Enrollment Rules

Add/Drop Forms
Part-Time Enrollment
Online Classes
Full-Time Equivalency
ESL/Intensive English Courses
Summer Registration

ISSS Approval to Add or Drop

  • Adding does not require any approval from ISSS.
  • International students may choose to use either the new online drop process, or the old paper form - they should not do both.
  • Instructions for international students to drop online are found here.
  • ISSS must review and approve all drop requests that take an international student below full-time, as well as all drop requests that involve online courses regardless of the impact on total semester hours.  Students receive notification via MyUI whenever they need to seek ISSS approval.

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.

  • On-Line Classes:

  • Due to government regulations, only one on-line or distance education class of up to 3 s.h. 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.”

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. 

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 or return after an absence. 

  • 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