General F-1 and J-1 enrollment requirements, including Reduced Course Load requests, Registrar exceptions, and Co-enrollment, can be found here
ISSS considers a course to be online/distance if the instructional method in Compass is Web or Video OR the course section has a DIST attribute. For questions about what courses are considered distance or in-person at TAMU, please contact the Registrar
While both F-1 and J-1 students are allowed to enroll in distance/online course, there is a restriction on how many distance/online courses can count for maintaining their status. You can find the specific rules for F-1/J-1 distance enrollment here
F-1 and J-1 students are not allowed to enroll in a fully online or distance education academic program. ISSS cannot issue an I-20 or DS-2019 for students admitted to a fully online or a distance education program.
Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment:
Obtaining a Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization from ISSS
RCLs can only be done in the following situations:
- Student’s final semester – student must apply for graduation, can drop classes before ISSS authorizes RCL
- F-1 and J-1 students can do up to 2 final term RCLs
- Temporary medical condition – 12 months maximum, student can drop to 0 credits after receiving ISSS authorization
- Academic Reasons:
|F-1 Students||J-1 Students|
Must enroll in at least 6 credit hours
Must enroll in at least 1 credit hour
Reason is Academic Difficulty based on:
Improper Course Level Placement – Can be done anytime. OR
Initial Difficulties – Can only be done in the first year of their F-1 status. This means transfer students or students who went to high school in the U.S. may not be eligible.
Bona Fide Academic Reason based on the academic department's determination.
Both F-1 and J-1 students must enroll full-time in the next major semester after an academic RCL
Obtaining a Full-Time Flag from the Registrar
- Exceptions to Full Time Enrollment Minimums
- ISSS accepts a full-time flag in Compass as the student meeting full-time enrollment requirements for that semester.
- The student does not need to request an RCL from ISSS if they already have been flagged full-time by the Registrar.
In the final term, ISSS recommends that students obtain a Final Term RCL rather than relying on the full-time flag from the Registrar to maintain status. If the student is unable to graduate as planned, they are still in status by having a Final Term RCL because it is not reversed. However, students who only have a full-time flag are likely to have a status violation because the Registrar will remove this flag if they do not graduate.