There have been many questions on this matter, so I decided to search the web to bring you a post that I believe touches on this issues in-depth. If you are on an H1b Visa and have been wondering if you can study in while in the US, I urge you to read this post carefully.

One of the passion that drives many people after working for a while is to pursue higher education like MBA or MS in USA. Many of the H1B visa holders want to do MBA from US schools as it adds good value for their profile and help them grow in their career. Some of them are not sure if they can study full time or Part time, what are the rules, etc. Especially with the new H1B rules from 2011 quota release in January 2010, it is getting tougher and one of the best ways to make your profile more valuable is to add higher education under your belt. This article will list all the details about “ Can H1B holder study in US and all visa questions ”

Study Full time vs Part time in US as H1B holder ?

One of the myths many of the professionals working on H1B visa in US have about Part time vs full program is, they are often confused by distance education or online education programs. In countries like India, Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, part time education means a complete different thing. The course structure is different and sometimes the degree you get is different too in these countries. But in US, it is different. When I say different, both Part time and Full time students study the same course material and they get the same degree. Then what makes the difference?

  • For MS or MBA, if you enroll in 6 credits (typically 2 classes) or less in any US University for a semester, your education status is considered part time. It means you are going to school part time.
  • If you are enrolled in 9 credits (typically 3 classes) or more, then your status is Considered Full time student. You are a full time student

That’s the only difference, it is only enrollment of credits or classes that makes a difference in Part time or Full time student status.  Universities tailor their MBA/ MS program  class schedule in such a way that it is attractive for students who work full time. The MBA/MS classes are held during evenings after 5:30 PM until 9:30 or  to facilitate part time students enrollment and flexibility for them to take classes in evenings.    Online degree is completely different, do not get confused. Some universities offer MBA Classes on weekends for flexibility, these are exactly same classes as regular. Just timings are different for flexibility. The work load and expectations are same irrespective of when the classes are taught and the degree and curriculum is same for the most part.

H1B visa and Status issues for Studying ?

As a H1B holder, you can study full time or part time. It is up to you how many classes you can handle. Personally, I did take 9 credits and worked full time too. It is how you manage and balance your work and studies.  I know my friend did 12 credits doing MBA. As H1B visa holder, to be in proper status you have to be paid by your H1B visa sponsor every month and you have to be on their payroll. That’s the key thing that matters, as long as you are paid every month and you have your pay check running by your sponsor, and you are working full time for the employer, you do not need to worry about any visa issues.  If your H1B sponsor cares about your higher education and wants to pay you while you are going to school full time, that’s fine too. The key thing is you have to be in legal H1B status and be paid every month.  If you cannot handle work and school, then you may change your visa status to F1 visa. But, if you change your status, you will have to take 9 credits every semester to be considered full time student. You cannot be a part time student on F1 Visa and you cannot work full time.

H1B visa and in-state tuition:

Tuition fee is something very expensive as Out-of state student or international student. If you work in a state for more than an year and pay taxes you can get in-state tuition. It saves you a lot of money. Check this article  In-state vs Out-of State tuition. Can you get in-state tution if you work in US for more than year ?

MBA or MS in USA ?

If you are not sure, should I do MBA or MS and which is right for you, you must read this article about:  Should I apply for MBA or MS after bachelors? It has all the information about fees, education, funding, etc.  As a rule of thumb for MBA, it is recommended to have work experience of at least 2 to 3 years. You may read this article, When should you do MBA ? Directly after B.tech or with Work experience ?

What are your thoughts ? Your experiences ?

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