5 things to keep in mind before changing course or university midway in the US

January 3, 2020


Changing Study Program, Education Loan, F1 Visa, GMAT, MCAT, SEVIS, Student Loan

To err is human, to rectify it is smart. There are times when one realizes that the path that one has taken is not going to take him or her to the desired destination.

Deciding which college or university to study in or which study program (course) to get enrolled in requires meticulous planning. However, sometimes, despite clear focus and meticulous planning, students end up feeling dissatisfied either with the academic institution or the study program. This situation is even more worrisome for those pursuing higher education in a college or university in a foreign country like the US.

Therefore, in this blog, Student Cover highlights those points that a student should keep in mind before deciding to change the study program or university mid-way in the US.

1. Impact on Education Loan Status

Most students take loan to finance higher education in the US. Financial institutions lend money on the basis of the stream, study program and academic institution. If one decides to change the stream or study program (course) the lender may want to reconsider its previous loan offer. Click here To know more about the impact of changing course/institution midway on education loan.

2. University/College Rules Regarding Such Change

Before moving from one study program or university/college to another, a student needs to get permission not only from the respective department of the university/college that he or she is going to but also from the one that the student is leaving. A student should find out in advance the application process as well as the deadline for filing an application for leaving study program or university/college. Most universities and colleges do not allow students to leave mid-semester. Therefore, one should think of changing the program or institution after completing the semester and before the start of the new semester.

3. Qualification Needed for Admission in the New Study Program

A number of degree programs, especially those that offer professional degree, require a student to secure certain grade or marks in qualifying examinations. If a student wishes to change from one program to another, he or she might be required to appear for such examinations. While certain programs falling under the same stream may accept a qualifying exam’s marks or grades for programs under the same stream, others don’t. For example: GMAT score may work for an MBA student changing over to another management program but it won’t work if he or she wishes to apply for a medical degree which requires MCAT score.

4. Pending Dues and Fees

Before a student moves from one institution/department to the other, he or she is required to clear all pending dues which might include any pending tuition and hostel fee, student activity fee etc. One must ensure that all fees and dues have been duly paid. Otherwise the department or the institution will not allow the student to transfer to another course or institution.

5. Effect on SEVIS Records

While applying for F1 Visa, students are required to get enrolled in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to acquire the I20 form. It has the information about the student, the study program and institution. Based on the I20 form, the student is issued F1 Visa. If a student changes the study program or the institution, the I20 status also gets changed. Therefore, while initiating the transfer procedure, one must ensure that their record in the SEVIS also gets updated with the new information.

In case a student fails to notify SEVIS about the change in status, the SEVIS record may get deleted which could result in the student having to re-apply at SEVIS with bank documents, passport, new I20 which is a lengthy and cumbersome process.

Let’s Wrap it up!

Students who are not satisfied with their current study program or academic institution may wish to shift to another program or institution. However, before doing that, one must consider what impact that decision would have on the education loan status. They should also find out about the university/college rules pertaining to such a change and whether they meet the requirements for the new study program. Students should also not forget to clear all pending dues in the previous department/institution and simultaneously get their SEVIS status updated.

Disclaimer: This blog is based on personal research of the writer. Readers’ discretion is advised. Neither Student Cover nor the writer will not be held responsible for any wrongful interpretation of the contents of this blog.

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