Completion of Degree Program

In your final term, if the total number of credits you need to graduate does not add up to a full-time level, you may take less than a full-time schedule. For example, if you are an undergraduate student, and you only need six more credits to graduate, you are allowed to be enrolled less than full-time (12 credits) and take only those six credits.

HOWEVER, don’t forget that at least one of those remaining classes MUST be on campus! You are not allowed to take ONLY online classes in your final term, and you cannot take more than 1 online class if you are taking less then full-time credits due to fact that you are in your final term.

According to immigration regulations, once you have completed all the required courses for your degree, you have completed your program. It does not matter which semester you are participating in the graduation ceremony. You may not request to take additional courses in a new semester once your required coursework has been completed.

 

Grace Period

F-1 students have a 60-day grace period; J-1 students have 30 days. Your grace period will begin at the end of the term in which you complete all degree requirements (i.e., the last day of exams in your final term). Your I-20/DS-2019 will be shortened to this date.

 

Employment

  • On-Campus Work
    • F-1 and J-1 students are permitted to work on campus up to the last day of their final enrolled term. Please notify your department that you can no longer work on campus after the last day of exams of your final term.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    • Post-completion Optional Practical Training is work authorization after graduation for F-1 students. You must attend an OPT workshop before applying for OPT through iValpo.  See here for details.
  • Academic Training (AT)
    • Academic Training is work authorization for J-1 students. Check with your program sponsor or government sponsor to see if you are allowed to participate in this after graduation.

 

Pursuing Further Studies

  • If you wish to pursue another degree at Valpo, please make sure a new I-20 or DS-2019 is issued to you within the grace period.
  • If you wish to pursue a degree at another institution, please refer to the SEVIS transfer-out procedures. Your SEVIS record must be transferred out and a new I-20 and DS-2019 must be obtained within the grace period (60 days for F-1, 30 days for J-1).

 

Change of Status

If you are going to change your immigration status, the application must be filed within the grace period. While your application is pending, you may be able to remain in the U.S.

 

Travel Outside the U.S.

After you complete your degree requirements, it is not possible to travel outside the U.S. and return to the U.S. during your grace period in F-1 or J-1 status unless you have practical training authorization and proof of employment. You may travel within the U.S. during the grace period.

If for any reason you cannot graduate as planned and your I-20 or DS-2019 has already expired, please see an International Programs advisor immediately.

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