2. Do I have to be a full-time student every semester or trimester?
If you have a student (F-1) visa, you must be a full-time student every semester that you study in the U.S. MBA students must be full-time every trimester. For undergraduate students, full-time means a minimum of 12 credits at Avila each semester while graduate students should take a minimum of 9 credits at Avila each semester. Students in the MBA trimester program should be taking a minimum of 6 credits at Avila each trimester.
In certain situations, international students can be part-time students. However, permission to take classes part-time must be given by a DSO. Final permission to take classes part-time cannot be given by your academic advisor, an instructor, or a doctor. You may get permission to be a part-time student if:
a. you are in your last semester of studies and you do not need a full load of classes to graduate or
b. you have a medical condition preventing you from studying and have a signed letter from a doctor stating that you cannot attend classes due to a medical condition.
3. What happens to me if I do not take classes for a semester or become a part-time student without receiving permission from a DSO?
Every semester, U.S. universities have to report whether or not you have been properly maintaining your student visa status. If you are not attending classes or are a part-time student without a valid reason, your I-20 will be terminated. Once your I-20 is terminated, you will be in the U.S. illegally and could be subject to deportation. In some cases, it is possible to have your student status reinstated but you will need to write a letter to U.S. immigration explaining why you did not attend school, complete several immigration forms and pay a fee. If immigration determines that your reason for not attending school is invalid, your request to be reinstated will be denied. During this process, a DSO determines whether you may stay enrolled in courses at Avila University.
4. Is it okay for me to return to my country for a semester or longer and then come back to study?
You can return to your country for a semester or more and then come back to study as long as your student visa is still valid. However, depending on how long you are out of the U.S., you may need to receive a new I-20. Failure to obtain a new I-20 from your university before returning to the U.S. could mean that you would reenter the U.S. with a terminated I-20. In such a situation, you may be denied entry into the U.S. See your DSO if you have any questions.
5. I am going back to my country to visit my parents over a class break. When should I return for the next semester?
It would be best if you returned to the U.S. at least one or two days before classes start. Students returning more than a few days after classes have started may find that they have been dropped from their classes for non-attendance. If you are not enrolled in classes, you will be out of status.