Common Enrollment Situations

Generally, students on an F-1/J-1 student visa are required to remain enrolled full-time. A student's enrollment requirement can be affected by several factors. See full-time enrollment guidelines»

We understand that students may face situations where enrolling full-time may not be in their best interest. Immigration regulations allow a few exceptions to enrolling full-time»

Students must receive permission from OIA before they enroll less than full-time or drop a course.

Common Enrollment Problems

  • Requesting a reduced course load due to Academic Reasons

    See an example of a Request for Reduced Course Load eForm.

    Students have only one semester during their academic program in which s/he can enroll less than full-time due to academic difficulties. The student MUST request advance approval and MUST remain registered for half of their full-time enrollment requirement.

    After a student requests an enrollment exception, you will receive an eForm request via email. Please remember these are time sensitive. We must report on each student’s enrollment the Monday following the end of the 25% refund period. If the student requested the exception, but the request was not completed by the advisor, the result may mean that the student loses their legal status.

  • Administrative Withdrawals

    Many international students come from educational systems where attendance is optional. Please help us to reinforce that IUPUI requires attendance.

    Administrative withdrawals may have a negative impact on the international student’s immigration status.

    When a withdrawal will cause a student to drop below full-time, the Registrar notifies OIA. We refer students to academic advisors for help with adding additional courses or seeking an enrollment exception if possible. If the student fails to take action or is unable to, the student will lose their legal status in the US and be contacted by our office for further options.

  • Complete Withdrawals/Leave of Absence

    It is possible that a student may come to you requesting to withdraw from all his/her courses. This is permitted, though there are some serious immigration consequences for the student to consider. The student should NOT drop courses before first consulting with an OIA Advisor and getting OIA approval.

    See the procedure to request a complete withdrawal»

    If the student is requesting to withdraw due to a medical condition, he/she may be able to remain in the U.S.

    See information regarding a medical withdrawal»
  • Concurrent Enrollment at Two or More Institutions

    See Concurrent Enrollment information»

    Academic advisors do not need to confirm concurrent enrollment; OIA will do this. Students will need to have at least one credit enrollment at IUPUI and are still held to the online enrollment limit. Additionally, sponsored students are expected to ensure that their sponsor is aware of the dual enrollment and that their tuition/fees are paid at the second institution.

    If students are taking courses at Ivy Tech, they can use the Passport Program. International students must include a copy of their I-20 with the guest student application every semester.

    Students are required to complete the Concurrent Enrollment Verification eForm located in their F-1 Student Services menu (in Atlas) and attach a copy of their course schedule showing mode of instruction and credit hours. OIA reviews these verifications to ensure the student is enrolled full-time and will send the student approval or notify if there is a problem.

  • Online Enrollment

    See online enrollment guidelines.

    Sponsored students must seek approval from their financial sponsor to ensure that tuition/fees for online coursework are paid.

    Additional student scenarios include:


    • An undergraduate student has one (3 credit) online course and nine credits of face-to-face coursework all at IUPUI.

    • An undergraduate student has three (1 credit) online courses (3 credits total) and nine credits of face-to-face coursework all at IUPUI.

    • An undergraduate student has one (3 credit) online course at Ivy Tech and nine credits of face-to-face coursework at IUPUI. (Along with a concurrent enrollment request).

    • An undergraduate student has six credits of online courses and nine credits of face-to-face coursework. (Student is enrolled in 15 credits total)

    • An undergraduate student has an approved reduced course load request (making full-time enrollment 6 credit hours) three credits of online course work and three credits of face-to-face coursework.

    • A graduate student with a student academic appointment (full-time enrollment is only 6 hours) has a three credit online course and three credits of face-to-face coursework.

    • A graduate student with 3 credits of online coursework, 3 credits of hybrid coursework, and 3 credits of face-to-face coursework.


    • An undergraduate student has six credits of online courses and six credits of face-to-face coursework. Unacceptable (only 3 credits of online work can be used to satisfy the full-time enrollment requirement of 12 credit hours)

    • A student has one credit left to graduate and is taking that course online. Unacceptable, even though the student is taking the last course needed to graduate, s/he must have at least one credit of face-to-face coursework for immigration to consider his presence in the US required.

  • Change of Major/Program

    Once an undergraduate student has changed their major and it is properly displayed in their SIS plan stack, a student should contact to request their I-20 be updated. Sponsored students are responsible for seeking approval from their sponsor before changing majors.

    At the graduate level, if a student changes his/her degree level (jumps from a MS program to a Ph.D. program) s/he should contact OIA advisors will review the record to determine if new financial documentation is needed and issue an updated I-20 reflecting the student’s actual intention.

    If a graduate student is admitted into a new program, s/he will generally be contacted by for new funding documentation and to receive his/her new I-20.

  • Extension of Program

    Students are given the average time it takes for a student to complete a degree on their initial I-20/DS-2019 (undergraduates = 5 years, master’s students = 2.5 years, Ph.D. students = 6 years). Students may request an extension of I-20 in Atlas. Common reasons to extend include changes in research, unexpected problems with research, an abundance of preparatory courses, lack of course availability, etc.

    Unacceptable reasons to extend an I-20 include wanting to take courses not academically necessary (above and beyond) to meet degree requirements, failing too many courses (similar to financial aid standard), and extending graduation for employment reasons.

    Once requested by the student, advisors will receive an eForm via email. Advisors need to complete the form before we can process the extension. We need to understand what a reasonable graduation date will be as well as the number of remaining credits. If you do not support the extension, please let us know that.

    See an example of the extension eForm you will receive»