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SCC Policies on Immigration Regulations Governing International Students

1.      International students are allowed a maximum of six semesters in which to complete their course of study at SCC, unless they change a major or cannot enroll in the classes needed for graduation.

2.      International students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units each Fall and Spring semester. Many students feel they can vary the number of units taken during the semester as long as the total units average 24 per year. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Immigration regulations clearly require 12 units PER SEMESTER. The only exception to the rule of full-time enrollment are students who are medically unable to take 12 units or students who are in the last semester of their program. The terminology for such enrollment is referred to as Reduced Course Load (RCL) and it must be pre-authorized.

3.      It is required that students enroll, attend, and complete a full time load (12 units during fall/spring semesters, 6 units during summer). Summer attendance is not required unless it is the first semester at SCC for a brand new student entering the United States.

4.      When transferring or admitting a student, SCC will accept a scanned copy of a passport, transcripts, and any other documentation, however, within 2 weeks of starting classes, the student must provide SCC Admissions and Records office official transcripts from all previous institutions attended in the United States.

5.      International students must maintain a minimum cumulative and per semester grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or the letter grade of C in their course work.

6.      I-20 serves as an admission document to the institution, it does not authorize travel. Once SCC issues an I-20 to the student, the student is not automatically authorized to leave the country unless the designated school official (DSO) signs off on the travel authorization section of the I-20. If the student elects to travel without the DSO signature, SCC will not be responsible for any issues experienced during re-entry into the United States.

7.      Prior to travel outside of the United States, students must have their I-20 signed by a designated school official. This includes travel to Mexico for vacation or any short holidays. Failure to do so may result in a student being denied re-entry to the United States. Travel authorization is only granted to students who maintain satisfactory academic progress.

8.      All students new to SCC, including those who are entering the United States for the first time or transferring to SCC from other institutions, must complete one semester at SCC and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. The designated school official (DSO) will not sign travel I-20s for students whose GPA is below 2.0 or did not complete the required 12 units.

9.      Prior to a DSO signature authorizing overseas travel, students on RCL must be enrolled in six (6) units and must have completed one semester of coursework with a 2.0 or higher G.P.A.

10.  If a continuing student needs to take a semester off due to illness, a medical leave must be granted and confirmed in advance to keep his/her visa status in compliance. While on medical leave, a student cannot be in the United States. Student must provide original, written documentation from a physician or a mental health professional stating the nature of the illness and the period of time the student is expected to be on leave of absence.

11.  As stated above, students authorized for medical leave must leave the country immediately. In order for a student to return back the United States and resume classes, , he/she must submit a release from the attending physician. The letter must confirm that the student has fully recovered and is ready to resume her/his studies. The release must be submitted to the International Student Program Office before the student is permitted to resume classes

12.  OFF-CAMPUS employment requires authorization from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Requests for off-campus employment are not accepted during the first year of enrollment. Second year students may apply for work permits in the case of proven, unexpected financial hardship. Maximum of 20 hours of employment per week is allowed while school is in session. Students may work full time (40 hours) during holiday and vacation periods.

13.  ON-CAMPUS employment, if available (due to limited availability of campus employment opportunities) is permissible, but a student must bring his/her I-20 to the International Student Program Office for endorsement and authorization.

14.  After completing your degree, PRACTICAL TRAINING may be available. It differs from employment for economic reasons. Please speak to your international student representative for additional information.