Maintaining Status Overview

Key Points to Remember…

  • Do not let your I-20/DS-2019 expire.
  • Keep your passport valid and un-expired at all time.
  • Enroll and complete a full-time course of study during the fall and spring semesters.
Undergraduate 12 credit hours/semester to be full-time
Graduate9 credit hours/semester
MBA9 credit hours/semester
  • For students on F-1 or J-1 immigration status, only 1 online course (per semester) may be counted toward the full course of study requirement. For example, if you are required to take a minimum of 9 credits to maintain full-time enrollment as a graduate student, only 1 course within those 9 credits may be online.
  • Definition of “online” and “in-person” classes:
    • Please note that online classes are coded as OL (Asynchronous Online), OS (Synchronous Online), OH (Online Hybrid), or LIV (Live-Stream).
    • HY (Mixed Hybrid) courses may be counted as online or in-person depending on how often they meet face-to-face.  Those that predominantly require in-person attendance would be considered in-person courses. If you have any questions about this standard, please check with an OIP advisor.
  • If this is your final semester, you only need to take the remaining courses to complete your degree.
  • If there is only one course left to complete the degree requirement, that course may not be an online or distance learning course.
  • Courses taken for “audit” do not generate credits/units and cannot be used in calculating full-time status
  • Incomplete courses from a previous semester may not count towards your full-time enrollment for a current semester.

Reduced Course Load (RCL)

If for any reason you need to drop below full time, you must receive approval from an advisor in International Programs BEFORE dropping the class (unless you are in your final term of study). Fill out the iValpo e-form for Reduced Course Load (RCL) if you believe you are eligible.

Below are listed the only possible reasons for RCL authorization:
  • Final Term Completion of Course of Study
  • Academic Difficulties–must be one of the following situations and students must maintain at least a half-time course load (6 credits for undergraduate students, 4.5 credits for graduate students)

    • Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirement.
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods.
    • Improper course level placement.  Student must resume a full course load during the next academic term.
  • Concurrent Enrollment–students must have at least a half-time course load at Valpo.
  • Medical Condition

REMEMBER, except for Completion of Course of Study, these RCL reasons are only applicable if International Programs determines that the student meets strict regulations. Even if you feel that you may fall under one of these categories, you MUST submit the RCL e-form request and consult with an International Programs advisor BEFORE dropping below full-time credits.

Additional Reminders:

  1. New students, report to the International Programs office orientation sessions to have your SEVIS record registered in SEVIS immediately upon your arrival to Valpo.
  2. If you are a transfer student from another U.S. institution, you must complete the transfer procedures within 15 days from the start date of your Valpo I-20. You may do so by seeing an International Student Advisor. A new I-20 will be issued to you replacing the notation “transfer pending” to “continued attendance”.
  3. If you are transferring to another U.S. institution, you need to inform International Programs.
  4. Notify International Programs through iValpo if there is a change in your major or level of study. We will update your I-20 accordingly.
  5. Report any new U.S. residential address through iValpo within 10 days of the change (U.S. Local Address Change e-form). Also remember to update any change in your name, major, funding source, dependents, or country of citizenship.  These updates may also be reported through iValpo through various e-forms.
  6. Never work off campus without authorization from our office or from USCIS.
  7. Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours during the semester. On-campus employment includes assistantship, working for Valpo departments, bookstores, cafeteria, etc. On-campus employment means your employer is Valpo, and your pay check should be issued by Valpo.
  8. If you plan on dropping ALL classes or you are not returning to Valpo the following semester, you must contact an advisor immediately.

If you violate any of the above, you will be OUT OF STATUS. You may lose immigration benefits such as CPT, OPT, H1-B, and Permanent Residency. You may be denied visa or face deportation.

Carrying Documentation With You

  • U.S. law requires every foreign national age 18 or older to, at all times, carry with them and have in their personal possession documentation of their immigration status in the U.S.  You should carry…
    • A valid, unexpired I-94 admission record, or,
    • If you are on OPT, a USCIS employment authorization document (EAD).
    • Failure to do so is a misdemeanor and the foreign national can be fined up to $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

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