If you are in F-1 or J-1 immigration status, you must register for and maintain enrollment in a “full course of study” as defined by federal regulations. GW is required to verify your registration each term and report it to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The university is also required to monitor your registration throughout each semester and report any drop below a full course of study to SEVIS. If you are an undergraduate student, you must register and maintain enrollment for at least 12 credit hours. If you are a graduate student, you must register and maintain enrollment for at least 9 credit hours. Once an undergraduate registers for a minimum of 12 credits, they will be unable to drop below that full-time status through GWeb.
If at any time you and your academic advisor believe you should register for less than a full course of study or drop below a full course of study, you should immediately consult with an advisor in the International Services Office (ISO) to determine if you are eligible to do so. Under certain conditions, federal regulations permit an ISO advisor to certify that you are taking a full course of study or to grant written permission for you to engage in less than a full course of study.
Do not register for less than a full course of study or drop below a full course of study at any time until an ISO advisor has informed you that you have met all federal requirements to do so. It is a violation of your lawful status in the U.S. if you register for less than a full course of study or drop below a full course of study before meeting all federal requirements, which in some cases includes prior SEVIS notification.
Federal regulations on the “full course of study” requirement and exceptions to the requirement are complex and cannot be adequately explained by these few paragraphs. The ISO is pleased to offer counseling, advising, and assistance on this and many other topics of interest to international students.