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Maintaining status/enrollment

Role and Responsibility of the International Students

Students must be aware of and comply fully with the following:

  • You must maintain a valid passport at all times.
  • You must maintain a valid, unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 Form at all times. This includes a I-20 or DS-2019 Form with the correct level and major, current funding and correct personal information.
  • You must enroll in and attend classes. If you plan on taking a semester off other than summer, you must obtain prior approval from an OISS advisor.
  • You must attend the college/university listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Prior approval from an OISS advisor is needed if you plan to take classes at another school (example: Lansing Community College). If you dual enroll, you must take the majority of your credits per semester at MSU.
  • You must complete a full course of study during normal enrollment periods (fall & spring semesters).
  • Full time is defined as 12 credits per semester for undergraduates, 9 credits per semester for Master’s and 6 credits per semester for PhD students.
  • If you are a graduate student with an assistantship full time is then reduced to 6 credits for a Master’s student and 3 credits for a PhD student.
  • Finally, if you are a PhD student and you have passed your comprehensive exam, full time is 1 credit per semester. To be eligible for the 1 credit full-time policy, your department must report your comprehensive results to the Office of the Registrar and your status ABD (All But Dissertation). The policy will take effect in the semester following your exam.
  • You are only allowed to count 1 on-line course per semester toward your full time status.
  • You must be enrolled for your courses by the beginning of each semester. OISS is required to report underenrollment to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) within 30 days of the end of the registration period. Any student who is not enrolled will be reported and will be considered out of status.
  • If you will not be enrolled full-time, you must receive prior approval from an OISS advisor. You and your academic advisor must complete the Reduced Course Load Form (PDF)* and submit it to OISS prior to dropping below a full course load.
  • Reduced Course Load options are limited to the following conditions:
    You can only have reduced course load for academic difficulty for one semester per degree.
  • You can have reduced course load for medical reasons for two semesters per degree (12 months) Medical reasons must be substantiated by a United States medical doctor or a U.S. board certified psychologist.
  • You can have a reduced course load in your last semester before graduating if you need less than a full course load to graduate.
  • You must report any change of address or residence to the Office of the Registrar within 5 days of the change. This information will then be sent electronically to DHS.
  • If you change your name, you must report it to the Office of the Registrar in person and provide legal documentation that reflects the name change. If the name of your dependents change, please report this to OISS along with documentation of the name change.
  • You must apply for an extension of your program of study prior to the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019. F-1 students must complete the I-20 Request Form (PDF)*. J-1 students must complete the DS-2019 Request Form (PDF)*. Requests for extensions should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the I-20 or DS-2019.
  • You must obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 if you change your academic program from one degree level to another (e.g., from Bachelor’s to Master’s level), or one major/field of study to another (e.g., from Chemical Engineering to Physics). You must also obtain a new I-20 or DS-2019 if your source of funding changes (e.g. from Scholarship to Parents).
  • Prior to traveling outside the U.S. make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 has been endorsed within the last 6 months by a Designated School Official (DSO) for F-1s, or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for J-1s – all of whom can be found at the OISS.
  • If you wish to bring dependents in F-2 or J-2 status, you may request an I-20 or DS-2019 from OISS.
  • You are NOT allowed to work off campus without authorization. F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and more hours when classes are not in session. J-1 students are only allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week with their J-1 program sponsor’s authorization. Students may be allowed to work off-campus with appropriate authorization. An OISS advisor can provide you with more information about these employment options.
  • If you intend to transfer to another educational institution, you must notify OISS in advance of this transfer by completing the transfer out form (PDF)* and meeting with an advisor.
  • If you need to withdraw from classes, or are asked to leave the university, you must report this to OISS. If you report to OISS prior to your withdrawal, you will have 15 days to leave the United States. If you do not report to OISS, your status ends immediately.
  • The normal grace period to remain in the U.S. following degree/program completion is 60 days for F-1 students and 30 days for J-1 students.

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.

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