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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Enrollment Requirements

To remain in status, you need to enroll in a full course load for at least 3 quarters in a year (Fall, Winter, Spring). For undergraduate students, this means enrolling in at least 12 credit hours. For graduate students, this means you must enroll in at least 10 credit hours in a quarter. You may only take one online course towards your full-time course load requirement.*

There are exceptions to the full-time enrollment rule. If you meet one of the below exceptions, you may be approved for a reduced course load (RCL) from our office. In order to be approved for RCL, you will need to complete the RCL form, and submit it to for review.

Reasons to be approved for Reduced Course load:

  1. It is your final quarter before you graduate, and you need less than full-time enrollment to complete your academic program
  2. Medical Condition-if you have either a physical or mental condition that makes attending classes difficult you can apply for RCL.
    • You will need to visit a licensed physician or psychiatrist and submit a letter of approval from the doctor, along with the RCL form.
  3. It is your first quarter at Central and you are struggling to adapt to the classes.

Students who have a pending change of status (COS) application, should maintain the visa requirements of the visa status they are changing from while their application is being processed.’

Graduate Students

As a graduate student, if you have completed all the required coursework for your program, and are solely enrolled in thesis work, the thesis enrollment counts as full-time enrollment for the F-1 visa.

*Since March 2020, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) has allowed an exception to the number of online classes international students are permitted to take each quarter due to COVID-19. On May 31, 2022, DHS released new guidance stating the online exception has only been extended under certain circumstances in which a school is still unable to offer in-person courses. Therefore this is the new guidance all F1 visa international students must adhere to:

  • Ellensburg campus: Students are to return to the original SEVP regulation regarding online courses. The regulation states that students may only count the credits of 1 online class toward full-time enrollment, which is 12 credits for undergrad and 10 credits for graduate.
    • Public Health and Aviation Management programs are not offering all in-person classes, so students in these programs may enroll in more than 1 online class towards fulltime enrollment
  • Center campuses: Students are to return to the original regulation regarding online courses to the extent possible. This means that if a class is being offered both online and in-person, students should enroll in the in-person section and physically attend the class as required.  However, if a class is only offered online, students are allowed to enroll, along with as many other classes that are online only.’

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