On June 10, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Federal Register notice granting special student relief benefits to F-1 students who are citizens of Libya. Effective from June 10, 2011, until December 31, 2011, this notice applies to F-1 students "who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Libya since February 2011," and who have been in F-1 status as of February 1, 2011.
F-1 special student relief allows a student to work on- or off-campus full time following specific procedures set forth in the Federal Register notice. It also allows an undergraduate or graduate student to reduce his or her course load (to not less than six credit hours for undergraduate students or not less than three credit hours for graduate students) if needed because of this employment.
Eligibility requirements, limitations to the benefits, and procedures are discussed in detail in the Federal Register notice.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program's (SEVP) June 16, 2011 Broadcast Message 1106-01A clarified that F-1 Libyan students who attend English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are eligible for special student relief. This was an update to SEVP's original June 9, 2011 Broadcast Message 1106-01, which had stated that Libyan ESL students were not eligible for special student relief. Broadcast Message 1106-01A did not specify the minimum number of credit or clock hours an ESL student must maintain to comply with the special student relief regulations and notice. DSOs should contact SEVP if they have questions about this.