The following information pertains to the immigration policies for requesting an underload for academic or medical reasons. In addition to these immigration policies, you must still abide by any additional policies set by W&M for all students.:
Undergraduate Students: Must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester. Up to three credit hours may be from distance education courses from accredited institutions.
Graduate Students: Must be enrolled for at least 9 credits per semester. Up to three credit hours may be from distance education courses from accredited institutions.
Summer sessions: Students beginning their program during the summer session must be enrolled full-time during that summer session. (Undergraduates: 12 credit hours; Graduate Students: 6 credit hours.)
With institutional approval, U.S. immigration law allows students in F-1 and J-1 status to be temporarily enrolled less than full-time for the following medical or academic reasons:
Illness or Medical Condition (up to 12 months may be granted, anytime during program)
Initial difficulty with the English language (only during first year)
Initial difficulty with reading requirements (only during first year)
Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods (only during first year)
Improper course level placement (any time during program)
Students are eligible for one semester of academic under-load per degree level (i.e., if a student receive an under-load for English difficulty, he/she cannot be granted one later for course level placement). A medical under-load does not preclude student from an academic under-load, and vice versa.
Students in their final semester are only required by Immigration to enroll in the number of credits required to graduate. Students must still follow W&M's standard policy for requesting an underload if needed.
IMPORTANT: Student must continue attending their course(s) until the request for an underload has been approved by the Dean of Students Office/Graduate Registrar and authorized in SEVIS by the Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP).
All final decisions will be made by the Dean of Students Office/Graduate Registrar. The role of ISSP is to advise you of your eligibility for an under-load as it pertains to your immigration status, and to update your SEVIS record if an under-load is approved; ISSP does not decide whether or not an underload will be approved.
Student sees an ISSP advisor to discuss plans, determine eligibility under immigration regulations, and understand the immigration implications.
For academic underload, the student will contact his/her Graduate Registrar to apply for the underload. ISSP will contact the Graduate Registrar to confirm that the student is eligible.