Online & Distance Learning:

a. For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing. If the F-1 student’s course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student’s full course of study requirement.

Source: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(G)

b. Available within Study in the States (The Basics for Online and Distance Learning), this resource addresses the basics of physical attendance requirements when discussing online and distance learning courses/programs. Please note that:

i. A physical presence requirement means that the student must report regularly and in-person to school officials during that course.

ii. If an online or distance education course has a physical presence requirement, F or M students may enroll in the course. These courses can count towards meeting the full course of study requirement.

Full Course of Study: Click here to learn about SEVP’s definition of a full course of study.

Reduced Course Load User Guide: P/DSOs must be familiar with all required standards for what equals a full course of study at their schools. F-1 and M-1 students normally must enroll in a full-time course load each term to keep their status. Sometimes a P/DSO may excuse a student from this rule. Additional information on this topic can be reviewed in this Reduced Course Load User Guide.