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Exceptions to Full-time Enrollment

Exceptions to Full-time Enrollment

Federal regulations require an F-1 student to be enrolled in a full course of study. However, there are a few exceptions. Make sure you understand these exceptions thoroughly. This is the most common area for students to make mistakes resulting in a loss of legal status. 

Annual Vacation Term

You are eligible to take an annual vacation after completing an academic year at a University of Dallas, and once every year after that. 

Undergraduate and Braniff Graduate Students - You will enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. You will receive an automatic vacation each summer. Permission is not required. 

College of Business Graduate Students - After you have completed two consecutive trimesters of full-time enrollment, you will be eligible for a vacation term. Depending upon when a student begins his/her program, your "Annual Vacation" could be fall, spring, or summer. You will request your vacation term when submitting your mandatory F-1 Advising Form each trimester. 

During your annual vacation, you can: 

  • Enroll part-time, or not at all
  • Take all classes online
  • Work on-campus for more than 20 hours per week
  • Stay in the U.S. or travel internationally

Final Term of Study

When you are in your final term of study, you are only required to register for the remaining credits necessary to complete your academic degree requirements. 

Academic Reduced Course Load

The regulations specify that an Academic Reduced Course Load can be authorized by the ISS Office in a student's first semester for:

  • Initial difficulty with the English language (listening & speaking skills)
  • Difficulty with reading requirements 
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement.

Please note: Imminent failure in a course is NOT a listed reason for Academic Reduced Course Load

Typically the circumstances above would allow a student to "drop below full-time" after having initially registered for a full course of study.  The resulting reduced course load must consist of at least six semester hours and can be authorized only ONCE during a course of study at that program (degree) level. The student must resume a full course of study at the next available term in order to maintain student status. 

Approval for a Academic Reduced Course Load MUST be approved BEFORE the student drops below full-time.

Click here to download the application for academic reduced course load.  Print the form, complete your portion and obtain the recommendation of your academic adviser or professor.  Instructions are provided on the form.

Medical Reduced Course Load

If you experience a medical condition for which a U.S. doctor or psychologist recommends that you not be enrolled full-time, or that you should take no classes at all, you can be granted a Medical Reduced Course Load. Regulations limit Medical Reduced Course Load to an aggregate of 12 months.  The Medical Reduced Course Load is granted by academic terms and can be  extended with the submission of current (new) medical documentation for subsequent terms.

Approval for a Medical Reduced Course Load MUST be approved BEFORE the student drops below full-time.

Click here to download the application for medical reduced course load.  Print and complete the student portion of the application. Obtain the doctor's note and have the doctor complete the portion to recommend either part-time classes or no classes.  Instructions are provided on the form.