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Semester & Annual RequirementsInternational Students

Due to Covid-19, in-person information sessions are not currently being held. Students should contact an Admissions DSO at [email protected] for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions


International students must be enrolled in and maintain a full-time course load of at least 12 credit hours each semester. Of those 12 credit hours, nine must be taken in the face-to-face, blended or hybrid format.
An international student who drops below full time could lose their F-1 status by dropping below the full-time status requirement. COA offers tutoring to all students at no cost. If you’re enrolled in a class and find you’re having difficulty, go to the tutoring lab (ask for directions to the lab at the Information Desk at the campus you attend). We also offer Tutor, which is available 24 hours a day. Never drop below full time without first consulting the Designated School Official (DSO) on your campus.

Per federal regulations, there are three circumstances where an F-1 student can be authorized to take less than a full-time course load:

  • Academic difficulties
  • Medical conditions
  • Completion of a course of study

Students must meet with their PDSO/DSO to discuss their situation and explore their options before dropping below full time. If it becomes necessary to drop below a full course load, a student must have prior approval from a DSO and must complete a Reduced Course Load approval form prior to dropping below 12 credit hours.

International students are allowed to take 3 credit hours of online course work toward full-time enrollment each semester. COA does offer hybrid, blended, Webx and Web Based Conferencing (WBC) classes. Hybrid and Blended classes are considered to be face-to-face classes since weekly class attendance in a classroom is required. Webx and WBC classes are considered to be internet classes since they don’t require attendance on campus and can be taken at home on your computer at a specific day and time. You must take and maintain at least 12 hours each semester, nine of these hours must be face-to-face, blended or hybrid courses. International students can take more than three hours of online courses but must maintain nine hours of face-to-face, blended or hybrid classes. Any additional online courses will be above and beyond the required 12 credit hours
International students are given two years to obtain an associate degree. If there are extenuating circumstances, a student’s I-20 can be extended by one year, making a total of three years. Students must request an I-20 extension by completing the I-20 extension request form.
Students must attend at least 90 percent of each class. If a student misses more than 10 percent of a class, the instructor can dropped or withdraw the student from the class. Students in internet classes can also be withdrawn for failure to complete assignments or tests. Please speak with a DSO before dropping or withdrawing from a class.
International students are required to attend at least one check-in meeting each semester. Students must attend a check in meeting to be registered in SEVIS for the semester. This lets SEVIS know that you’re registered for classes as expected and on track to obtain your degree at COA in a timely manner.
I-20s are generally provided for two years. In certain situations, students can get an extension to their I-20 thus granting them additional time to complete their degree. COA policy states international students must complete their program within three years/six semesters. In order to be eligible for an I-20 extension international, students must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average, be making progress toward completing their degree and must be able to graduate within the allotted time. Students should complete the extension form and request a meeting with a DSO.


Email: [email protected]