Online courses have become increasingly popular for students, and many colleges and universities have greatly expanded their online and distance education course offerings in the past few years. Additionally, many students sponsored by their governments are prohibited in enrolling in online courses, and should be sure to clarify any restrictions with their sponsors.
The regulations are silent on the question of whether a distance education course can satisfy the full course of study requirement if it is the only course taken in the final semester of study. However, in the March 2008 SEVIS Liaison Call , SEVP told NAFSA:
If a student needs only one course to finish his or her program of study, it cannot be taken through online/distance education. There must be a physical presence requirement for the course. If a student remains in the United States without reporting to any class, it becomes a security issue and cannot be allowed
For Florida Tech F-1 students, a full-time course load is usually only required only during the Fall and Spring semesters. Unless it is their first semester in a program, there is no requirement that students be enrolled during the Summer session, which is considered an optional vacation. Therefore, an F-1 student can take as many online or distance education courses from Florida Tech or from another institution as they wish (with approval from the Registrar) during the Summer session. However, during the Fall and Spring semesters, an F-1 student is limited to only one online or distance education course that can be counted towards a full-time course load. Once having met their full load requirement, a student may add as many distance education or online courses as he or she wishes.
If a student is enrolled in an online course which puts them above and beyond their allowable limit , a "blended" on-site component needs to be followed, i.e. the instructor of the course must set up specific, recurring-on campus requirements, and all examinations must be taken on-site at Florida Tech. In addition, both student and instructor should complete an On site Component Report for International Students taking Online Courses"and submit to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services during the first week of classes for a given term.