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:
    • 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.