Monthly Archives: June 2018

10 Criteria to Consider for Outsourcing Your International Credential Evaluation Needs

June 22nd, 2018

checkers

In our previous blog, we wrote about the benefits of outsourcing international credential evaluations. In this week’s blog, we’d like to share with you the criteria you need to consider if your institution is looking to outsource its international credential evaluations.
With the need for increasing content and authenticity in the evaluation process comes the need for more education, training and experience on the part of the credential evaluator. Institutions seeking to outsource their international credential evaluations are advised to select one service or multiple services by requesting the following:

1. Membership

Is the credential evaluation agency an Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)?

The Association of International Credential Evaluators is a non-profit professional association with unique set of criteria which employs a rigorous screening process in determining the eligibility of providers of international credential evaluation services to Endorsed membership. The AICE has published evaluation standards to which its members subscribe and conform to promote consistency and transparency in educational equivalency reporting.

2. Years of Operation

Does the credential evaluation agency have a proven record of experience in the field?

Find out when the agency was established and how long it has been in operation. Number of years of operation as a credential evaluation service provider demonstrates longevity and continuity in a field where fluctuations in the market due to economic and political events affects the solvency of a company and its ability to work with credentials from around the world.

3. Standards

What evaluation standards and procedures does the credential evaluation agency employ in evaluating and determining U.S. educational equivalences?

It is important to find out the standards the evaluation agency uses in evaluating credentials to derive at U.S. educational equivalences. Does your institution have any guidelines in place when assessing international credentials? Are the standards used by the evaluation agency in line with your institution’s? If your institution doesn’t have any particular standards on evaluating international credentials, we recommend you refer to the AICE Evaluation Standards for guidelines.

4. Experience

Request and review a profile of the evaluation agency’s executive and evaluation staff.

This information will help you assess the expertise and experience of the agency’s evaluation staff. It will also help you outline the methods the agency employs for its evaluators to receive continuous professional development.

5. Services

What types of evaluation reports are provided by the credential evaluation agency?

It is important to determine the different types of evaluation reports the credential evaluation service provides to see if they are able to accommodate your institution’s needs.

6. Required Documents

What criteria does the evaluation company have in place in accepting academic documents?

It’s important to find out whether the evaluation company accepts official transcripts directly from the source institution, or original (“first-issued”) documents in the student’s possessions, photocopies or scanned documents submitted by students, or transcripts received electronically from the source institution.

7. Processing Time

How long does it take for the evaluation agency to complete an evaluation?

The number of days an evaluation agency requires to complete an evaluation plays a significant part in the overall picture when a student’s application for admission is contingent on the evaluation report. You must determine the actual number of days it takes an agency to complete the evaluation and not the estimated time. For example, an agency may claim a 10-day processing time but in practice it takes 20 or 30 or more days to complete its evaluation reports.

8. Library/Information Resources

What steps does the evaluation agency take in maintaining a dynamic in-house library?

A credential evaluation agency and the evaluation reports it generates are as good as its reference library. Maintaining an in-house library is one of the most important criteria in qualifying for Endorsed Membership with the Association of International Credential Evaluators. An in-house library that has in its collection historic and current publications and reference materials is the backbone of a full-service reputable evaluation agency.

9. Website & Information

Does the evaluation company have a website that is user-friendly and informative?

A website serves as the portal to a company’s operation and services. An effective website must include information that is clear and transparent about its services, fees and procedures.

10. Customer/Client Relations

How helpful and knowledgeable is the evaluation company’s staff?

And, last but not least, building a relationship with an evaluation company where you are confident that your institution’s needs and those of your international students are not ignored but handled in a timely and professional matter is essential. It is good to call the evaluation company and see if you are greeted by a friendly representative able and willing to answer your questions. If you emailed the company, how soon was your email answered?

In closing, by selecting a reputable evaluation service with proven years of experience, you are ensured the most up-to-date evaluation standards and practices. Indirectly, outsourcing also gives you access to the evaluation service’s resources: its library, database, knowledge and experience, online tools, and training. Finally, building a relationship with a credential evaluation agency creates an understanding between the parties that allows the agency to incorporate any special institutional needs into the evaluation. An on-going relationship with an evaluation service leads to consistency in the placement of students over time and across educational systems. It also provides the institution with an expert resource to consult when questions arise about credentials and placement.

 

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Give Me Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled Masses…

June 15th, 2018

liberty

My heart is very heavy as I write this blog.  Doing what I do, keeps me on the front of lines of the immigration crisis.  And, even though I’m dealing with those who are here in the U.S. through legal channels, I sense their angst, working under duress to make sure their documents get processed correctly and quickly.  Their stress is contagious.  No matter how much of a jaded international education professional you may have become, you’d have to be made of stone, if you are not concerned about their plight and don’t empathize.  I’m seeing the negative anti-immigration rhetoric of our government cast such a dark cloud over our nation that even those who want to come to America legally–whether to study, immigrate or work–are too afraid, and frankly turned off, to do so.

If you’ve been watching, reading or listening to the news, you can’t say that you are unaware of the latest steps the US Border Patrol is taking against immigrants entering the U.S. illegally.  They are separating children from their parents and literally placing them inside cages for an indeterminate time while their parents are kept in detention cells awaiting hearings before an immigration judge.  U.S. Border Patrol officials saying they’re following orders from the Justice Department and the Justice Department says it’s enforcing the law.

We’ve also now learned that about 1,500 children who had arrived in the U.S. unaccompanied a couple of years ago, and were assigned to foster care or some form of care, are now “lost” in the system and cannot be accounted for by the U.S. immigration.

If we don’t speak up and against the callous treatment of these immigrants and demand more humane measures, we will be spiraling into a very dark and fetid place, and it will happen much faster than we’d like to think.

For a minute, put aside your political party affiliation, and imagine yourself as neither a democrat or republican or independent, but a small child arriving inside the borders of the U.S. to be immediately separated from his or her parents. For a minute, imagine yourself as the father or mother whose child was taken away under the guise that he was going to be bathed and fed but to never see your child again and not be told of his whereabouts or welfare. Let this image sink in.

Now, imagine you live in a country where law and order are seriously compromised by crime, where corruption and a weak legal system and ineffective law enforcement is the norm, where you fear for your life and the lives of your loved ones and where you cannot turn to the police and the law for protection and justice. Imagine that this situation is further compounded by a dysfunctional economy, where you struggle to eke out a daily wage to feed your family and keep a roof above your head, where you are a victim of extortion by those very criminals who promise to offer you and your family or your neighborhood protection who take away from you the meager earnings you have made. Imagine living under a totalitarian system where you have no civil rights and can be arrested for reading a book, a pamphlet, a newspaper article or listening to a radio broadcast, or following sites on social media which the authorities consider unpatriotic, subversive, anti establishment.  Imagine living under a constant state of fear and threat for your life and your loved ones.  Imagine living in a country that’s under siege of a civil war or war with another country or countries.  Imagine bombs falling and exploding around you every day.  Imagine seeing your friends, a sibling, a relative, a parent, next door neighbor, a classmate, killed by gun fire or explosives.  Imagine food shortages, or the absence of food and fuel.  What would you do? How long would you be able to tolerate this existence?

Now imagine gathering what meager belongings you may have and what little money, if any, you may have saved to flee the violent conditions in your homeland with your spouse and child. Imagine going through one obstacle course after another, paying off those who have promised your escape, battling the elements as you and your family cross harsh terrains whether over land or sea, by foot, or on boat to finally reach the country you have heard will receive you and offer you shelter, protection, and the promise of a new life.

Imagine crossing the border into the land built on the backs of slaves, illegal and legal immigrants, which prides itself on its rich immigrant and multicultural history.  No sooner have your feet touched the soil of this promised land, imagine being split apart from your spouse and child and taken away without a goodbye or embrace and kept in a cell in a detention center along with others sharing your same predicament.  You sit and wait without news of your child’s welfare for days, weeks, and months.

This is what is happening today, in the USA.  Thousands of immigrant children cannot be traced by the system that was supposed to watch over them, and hundreds of immigrant children are being taken away from their parents by US border patrol officials and kept in caged cells. Let this sink in.

This is not the America that drew to its shores the hungry, the poor, the wretched, the seekers, and prospectors, the explorers and wanderers, the men and women who came from all corners of the world in search of a better life and new opportunities.

Let’s remind ourselves of Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet “The New Colossus,” written in 1883 for an auction to raise funds for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 – Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus’s sonnet was inspired by the Statue of Liberty for its optimistic message to the world’s disenfranchised people. Let us be the beacon of light she wrote about. Let us be the Mother of Exiles.

Stay Informed!

  • Do you want to know what happens when children are separated from their parents by US Border Patrol Officer? Click here and find out.
  • Do you want to know what happened after the children of a Honduran man were taken away from him and he was separated from his family? Click here and find out.

 Take Action!

  • Do you want to be informed and know what you can do? Click here and find out.
  • Do you want to help? Click here and find out.
  • How to help migrant parents and children who are separated at the border? Click here and find out.
  • And, don’t forget to CALL YOUR SENATORS! Click here and you’ll be directed to your representative’s office.

jasmin_2015

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

President & CEO, Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI)
President, Association of International Credentials Evaluators, Inc. (AICE)
Chair, International Education Standards Council (IESC), AACRAO

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit http://www.acei-global.org.

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6 Benefits of Outsourcing Your Institution’s Credentials Evaluation Needs

June 8th, 2018

outsource

At the recent NAFSA: Association of International Educators Conference in Philadelphia, PA (May 27-June1, 2018), ACEI President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, and Aleks Morawski, Director of Evaluation Services at Foreign Credits, moderated a forum and shared their expertise on the benefits of outsourcing credential evaluations versus doing evaluations in house.  NAFSA had additional similar presentations on its conference program that concentrated on this same topic, so we felt it would be befitting to share with you a blog we had written back in 2016 that continues to be relevant today.  ACEI and Foreign Credits are both Endorsed Members of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE), a non-profit professional association for organizations providing credential evaluation services recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Unlike many countries in the world, the United States does not have a Ministry of Education or a centralized government body that oversees the country’s entire education system. The federal or national government of the U.S. does not have authority over education at any level. The task of evaluating the credentials of internationals mainly rests with private non-governmental agencies.

As the world’s leading host country of international students and scholars, institutions within the U.S. can either look into ways of funding evaluation services internally or outsourcing them to an evaluation agency. Some educational institutions—typically with a large international population—have a tradition of providing international credential evaluations as part of the admissions process and are fully equipped to do so. Others, however, do not have an evaluation process in place and yet face increasing numbers of students and immigrants who have studied outside the U.S. For the latter, outsourcing foreign credential evaluations can be an excellent and helpful option.

The pros of doing evaluations in-house by some institutions appear to be based on the belief that they have control over the process from start to finish, that their equivalency decisions are consistent, and that they are able to reach these decisions based on the knowledge they have of their institution’s policies. Many of the deterrents or cons to preparing credential evaluations in-house are financial, lack of experienced evaluators and access to a robust reference library containing historic and current reference material and publications on world education systems.

The benefits of outsourcing your institution’s international credential evaluations can be summarized as the following:

  1. Savings – If the student obtains and pays for an evaluation provided by an evaluation service, it costs the institution nothing. In addition, the cost for an evaluation which is between $95 – $185 is a miniscule faction of the cost the student will have to pay for tuition at the institution but the benefits to the student are ten fold in that they may receive transfer credit for their evaluated coursework and/or be admitted to an advanced program based on their previous studies and avoid having to start their education over. In the case of an individual seeking employment or professional certification, the cost for the evaluation is also a miniscule fraction of what their future earnings will be based on the employment they are able to secure and/or the license they will receive to practice their field.
  1. Time – The time dedicated to evaluating credentials which requires the vetting of the documents and verifying their authenticity, researching the education system to determine the status of the institution, length and level of the program studied, grading practices, and course description can be directed to focus on the other critical tasks in the admission office.
  1. Resources – The resources that would have gone into creating an evaluation department which includes hiring and training of personnel, funding continuing education, building a resource library, tracking changes in educational systems, verifying the authenticity of documentation, collecting and maintaining a database of documentation and evaluations, will be available for recruiting, selecting, admitting, and advising students.
  1. Multi-Purpose – Both the international candidate and U.S. institution receive an objective evaluation of the individual’s academic achievement that can be used in the future by the candidate for purposes such as immigration, employment, graduate or doctoral study at another U.S. institution, or professional licensing.
  1. Manage Risk – Protecting your institution or organization from fraudulent documentation and misrepresentation that can jeopardize reputation and accreditation. By allowing experienced professionals with in-depth knowledge of world education systems and hands-on experience of evaluating academic credentials you will protect your institution against fraud.
  1. Access to Expertise – An indirect benefit of outsourcing your international credential evaluation needs is that it gives you access to the evaluation company’s resources such as its knowledge and experience, online tools and training.

The continued flow of internationals coming to the U.S. for further education, career and economic advancement necessitates the evaluation of their academic credentials. An on-going relationship with an evaluation service leads to consistency in the placement of students over time and across educational systems. It also provides the institution with an expert resource to consult when questions arise about credentials and placement.

In our next blog we will share what criteria you need to employ when selecting a service to outsource your international credential evaluations.

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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