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Change of Level Requirements

The instructions below are for F-1 students who are finishing (or have recently finished) one program at Tufts and then continuing in a Tufts new program at a higher degree level. An example would be a student completing a bachelor's degree program who will then continue to study in a master's degree program. This is considered a change of level situation.

A change of level applies only if you are staying at the same school but continuing studies at a different educational level. If you are finishing your Tufts program but continuing studies at another school, follow the F-1 Transfer Out instructions instead.

Eligibility and Deadlines

If this situation applies to you, must obtain a new change of level I-20. You are eligible for a change of level I-20 if:

  • You are currently in valid F-1 status and are completing a Tufts degree program (or are completing post-completion Optional Practical Training based on your Tufts program)
  • You have been admitted to a new program at Tufts and the new program will start in the next available term following completion of studies (e.g., if you are completing in the spring semester your new program will start in the following fall semester)
  • You apply for your new I-20 within the deadlines indicated below

You must apply for your new change of level I-20 within 60 days after completing your first program (or completing post-completion Optional Practical Training based on your first program). Once you are beyond the sixty day period, you cannot request a change of level. Instead, you must depart the US and return using a new initial attendance I-20, and pay a new I-901 SEVIS fee.

Employment Between Levels

Off-Campus Employment for May Graduates

During the summer between education levels, you have the option to apply for OPT. You can apply for OPT based on your current degree level for authorization to work off campus. Be aware that you will only be able to use about 3 months of the work authorization and will not be able to use the remaining months after you switch to a higher degree level. You should apply for OPT early (90 days before your program end date) to maximize the OPT authorization, as it can take USCIS several months to approve your OPT authorization. If you use OPT over the summer, we will change the education level on your I-20 at the end of the summer, and this will end your OPT authorization.

CPT is not an option during the summer between education levels, as you are not an active student.

On-Campus Employment for All Graduates

You can work on campus between education levels only after you have received your new change of level I-20. You cannot work on campus during your 60-day grace period hence you will need to request your new I-20 before or soon after the completion of your first degree level.

Change of Level I-20 Request Procedure

To request a change of education level I-20, you must carefully read and follow the instructions below:

Currently Enrolled Students or Recent Graduates

Upon receiving your letter of admission to the new degree program at Tufts, please contact your International Student Advisor to discuss the timeline of your change of education level I-20 request and your travel and employment plans during the transition period.

You must submit the request for a change of education level before the end of the 60-day grace period. If you have travel plans between the end of your current program and the beginning of the new one, you must obtain your new I-20 prior to departing the US. Failing to do so will forfeit your eligibility to request the change of education level I-20.

Students on OPT

Upon receiving your letter of admission to the new degree program at Tufts, please contact your International Student Advisor to discuss the timeline of your change of education level I-20 request and your travel and employment plans during or after your OPT period.

If your OPT authorization ends before the start of the semester, you will need to request your new change of education level I-20 during your 60-day grace period and before departing the US, if applicable.

If your OPT benefit does not end prior to the beginning of the new semester of study, you will need to notify your International Student Advisor of your last day of employment with your current employer. Your advisor will work with you to keep your OPT benefit active until you have finished your employment but before the start date of your new program at Tufts. You cannot continue working on OPT once you have been issued a new I-20 for the change of education level.

In order to complete the Change of Education Level I-20 Request, you must upload proof of financial documentation for the new academic year. For an estimate of tuition, fees, and living costs, please review the Annual Estimate of Expenses for your program of study.

Acceptable Documents and Confirmation of Funds:

  1. Bank Statements or Letters- Obtain either a bank statement, in your name, which indicates that you possess sufficient funds OR an Affidavit of Support Form from your sponsor and his/her bank statement, which indicate he/she is willing to finance your education and living expenses for at least one academic year.
  2. Non-Tufts Scholarships or Awards- You must provide a copy of a new scholarship or award and a completed Affidavit of Support Form.
  3. Tufts Scholarships, Stipend, and/or Award- You must provide a copy of your new program’s admission letter or scholarship award stating the amount and duration of the same.

Upon gathering your financial documentation, please proceed to complete the Change of Education Level I-20 Request.

  • Upload a copy of your new passport if the one on file has already expired.

After the International Center receives all of the above-listed information and reviews the materials, we will issue a new I-20 within two weeks or prior to your F-1 status expiration date as applicable to your specific situation.