Medical Reduced Course Load

If F-1 students experience a medical emergency or event and need a break from their studies, they should work with the Center for International Students (CIS) to request a reduced course load (RCL) for medical conditions. The CIS may authorize an RCL (or, if necessary, no course load) due to a student’s temporary illness or medical condition for up to 12 months during the course of study at that program level.

Medical RCLs:

  • Cannot exceed 12 month aggregate per program level (Lewer insurance plans will only cover one semester)
  • Require a student continue to maintain Lewer insurance coverage even if they are not enrolled in classes.
  • May excuse a student from all classes
  • Require a student provide medical documentation recommending a specific period of time off or reduced course load from a licensed:
    • Medical Doctor
    • Doctor of Osteopathy
    • Clinical Psychologist
  • Are authorized for one semester at a time, the student is responsible for renewing the RCL each term, and providing new or continuing medical information
  • May be used back-to-back or at different times during a program level
  • Only apply to the student. Students wishing to take time off to care for ill relatives would not qualify.
  • The condition must be of a nature that full-time study is not possible. Allergies, sprained ankles, or pregnancy would not count.

Students who wish to apply for Medical RCL must submit a completed Medical Exception to a Full Course of Study form along with medical documentation at two weeks prior to the semester in which they plan to have reduced or no course load.

Students will also need to apply for an official Leave of Absence from the University. You can do so on the ‘Student’ Tab in Truview under ‘Registration.’ Select ‘Medical Leave’ or ‘Personal Leave.’

If RCL for medical conditions is not adequate for meeting the needs of the student, the CIS may instead authorize a Leave of Absence. Students should note that Leave of Absence may NOT be taken in the United States. Students who do not qualify for a Medical RCL must either become enrolled full time or depart the United States.

In the case of a Leave of Absence, the CIS would terminate the student’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record for authorized early withdrawal and the student would need to depart the United States within 15 days. When the student is ready to return to their program of study, the CIS would submit a correction request in SEVIS to return the student’s record to Active. The student’s absence should not exceed five months.

The student must always talk to their CIS before they stop attending classes, otherwise the student risks having their SEVIS record terminated for unauthorized withdrawal and must depart the United States immediately.