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Say a student from another country is in the US on a student visa, and is enrolled in my community college class. I'm required to drop students who aren't participating in the class, and I have a policy in my syllabus that lays out criteria for dropping people (e.g., not showing up to the first class, or not showing up to class for a certain amount of time). If I do this, and it causes the student to go below a full load, what are the consequences for the student? Is it true that they might be deported within a matter of weeks? Does it matter if it's before or after census? If the student stays enrolled, but doesn't pass the class, are the consequences the same?

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My wife, who has some experience in these matters, says the following:

  • If the student is dropped from the class, making them no longer a full-time student, then they may lose visa status and be required to leave the country within days.

  • If the student fails, however, then it is up to the college whether to kick them out or not: so far as immigration is concerned, what matters is whether they are a full-time student, not how well they are doing.

Another possible option, which may or may not be possible in your institution, would be to try to arrange a late transfer into another "class" like an independent study, which would have no transcript value but would preserve full-time status.

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    Wow, days?? I find it very surprising that there is such efficient cooperation between various schools and the federal bureaucracy. – Ben Crowell Oct 16 '14 at 3:24
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    Actually, their cooperation is often very inefficient, which is even worse. The student might not even find out that they were required to leave the country until they have already been declared in violation of their visa and have a hard time ever being allowed to return. – jakebeal Oct 16 '14 at 3:56
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    @BenCrowell I have no choice but giving upvotes to both the question and the answer. This Q&A is extremely important to both the. professors and international students in the U.S. – scaaahu Jul 20 '16 at 3:49

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