Program Changes - Extensions and Changes of Major or Degree Level

When an F-1 or J-1 international student is admitted to the University of Iowa, he or she is issued a form identifying their program of study, including information regarding major, degree level, and average length of time it takes to complete that degree program with a defined start and end date.

If a student makes a change to his/her program, a new I-20 or DS-2019 must be created by ISSS.  Common changes include:

  • Program Extension:  The student cannot complete his/her program by the end date on their document.
  • Completion of Program:  An F-1 or J-1 student may not delay his/her graduation.  If they are eligible to receive their diploma, they must graduate.
  • Change of Degree Level:  The student has changed his/her degree plans mid-program and is now pursuing a different degree; alternatively he/she may be pursuing a second degree after completion of the first
  • Change of Major:  More common to undergrad students, this requires an updated to the immigration document I-20 or DS-2019.  ISSS automatically tracks changes to a major, and will send students an email notification when a new updated immigration document has been created.  This does not cover extending the end date on the document or new degree levels, which must follow one of the procedures listed above.

To complete these student requests, ISSS does generally request information from academic advisors regarding these student’s new academic plans. This happens through use of our online iHawk program, where students initiate a special e-form based on the action needed.  The student inputs the email address of the academic advisor, who receives an alert via UI email asking them to log in and answer a series of questions regarding the student's academic situation.  You may simply click on the link provided in the email and it will automatically log you in.

Another reason ISSS may request information regarding a student’s academic plans is because he or she is making a change to their status, requiring the issue of a new I-20 or DS-2019.  Common requests include:

  • Change of Status:  The student is currently in a different nonimmigrant status but desires to change to F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Reinstatement The student lost his/her F-1 or J-1 status and is applying to USCIS to regain it.