Enrollment Rules

ISSS Signatures on Add/Drop Forms

  • Add forms do not require any signature from ISSS.
  • Drop forms do not require the signature of ISSS during the semester open registration period i.e. generally the first two weeks of classes.  After the open registration period closes, drop forms do require a signature from ISSS.
  • Total withdrawal requests always require the permission of ISSS.

Part-Time Enrollment

U.S. immigration law requires international students to register for full-time study during each fall and spring semester. Full-time study is defined as 12 semester hours of registration for undergraduates and 9 semester hours for graduate students.  There are limited academic and medical circumstances in which an F-1 or J-1 international student may be registered part-time.

  • Academic Difficulty—may only be used 1x; option available primarily in student’s first year of study
  • Final Semester of Study—option only available to degree-seeking undergraduate or master’s students
  • Medical Condition-- may not be used more than 12 months

Please note that the ISSS must be informed of any of these circumstances through the submission of a reduced course load request.  This is not to be confused with the Registrar's Short Hours form.

Full-Time Equivalency

ISSS considers these circumstances to be “full-time equivalent.”  The majority of these options are only available to degree-seeking graduate students with the exception of concurrent enrollment.

  • Graduate Assistantship and registered in at least 6 hours
  • Completed/is currently completing all required coursework and is preparing for a Comprehensive Examination
  • Completed/is currently completing all required coursework and is making normal progress on Thesis/Dissertation
  • Full-Time On-Campus Clinical Program in Dentistry
  • Concurrent Enrollment

Please note that the ISSS must be informed of any of these circumstances through the submission of a reduced course load request.  This is not to be confused with the Registrar's Short Hours form.

Student Enrolled in Intensive English Classes

  • F-1 or J-1 students who need assistance with English proficiency may be required to enroll in coursework with the Iowa Intensive English program or the TAPE program.  While these courses do not count towards their degree, ISSS considers 1 IIEP or TAPE class to be equivalent to 3 s.h. 

Please note that ISSS must be informed of these circumstances through the submission of a reduced course-load request.

On-Line Classes

  • Long Distance Education/On-Line Classes: Due to government regulations, only one on-line or distance education class can be counted each semester toward full-time equivalency.  The class is considered “on-line” or “distance education” if it does not require the student’s physical attendance in a classroom for classes, exams, or “other purposes integral to completion of the class.” These include courses offered “principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission, including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.”

Summer Registration

ISSS does not require that current F-1 or J-1 students register during the summer session as this is considered vacation.  The only exception to this policy is students who begin their programs during the summer session. 

  • Students beginning their studies must be registered full-time which is defined as 6 hours for undergraduate students and 5 hours for graduate students
  • Students completing their studies must be registered, but there is no minimum or maximum amount of hours