Requesting a Reduced Course Load (RCL)

Applying Online

All F-1/J-1 students are required to enroll full-time every semester, with very limited exceptions. A reduced course load (RCL) is permission to be registered below full-time during a semester.

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Final Term Exception

You are allowed to be less than full-time in the final term of your degree program if you do not need a full-time course load to complete your degree requirements. You do not need to request permission for an RCL and no further action is required.

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Eligibility to request permission for an RCL

You need to request and be granted permission from us for an RCL prior to dropping below full-time enrollment if one of the exceptions below applies to you. 

1)  Academic difficulties during your degree program

This exception may be used one time only and you must resume a full course of study at the next available semester.

  • initial difficulty with the English language (first semester)
  • initial difficulty with reading requirements (first semester)
  • unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods (first semester)
  • improper course level placement. This means not having the prerequisites or preparation for a course and is not limited to the first semester

2)  Temporary illness or medical/mental health difficulties

You may apply for an RCL on the basis of a temporary health situation for one semester. If additional time is needed, a new application with new documentation is required for any subsequent semester. You are limited by regulation to a total of 12 months of approved RCL time during your degree program.

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How to Request an RCL

Steps to apply for a reduced course load
Step 1.

Gather your documents

Step 2.

Log in to Compass with your UNI and password to submit your application

Please click the appropriate link below:

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.
Need help using Compass? Learn more on our Compass User Guide.

Step 3.

We will contact you

Allow up to 5 business days for us to review your application. We will notify you by email when your request has been processed.

Step 4.

Contact your school (after approval)

Once you are approved, check with your school to determine how you may drop your course(s) if it is past the add/drop period.