Maintaining Student Status

International students to maintain their lawful F-1/J-1 immigration status while in the U.S. Failure to do so may have serious implications on one's stay in the U.S. and ability to return in the future.

How to Maintain F-1/J-1 Status

  • New Students/Students Returning from a Leave of Absence must complete the new international student check-in with the Glavin Office of International Education upon arrival to the U.S., no more than 30 days after the program start date indicated on your Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1). This is required for SEVIS registration (the validation of a student's immigration record).
  • Attend only the college/university listed on your Form I-20(F-1)/ Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Engage in a full course of study during normal academic periods as defined by your program
  • Make normal progress towards completing your program of study
  • Maintain a valid passport at all times and ensure your U.S. immigration documents are in order before re-entry to the U.S., including having a valid travel signature.
  • Follow transfer from Babson and/or change of educational level procedures
  • Apply for program extension prior to the end date on your Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1) if unable to complete your studies by this date
  • Receive employment authorization before engaging in any employment while in the U.S.
  • Report a change of address/residence within 10 days of the change
  • Maintain adequate health insurance and documentation (J-1 requirement)

Full Course of Study

F-1/J-1 student status is granted only to students who plan to study full-time at an approved institution in the United States. Immigration regulations and Babson defines full-time study for undergraduates as 12 credits per semester. Babson College defines full-time study as 12 credits or 9 credits depending on the graduate program.

  • Undergraduate: 12 credits per semester, including all visiting and exchange students
  • Graduate:
    • 12 credits per semester for MBA, MSEL, and all visiting or exchange students
    • 9 credits per semester for MSBA, MSF, and CAM programs

Students may be considered to be maintaining valid F-1/J-1 status despite completing less than a full course of study in only a few circumstances. These include:

Final Semester

During the final semester, if a student does not need a full course load to complete his/her program of study, s/he may take less than 12/9 credits as applicable. However, if the student fails or withdraws from one of these courses and must make it up the following semester, s/he may be considered to be out of status. 


An F-1/J-1 student is considered to be in status during the annual or summer vacation if not required by a program, and if the student was in status the previous semester and intends to register for the next semester.

Valid Medical Circumstances

If a leave of absence or reduction in course load to less than full-time is needed for medical reasons, the student must work with their Student Success Advisor (UG) or Academic Advisor (Graduate) to notify the International Student Advisor (ISA) prior to withdrawing to less than full-time. The student will be required to provide the ISA with a letter from a health-care practitioner requiring or recommending the interruption or reduction in studies.

Valid Academic Circumstances

During the first semester of study in the U.S., a student may be able to reduce his/her course load due to initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper course level placement. The student‘s Student Success Advisor (UG) or Academic Advisor (Graduate) must assist with any request in advance of the reduction in credits.

F-1/J-1 students who do not fall into any of the categories above, and who fail to complete a full course load each semester generally will not be able to benefit from privileges associated with F-1/J-1 status, such as:

  • Travel signature on the Form I-20 (F-1)/ DS-2019 (J-1) needed re-entry to the U.S.
  • On-campus employment
  • Curricular or Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1)
  • Transfer of SEVIS record to another U.S. institution

Address Reporting

International students must initially enter or review their address information within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. and/or each semester. A student who lives on-campus will have automatic address updates through the campus systems but must review other information. Outside of the start of the semester review, address updates must be made within 10 days of the change. International students must use the Immigration Address Reporting Form to report this information using their Babson credentials. This online form is found on the > Smart Tools > Administrative > Immigration Information. Students' must also keep their information in Workday Student up to date.

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