International Student Office (ISO)
Distance Education and Semesters Out of Class distance ed

Distance Learning: Online Enrollment for F-1 visa holders

The United States government has specifically limited F-1 visa holding students to take only degrees that are on-campus.  Online degrees are specifically prohibited.

Additional activity on campus does not mitigate the circumstances; if the DEGREE PROGRAM is known as an online degree program, then it is absolutely not allowed for F-1 visa holders.

If an F-1 visa holder is pursuing a regular degree, then they are restricted to one online or distance learning class per semester, in combination with all other classes, in order to count towards their total enrollment requirements.

This is not a U of M policy, it is not mandated by the Tennessee Board of Regents – it is a federal regulation issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Absence:  Skipping a semester, Withdrawing or Leaving the U.S. for multiple months 

If tan F-1 visa student is outside the United States for a semester, it is vitally important that they consult with the International Students Office before leaving. A semester break or absence could adversely affect a student’s eligibility for practical training and internships (OPT and CPT) in the future. 

Students who are outside of the U.S. for more than five months may have to obtain a new I-20, and may possibly be required to apply for a new visa.   Please remember to contact your international student advisor before dropping a semester, or before leaving the U.S.

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Last Updated: 10/3/12