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Columbia College Chicago
International Student Employment

International Student Employment

As an international student at Columbia College Chicago, currently holding F-1 or J-1 immigration status, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require you to be enrolled as a full-time student.  Failure to do this will result in violation of your F-1/J-1 status. You are expected to maintain full-time registration and make normal progress toward your degree.
It is an immigration and Columbia College Chicago policy that as an international student holding an F-1/J-1 visa, you must register and maintain a full-time course load during Fall and Spring academic terms.  The Summer term is considered optional, unless otherwise noted by your degree program.  
If you are an undergraduate student this means that you must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits for the fall and spring semesters
For graduate students, you must be enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours for the fall and spring semesters.
Graduate students:  If you are currently working on your Thesis and have enrolled for “Thesis Credit,” you are considered to be a full-time student.  However, I would need confirmation of that from your department advisor.  Your department advisor will need to confirm thesis work by checking the appropriate box on the “Less Than Full-Time Enrollment Form”
Exceptions to Full-Time Enrollment
Under certain circumstances, part-time enrollment is permitted.  The approved exceptions to full-time enrollment are:
  • You are concurrently enrolled at another school ( proof of enrollment in the other institution must be on file in my office);
  • Initial difficulty understanding the English language or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods or reading assignments;
  • Improper course placement;
  • Graduate student engaged in full-time research for thesis and is registered for thesis credit or thesis continuance;
  • It is your last semester on campus and you will graduate at the end of this term.
  • There are documented health reasons prohibiting you from being a full-time student.  The foreign student advisor may also authorize a reduced course load (or, if necessary, no course load) due to a student's temporary illness or medical condition for a period of time not to exceed a total of 12 months while the student is pursuing a course of study at a particular program level.  You need to keep in mind that this means that in the length of time allocated for you to complete your Bachelor's/Master’s degree, the total amount of time you have in which you can be authorized to drop below full-time is only 12 months!  "A student may be authorized to reduce course load for a reason of illness or medical condition on more than one occasion while pursuing a course of study, so long as the aggregate period of that authorization does not exceed 12 months".
  • A medical statement from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist must be on file in my office to substantiate the illness or medical condition.
If you qualify to be a part-time student, you MUST request authorization for a reduced course load (RCL)!   
To request authorization for a reduced course load (RCL), you must:
(1)   Obtain the “Less than Full-Time Enrollment Form”
(2)     Take the form to your College Advisor (if you are an undergraduate student) or to your department advisor (if you are a graduate student), who must complete the form.  Your advisor can then fax the form to my attention at (312) 369-8465 or email it to me at gposejpal@colum.edu.
(3)  You need to schedule an appointment with the international student advisor to review the form.  A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval from the ISA will be considered to be out-of-status!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate in contacting my office at (312) 369-7458 or via email at gposejpal@colum.edu.