Reduced Course Load (RCL)
A reduced course load is a type of authorization that may be granted to international students which allows them to drop below the full-time course load required to maintain their F-1 student status.
Full-time enrollment at St. Cloud State University:
Undergraduate = 12 credits / Masters = 8 credits / Doctoral = 6 credits
Types of RCL
Academic Difficulties - allows international students to engage in a less than full-time course of study for the following reasons:
- Initial difficulties with the English language
- Initial difficulties with reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
- Improper course level placement
Illness or Medical Conditions - allows international students to engage in a less than full-time course of study due to their temporary illness or medical condition for a period of time not to exceed 12 months while they are pursuing a course of study at a particular program level.
Completion of Course of Study - allows international students to only take the required courses, not additional, to satisfy the requirements of graduation during their final semester.
Who is eligible for an RCL?
International students can apply for an RCL if:
- The student is currently in valid F-1 student status.
- The student meets all necessary requirements for the requested category. (Please refer to the Reduced Course Load (RCL) Request for F-1 Students Form)
Who is NOT eligible for an RCL?
International students CANNOT apply for an RCL if:
- The student has a previously authorized RCL due to academic difficulties. The student is not eligible for a second RCL due to academic difficulties while pursuing a course of study at the same program level.
- The student has a previously authorized RCL due to illness or medical condition for 12 months. The student is not eligible for another RCL due to illness or medical condition while pursuing a course of study at the same program level.
- The student does not finish their program of study after a second RCL for completion of course of study. The student is not eligible for a third RCL.
Important Points to Remember
- Students must allow 5 business days for the Center for International Studies to process their request.
- International students may not withdraw from a course or enroll for a reduced course load without receiving PRIOR authorization from the Center for International Studies.
- If authorized an RCL, international students must resume a full course of study at the next available semester, excluding the summer session, in order to maintain F-1 student status.
- An international student authorized an RCL for academic difficulties while pursuing a course of study at a particular program level may still be authorized an RCL due to an illness or medical condition.
- In order to authorize an RCL based upon an illness or medical condition, the international student must provide medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist, to substantiate the illness or medical condition.
- An international student may be re-authorized an RCL for a reason of illness or medical condition for an additional semester as long as the period of time does not exceed 12 months. The international student must re-apply and provide current medical documentation.
- An international student may continue to work on-campus while on an approved RCL as long as the employment will not interfere with the student’s academic studies and the student is enrolled in at least one credit.
- If an international student only needs one course to finish their degree requirements, the course can not be taken through online or distance education, unless there is a physical presence requirement for the course (hybrid). The course must be taken through St. Cloud State University.