An F-1 student is admitted to the United States for "duration of status" (D/S) to complete an educational program; however, the student must actually complete his or her program on or before the program end date listed on the I-20. If the student is not able to complete his or her academic program by that date, he or she must request an extension from a DSO before the program end date. If the student failed to apply to the DSO for an extension before the I-20 program end date, then the student is considered out of status, and is not eligible for an extension and is not eligible to have the SEVIS record corrected by the PDSO. The student is also not eligible for OPT and cannot work on-campus. To regain F-1 status in this case, the student would have to either apply for reinstatement or exit the United States and apply for admission with a new SEVIS ID and I-20 issued for initial attendance.
DSOs have discretion to interpret the term "compelling academic or medical reasons." The regulations go on to state that "delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension."