4. Can I still apply to OCC as an international student?
5. How should I register for classes?
Yes, visit international admissions for instructions on how to apply. And learn more about our exclusive new program IEC@OCC Academic Bridge for new international students.
If you have been admitted, please submit the Admitted Student Plan Survey and review the Newly Admitted Student Checklist carefully.
6. How many online, hybrid, or on-campus units/credits should I have so I can maintain status?
The MyCoast registration tool has changed recently, here are some helpful tips to get enrolled successfully:
7. Since classes will be mostly online, do I have to take 12 units to maintain status?
F-1 students can take ALL classes online for fall 2020 and spring 2021. There is NO on-campus requirement.
Here are some tips to help you enroll and maintain valid F-1 status and I-20:
- complete a minimum of 12 units
- for concurrent enrollment, complete at least 7 units at OCC
- Waitlisted classes DO NOT COUNT
- If you need help choosing classes see an Academic Counselor for help
- If you are struggling or wish to drop any classes, review the Reduced Course Load information under our "Maintaining Status" Guides, and then you MUST MEET AN F-1 ADVISER. DO NOT DROP unless you speak with and F-1 adviser first.
- If you drop below 12 units or choose not to enroll/drop all classes, your I-20 MAY BE CANCELLED. Please consult an F-1 adviser.
8. Can I take a leave of absence for fall 2020 or spring 2021? I do not want to take any classes until classes return to in-person instruction.
YES. If you want to maintain status, you must COMPLETE 12 units minimum. Please complete the Mandatory Spring 2021 Continuing Student Check-in to let us know your plan so we can best advise you.
Outside of the U.S.– RECENT UPDATE:
If you prefer, you CAN stay in your home country during fall/spring semester and take classes online. You MUST COMPLETE 12 units of online coursework to keep your I-20 active while outside of the U.S.
If you prefer to enroll in FEWER than 12 units or take a fall semester off, your I-20 will be temporarily cancelled. Refer to question #8 for more information about leave of absence and returning to the U.S. for a future term.
Staying in the U.S.:
You MUST COMPLETE 12 units minimum during fall and spring semster to maintain your I-20. Refer to #5 for more guidelines to maintain status.
If you are struggling or wish to drop any classes, review the Reduced Course Load information under our "Maintaining Status" Guides, and then you MUST MEET AN F-1 ADVISER. DO NOT DROP unless you speak with and F-1 adviser first.
9. I read about the 5 months rule for my visa. If I am outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months will my visa and I-20 be cancelled?
If you will enroll in 0 (zero) units or fewer than 12 units (and are not eligible for RCL), your I-20 MUST be CANCELLED (Authorized Early Withdrawal), and you MUST LEAVE the U.S. immediately. This cancellation is neutral and will not affect your future plans to return.
If you remain in the U.S. and do not enroll in any classes or complete fewer than 12 units (without authorized RCL), your I-20 WILL be TERMINATED. This is a NEGATIVE Termination and you may face serious consequences related to your visa and status.
To request a leave of absence, please complete the Mandatory Spring 2021 Continuing Student Check-in so we can best advise you about your specific situation. Once you are ready to return, contact us again and we will advise you on next steps to return.
10. I have a hold on my account for insurance, what should I do?
At this time, ICE guidance still allows for an exception of the 5-month rule. This may change at any time. However, if you complete 12 units/credits while abroad, we will keep your I-20 active and you will be able to use the same I-20 and valid F-1 visa to return when instruction returns to in-person.
If you take a leave of absence, refer to question #8. When you are ready to return to the U.S., please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for next steps to return.
We strongly discourage returning to the U.S. mid-semester as you will not have medical coverage.
11. Can I or should I return to my home country during COVID-19?
Once you have purchased insurance or completed the Mandatory Spring 2021 Continuing Student Check-in, allow 3-5 business days for the hold to be removed before registering for spring classes:
I will stay in the U.S. Spring 2021
- Purchase spring insurance at JCB Insurance Solutions
- Enter 'Orange Coast College'
- Select '2020-21 Plan Year'
- Select 'International Student'
I will take Spring 2021 classes ONLINE from ABROAD
Complete the Mandatory Spring 2021 Continuing Student Check-in so we can verify you are abroad, waive the insurance requirement and remove the hold.
12. I want to take a class at another school outside of OCC.
You should do whatever you think is best for you! All students must complete the Mandatory Spring 2021 Continuing Student Check-in so the Global Engagement Center at OCC can best advise you about your I-20, travel signatures, maintaining status, and hopefully returning soon.
Remember, travel regulations and self-isolation requirements may change at any time. There is no guarantee you will be able to reenter the U.S. until the COVID-19 crisis has passed and you may be required to self-isolate for a period. Additionally, many U.S. embassies remain closed and you may not be able to renew your visa if required. Please check the CDC, State Department, and OCC for updates about the virus, travel, and courses/instruction.
13. Since Spring 2021 will be mostly online, will international students pay a lower tuition amount?
If you want to do concurrent enrollment at another school, visit the International Student Guides page and review the guidelines under 'Concurrent Enrollment – taking a class at another school." Please note:
- You must complete 7 units minimum at OCC and 12 units total to maintain F-1 status. Refer to #5 for more guidelines for maintaining status.
- We recommend that you meet with an Academic Counselor to make sure the courses you choose will transfer to your program.
14. I am struggling financially with housing, groceries, tuition, technology, etc. Am I eligible for the Cares Act or any other financial support?
No, we do not have the flexibility to lower the non-resident tuition international students pay. Please visit the Enrollment Fees page for detailed information on tuition and fees. Online classes will help you continue to make progress towards your academic goal and are no less valuable than they were before. We encourage you to apply for scholarships in the Spring semester; OCC is unique in awarding over $500,000 in scholarships to continuing students each year.
15. Does the OCC international health insurance policy cover COVID 19 testing? Treatment? Do I need to do anything special?
International students are not eligible for the Cares Act. However, International students are an important part of the OCC community, and we may be able to help you with some challenges including laptops, & equipment, groceries & supplies (Pirate's Cove), and other resources.
If you are struggling and think you may need support like the things mentioned above, send a detailed email to email@example.com so we can see what kind of support we can offer.
16. Will my eligibility for OPT be affected if I am out of the country?
Yes, AETNA will waive costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing for patients who meet the CDC guidelines for testing. Aetna also confirmed that treatment of the virus is covered.
If you are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should take every precaution recommended by the CDC to protect yourself and others. Aetna members should use telemedicine to speak with a doctor at 1-800-556-1555.
It is a good idea to set up your insurance account and print your insurance ID card to carry in your pocket. Read more about how to print your insurance card and find doctors on our International Student Insurance page.
17. I could not find the answer to my question(s) here.
Guidance about OPT may change at any moment. As of July 17, you will be eligible for OPT if you are completing an OCC program or transfer requirements and at least 1 year in valid F-status. If you are studying online while abroad, you may still be eligible for OPT.
Read more about OPT on our International Student Guides Page under "Working in the U.S." and sign up for an OPT workshop.
If you cannot find what you need here or on our International Student Guides Page, call our office at (714) 432-5940, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, chat live or make an appointment with an F-1 advisers/Academic Counselors.