover the entire semester and will subtract 6 months from your 12-month allowance. You must request the RCL and receive approval from Dr. Petoskey by the end of the semester in which you need the approved RCL. We will issue a new I-20 for you authorizing the RCL.

Final semester
You may take as few credits as required to complete your degree as long as you register for at least one credit at ECSU. An online class or a CPT-related credit cannot be the only class on your final semester schedule.

Concurrent Enrollment
You can "concurrently enroll," which means you take classes at ECSU and another school in the same semester, and the study abroad office combines the credits to count as full-time. To concurrently enroll, you must take the majority (at least 7 credits) of your required 12-credit minimum at ECSU, or for graduate students, at least 6 of your 10-credit minimum at ECSU. You must take courses at the appropriate educational level; the credits should count towards your ECSU degree. Consult with Dr. Petoskey about your plans in advance to be sure your concurrent enrollment request will be approved by her.

Submit a copy of your registration/class schedule from the other school to the Study Abroad office at the beginning of the semester, and email the Study Abroad office to confirm your concurrent enrollment. After you complete the semester, submit an unofficial transcript of your completed courses from the other school to the Study Abroad office. (This step is for F-1 purposes only. To officially transfer the credit, contact Undergraduate Admissions for instructions or the Registrar's office.) We highly encourage students to consult their faculty advisors prior to signing up for classes at other universities in order to make sure they will transfer to ECSU