Questions from Designated School Officials: Can an F student take classes in the summer?
Questions from Designated School Officials is a blog series on Study in the States for designated school officials (DSOs). Each month, we will answer a question that will help you advise your F and/or M students. If you are a DSO and would like to submit a question, you can email us or ask us via social media, your Field Representative or the SEVP Response Center. We may edit questions for clarity and consistency and may not feature all submissions on Study in the States.
If you have F-1 students that are eligible for summer vacation but want to continue studying during the summer sessions, they may enroll in courses but do not need to meet full course of study requirements during this time.
F-1 students who choose to enroll in a full course of study during an earned summer vacation may take their annual vacation or break during a later session. Once an F-1 student takes vacation during an offered session, that student must enroll in a full course of study for a full academic year before being eligible for a vacation again. The academic program an F-1 student enrolls in affects when they are eligible for annual vacation.
F-1 students that participate in their course of study during the traditional enrollment sessions of fall and spring (or in the case of trimesters, fall, winter and spring) are eligible for annual vacation. These F-1 students therefore may take their annual vacation during the summer. However, they must complete a full academic year before being eligible for an extended break in studies during an offered session.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
F-1 students enrolled in an ESL program must complete at least 26 weeks of study prior to being eligible for an extended break or vacation. They must also be eligible and intend to register for study in the term following the annual vacation. The duration of an ESL student’s annual vacation is equivalent to the duration of one ESL term. For example, if a school’s ESL terms are six weeks long, then ESL students would have an annual vacation lasting 6 weeks. During an annual vacation, a student does not need to take classes in order to maintain nonimmigrant status. A student may take as many, few, or no courses as the student wants to. Any such study is incident to status.
Those students that begin their programs of study in the spring or summer terms are required to enroll in a full course of study during the summer sessions where summer enrollment is available. For example, students enrolled for the first time in the spring in an elementary or secondary program of study that offers no course work in the summer can take a break during the summer without jeopardizing their status.
All schools should have clear and consistent policies regarding students taking an annual vacation.
Please contact SEVP, with specific cases or questions about what constitutes a full course of study during the summer.
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