International Student and Scholar Services

Reduced Course Load (RCL)

Types

  • 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.
  • Academic difficulties — allows international students to engage in a less than full-time course of study for the following reasons (only allowed the student's 1st semester in the U.S.):
    • Initial difficulties with the English language.
    • Initial difficulties with reading requirements.
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods.
    • Improper course level placement.
  • 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.

Eligible

  • Student is currently in valid F-1 student status

Ineligible

  • Student who has had a previous 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.
  • Student who has had a previous 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.
  • Student who 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.

Application Procedures

  • Complete the Reduced Course Load (RCL) Request for F-1 Students form.
  • Attach supporting evidence
    • Illness or Medical Condition
      • The student must provide a written statement from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist recommending a reduced course loadThe medical documentation must be on official letterhead and include the following:
        • Full name of the student
        • Description of the student’s illness or medical condition and how it interferes with the student’s studies
        • Recommendation that the student takes a reduced course load or no courses at all
        • The specific term for which a reduced course load is recommended
        • Original signature and date
        • Practice address and phone number
    • Academic Difficulties
      • The student must provide a written statement from the student's professor/s describing the circumstances and the course/s to be dropped/withdrawn
    • Completion of Course of Study
      • The student must be registered for the course/s listed on the request form prior to submission.
  • Drop-off or mail complete application to the Center for International Studies for review.
  • An advisor will review the student's application and email the student of approval, denial or the need for additional documentation.
  • The student will receive an email when the application is ready to be picked up at the Center for International Studies.

Key points

  • International students may not drop/withdraw from a course or enroll for an RCL 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.
  • 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 showing a continuation of treatment.
  • 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 cannot 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.

RCL applications must be submitted before the semester begins.

Due to the high volume of applications, processing times may be more than seven business days.

Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Processing does not begin until a complete application is submitted.

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