Part-Time Attendance Policy for Students in F-1 Nonimmigrant Status

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requires schools to report the number of credits F-1 students enroll in each semester. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require students in F-1 nonimmigrant status to attend college on a full-time basis and define full-time as at least 12 required credit hours per semester. 
 
Part-time enrollment is allowed under the following circumstances:
  • for the final semester when students have no sequences and fewer than 12 credits to complete; 
  • for a documented medical condition; or
  • for annual vacation (and student meets Berklee's part-time enrollment criteria).

Final Semester

The student's degree audit must show fewer than 12 credits needed to complete and no prerequisite sequences (for example, PIVC-211 and PIVC-212) remaining.

To request part-time status based on a final semester, students should complete the online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students. An international advisor will review the academic evaluation and if the student meets the criteria, will approve part-time status and issue a new Form I-20. The end date of your Form I-20 will be updated to the end of the declared final term.

Documented Medical Condition

A student may enroll part-time if medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor (defined by the Department of Homeland Security as doctor of osteopathy, doctor of medicine, or licensed clinical psychologist) is submitted to International Student Services.

Documentation must be an original letter (not a copy, fax or scan) dated during the current semester on official stationary from the hospital or doctor’s office that includes: 

  • diagnosis of condition or illness;
  • a statement that the medical condition warrants enrollment in fewer than 12 credits;
  • an indication of which term part-time is being recommended;
  • the type of coursework that should be avoided due to the condition; and
  • the doctor’s original signature and U.S. medical license number. A medical letter is valid for one-semester.

F-1 regulations permit up to 365 days for part-time enrollment due to medical reasons while in F-1 status.

To request part-time based on a documented medical condition, students should complete the online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students and submit the required medical documentation to their international advisor. The advisor will review the medical documentation and if it meets the above requirements, will approve part-time and issue a new Form I-20.

The doctor's letter can be mailed to or brought into the International Student Services front counter.  

Students who take a medical leave of absence (zero credit enrollment) in the fall are not eligible for Berklee-sponsored health insurance until their next enrolled term.

Annual Vacation

F-1 regulations require enrollment in two semesters per calendar year (January–December). Berklee offers three semesters (Spring, Summer, and Fall) each year. Students are expected to enroll full-time in the semester immediately following a declared vacation. Students who wish to enroll at Berklee during their annual vacation must meet the following Berklee part-time criteria:

Summer: Student must have been enrolled full-time in the spring and intend to enroll in the fall. To request part-time status based on an annual vacation in the summer, students must complete the online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students.

Fall: Student must have been enrolled spring and summer and have fewer than 24 credits with a prerequisite sequence remaining to meet graduation requirements. To request part-time based on an annual vacation, students must complete the online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students and a Vacation form with an international advisor. A new I-20 with vacation remarks will be issued and the vacation reported to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Spring: Must have been enrolled in the previous fall term, and either spring or summer the year before and have fewer than 24 credits with a prerequisite sequence remaining to meet graduation requirements. To request part-time based on an annual vacation complete the online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students and complete a Vacation Form with an international advisor. A new I-20 with vacation remarks will be issued and the vacation and reported to USCIS.

Students in their first or second semester of undergraduate study in the United States may be permitted to complete fewer than 12 credits if they are having initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with American teaching methods. Students must be registered for 12 credits, receive a recommendation from their teacher(s) and authorization from their international advisor prior to withdrawing below 12 credits, and resume full-time attendance at the next available semester. 

When students do not have 12 required credits remaining and cannot complete their program in the current semester due to prerequisites, they will need to enroll in classes not required for their program in order to maintain F-1 status. Students are responsible for their academic decisions. Therefore, Berklee strongly encourages students to plan their coursework with an academic and international student advisor each semester to develop an immediate and a long-term study plan that will maximize their meeting DHS enrollment requirements during their course of study. 

Any international student wanting to enroll in fewer than 12 credits must submit an online Part-Time Status Request Form for International Students to request authorization for part-time enrollment status. 

Failure to maintain full-time status has serious implications, such as an inability to have an I-20 signed, loss of work permission, and/or being required to leave the U.S. It is the responsibility of each student to maintain status.

Students authorized for part-time status by the published deadline will be charged on a per credit basis.

Students must obtain authorization from an international  advisor prior to enrolling in fewer than 12 credits. If a student falls below 12 credits without prior approval, under SEVIS requirements this is considered a “reportable event” and the college is required to report it to the DHS within 21 days. If the reason for less than full-time attendance is not among those listed above, the college is required to report the student’s F-1 status to DHS as “terminated.” Authorization for enrollment in fewer than 12 credits may affect scholarship award; students must check with Student Financial Services prior to enrolling in fewer than 12 credits.