Under F-1 visa regulations, F-1 students may in certain situations maintain full-time status through concurrent enrollment.
Concurrent enrollment is a situation in which you enroll in a full course load, but your classes are taken at two or more different schools. For example, you might be a graduate student required to take 9 credit hours in order to maintain full-time enrollment. Under concurrent enrollment, you can do this by taking (as an example) 6 credits at Tufts, and 3 credits at another university.
Concurrent Enrollment Requirements
In order to count any credits taken at another school toward your full-time status as a Tufts F-1 student, these requirements must be met:
the outside credits must be offered by another US college or university that is also approved to sponsor F-1 international students for academic programs
the outside credits must be transferrable back to Tufts (i.e., the credits must be applicable towards your Tufts degree)
you must be enrolled for a minimum of one class at Tufts during the concurrent enrollment semester
the total number of credits must still amount to a full-time course load
Procedure for Concurrent Enrollment
If you are interested in taking a class at another college / university, begin by exploring the course options that are being offered. Talk to your academic advisor or advising dean about whether they have any recommendations or if the class you want to take is recommended for you. You should also confirm if the credits received can be transferred back to your Tufts program and counted toward your degree. Do not assume that credits can be transferred back to Tufts without talking to your academic advisor first.
Once you have decided, in consultation with your academic advisor, that the class is appropriate for you, register for the class. It is up to you, the individual student, to understand and follow the registration, enrollment, billing, and academic policies and procedures of the college or university where you are taking the class. However, note that different schools at Tufts have cross-registration agreements with certain other colleges and universities in the Boston area, and you should follow any applicable cross-registration procedures if this applies in your case.
After you have registered for the class, contact your International Center advisor to inform us of your plans. Provide a copy of your registration schedule. The schedule should show your name, the college / university where you are taking the class, and the number of credits you are taking for the term. The International Center will review your request and determine whether the class can be counted toward your full-time enrollment.
Maintain enrollment in the class as long as it is needed for you to be considered a full-time student. Do not drop the class without talking to the International Center.
The concurrent enrollment process is not needed in these situations:
If you are already registered for a full-time course load at Tufts, you do not need to inform the International Center of your plans. International Center review is needed only if you intend to use the outside class to maintain full-time enrollment as an F-1 student.
If you are enrolling in a Tufts-approved study abroad program organized through the Office of Global Education, the concurrent enrollment process does not apply.
Concurrent enrollment is not needed for classes taken at other universities during the summer vacation period, as long as you intend to return to Tufts to continue your studies in the fall semester after the summer vacation period is over.
US-based Exchange Semesters
If you are accepted to an exchange semester with another US based college or university, you should contact your international student advisor for additional guidance regarding your immigration situation. During an exchange semester, you would be a full-time student at another university, and would not be enrolled in any Tufts courses or classes (even if the classes you take at the other university will transfer back to your Tufts degree). In this situation, concurrent enrollment does not apply. Instead, you will need to coordinate a temporary transfer of your F-1 sponsorship to the other university, and then transfer your F-1 records back to Tufts when you are prepared to return to your Tufts program.
If you have questions about concurrent enrollment, contact your International Center advisor.