The College and University Student Program under the J-1 visa gives foreign students the opportunity to study at an American degree-granting post-secondary accredited educational institution, including colleges and universities. Students may participate in degree and non-degree programs. Students must pursue a full-time course of study and maintain satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program. Alternatively, they can participate in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives of the student’s degree program in their home country.
- Source of Funding: The College/University student must be financed by funding from any source other than personal or family, but directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, their home country government, or an international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statue (like the United Nations).
- Academic Program: The program must be carried out according to an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government, or according to a written agreement between American and foreign educational institutions, an American educational institution and a foreign government, or a state or local government in the U.S. and a foreign government.
Otherwise, the student is participating in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s degree program in his/her home country.
Or the student will pursue a non-degree program by enrolling full-time in a prescribed course of study, until their completion.
The maximum duration of a non-degree program is 24 months inclusive of academic training.
- Sponsors supervise the exchange program application process (not the University application process, which may be a separate application), issue the DS-2019, and are the main point of contact throughout the exchange program.
- Sponsors must not issue the DS-2019 until they determine that the participants have the academic credentials required for their program. This can be done through securing sufficient background information on students and ensuring that they have been admitted to the post-secondary accredited educational institution.
Exceptions to the Full Course of Study Rule
Participants in The College and University Student Program are required to maintain a full course of study, except:
- During official school breaks and summer vacations if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next term
- If they have an illness or medical condition
- If they have a bona fide academic reason
- If they are engaged full-time in a prescribed non-degree program for up to 24 months
- If they are engaged in authorized academic training
- If they require less than a full course of study to complete their academic requirements during the final term
In order to obtain a reduction or interruption in studies for medical or academic reasons, students must give the responsible officer at their designated sponsor organization a written statement from a physician and/or from the academic dean or an advisor recommending such a course of action.
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