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Sponsored students

MSU Departments

One of the roles of the ISSP is to work with academic departments in order to best serve MSU's international sponsored students. The ISSP can help with application processing, employment authorization, and immigration advising as well as providing a context for some of the unique advising issues that sponsored students may have.

Each sponsored student's scholarship is unique and there are very few rules that can be generalized to all sponsored students. The ISSP and OISS are here to help you. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Advising current sponsored students

Sponsored students typically have three sets of rules and regulations to which they must adhere:

  1. MSU regulations
  2. Immigration regulations
  3. Scholarship or Sponsor regulations

The scholarship regulations are usually the most restrictive set of rules that a sponsored student must follow. Employment and full-time enrollment are two common areas where sponsored students might have additional regulations with which they must comply.


Many sponsored students require permission from their sponsor before they are allowed to accept employment whether it be on-campus or off-campus employment. Sponsors often prefer that the student spend the maximum amount of time focusing on studies regardless of whether or not the employment is related to the academic program.

Each sponsor has specific rules that are all listed in a signed contract between the student and the sponsor. In order to help students maintain the terms of their scholarship, departments should discuss the work authorization issue with sponsored students before employment decisions are finalized.

Full-time academic enrollment

Almost all sponsored students are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout their entire academic program. This typically only applies to fall and spring semesters, but there are some sponsors that do require students to take a full course load during the summer also. Full-time enrollment is defined by MSU as:

  • 12 credits per semester for undergraduates
  • 9 credits per semester for Master's students
    • (decreased to 6 credits with graduate assistantship)
  • 6 credits per semester for Doctoral students
    • (decreased to 3 credits with graduate assistantship)
  • 1 credit per semester for PhD Dissertation students

Students should know and understand the enrollment requirements of their scholarship before requesting underenrollment from and academic advisor. Departments and academic advisors can contact the ISSP or OISS with any questions.

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