Q&A for Academic Advisors

Q: What does the Office of Global Initiatives (OGI) do?

Q: What qualifies as a “full course of study” and why is it important?

Q: For immigration purposes, what defines ‘graduation’?

Q: Student wishes to enroll in courses beyond the required program of study in order to gain additional knowledge and training for their career. May they enroll in these additional courses?

Q: Why does the Office of Global Initiatives need me to sign so many documents for international students?

Q: How many online courses can a student take every semester?

Q: Can a student take an online course in their last semester? If not, what is the alternative?

Q: What are the implications of recommending students drop/withdraw from a class?

 

Q: What does the Office of Global Initiatives (OGI) do?

A: OGI makes sure that all the international students on campus maintain compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student Exchange Visitor Program rules and regulations. OGI also ensures that international students are treated fairly, and that NJIT follows federal law when admitting and enrolling international students. We do this through multiple outreach efforts to the campus community throughout the year.

Additionally, OGI promotes and facilitates study abroad experiences for all NJIT students, and maintains relationships with universities around the world.  

 

Q: What qualifies as a “full course of study” and why is it important?

A: Federal Regulations require that all students studying in the U.S. with F-1 Status must maintain a “full course of study” during all required semesters. Only during a student's final semester before program completion may they be registered for less than a full course of study. At NJIT, students must meet the following criteria to be considered “full-time” students:

  Graduate students: Enrolled in 9 credits every semester. 3 credits may be completed online, 6 credits must be an in-classroom course. PhD candidates may be enrolled in less than 9 credits if they are no longer required to be enrolled in a full course of study per their program requirements (usually during dissertation phase)
  

Undergraduate students: Enrolled in 12 credits every semester. 3 credits may be completed online, 9 credits must be an in-classroom course.
 

Any international student who will be registered less than full time, for any reason (final semester, PhD, etc) must submit the Adviser Form for Full Time Certification for every semester they will be registered below the full time requirement.

 

Q: For immigration purposes, what defines ‘graduation’?

A: For immigration purposes, students are considered to have graduated when they meet all the academic requirements for their program, regardless if they applied for graduation at NJIT or not. This means the student cannot register for another semester or take additional courses. When a student graduates his/her options are limited to applying for employment, starting a new degree or leaving the country.

 

Q: Student wishes to enroll in courses beyond the required program of study in order to gain additional knowledge and training for their career. May they enroll in these additional courses?

A: If a student has completed program requirements for graduation, he/she may not enroll in additional coursework in the following semester, regardless of whether the student files for graduation with the Registrar’s Office. If the student is currently pursuing a degree he/she can take additional courses while maintaining their status.

 

Q: Why does the Office of Global Initiatives need me to sign so many documents for international students?

A: The international student advisers in the OGI are responsible for maintaining compliance with federal immigration regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In order to do this, and make sure that all international students on an F or J visa at NJIT are following federal rules, the OGI needs the help of the academic advisers who are familiar with NJIT’s academic policies and the students’ progress.

 

Q: How many online courses can a student take every semester?

A: U.S. federal regulations do not limit how many online credits can be taken every semester however, only 3 online credits can be used to count towards maintaining status. In other words, undergraduate students can take 3 or more online credits in addition to at least 9 credits in a classroom setting (face-to-face). Graduate students can take 3 or more online credits in addition to at least 6 credits in a classroom setting (face-to-face).

 

Q: Can a student take an online course in their last semester? If not, what is the alternative?

A: Guidance from the federal government is clear in stating that a student who has only one course left to take cannot take that course in an online format. The last semester of enrollment has a physical presence requirement to it. As such, it is important for the academic adviser and student to plan ahead so the student is not left with only one online course to take in his/her last semester. If that is the case the student is required to take an additional course to meet the physical presence requirement. This will impact the student financially, so it is best to avoid it.

This also applies for students graduating in the summer: If the student is graduating in the summer then summer becomes a required term. As such, the physical presence requirement will apply.

 

Q: What are the implications of recommending students drop/withdraw from a class?

A: International students must maintain a full course load at all times (except in their final semester). If dropping a class means that the student will go below a full course load, the student must consult with an adviser at the OGI BEFORE dropping the class to discuss his/her options. If the student loses his/her status he/she will need to apply with the federal government for reinstatement of status . This is a lengthy and costly process, we would like to avoid it at all costs. Additionally, there is no guarantee the status will be regained, thus compromising the student’s presence in the country.