Tag Archives: college

Confused by SEVIS regulations?

July 20th, 2017

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Are you up-to-date on new SEVIS Regulations?

Are you confused by new regulations or changes? We can help!

ACEI expert webinar will provide updates and information about these changes in regulations as we have immigration experts on hand to answer your questions. Join us Friday, July 28, 10am PDT for ACEI SEVIS Regulations Webinar.

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The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  SEVIS maintains information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools, international F-1 and M-1 students to attending those schools, U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors, and J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants.

Because SEVIS is a tool used to protect national security, and it supports the legal entry of more than one million F, M and J nonimmigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange, SEVIS can also be very confusing. The ever-changing regulations for student statuses in the current administration can make it very difficult to stay up-to-date with the changes.

Do you know what to do if a student status changes? According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), schools use SEVIS to petition SEVP for certification, which allows the school to offer programs of study to nonimmigrant students.

SEVIS also provides a mechanism for student and exchange visitor status violators to be identified so that appropriate enforcement is taken regarding deportation or university admission. Designated school officials of SEVP-certified schools use SEVIS to:

  • Update school information and to apply for recertification of the school for continued ability to issue Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to nonimmigrant students and their dependents, the status of the student is very crucial to their admission to the university and the U.S.
  • Issue Forms I-20 to specific nonimmigrants to obtain F or M status while enrolled at the school
  • Fulfill the school’s legal reporting responsibility regarding student addresses, courses of study, enrollment, employment and compliance with the terms of the student status
  • Transfer the student SEVIS records to other institutions

Exchange Visitor programs use SEVIS to petition the Department of State for designation that allows the sponsor to offer educational and cultural exchange programs to exchange visitors. Responsible officers of designated Exchange Visitor programs use SEVIS to:

  • Update sponsor information and apply for re-designation every two years
  • Issue Forms DS-2019, “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” to specific individuals to obtain J status
  • Fulfill the sponsor’s legal reporting responsibility regarding exchange visitor addresses, sites of activity, program participation, employment and compliance with the terms of the J status

Transfer exchange visitor SEVIS records to other institutions.Records of nonimmigrant admissions and continued participation in educational programs are maintained in SEVIS. Are you staying up-to-date on the kind of information and data needs to be included in SEVIS?

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As it is in ICE’s mission for accurate record keeping, SEVIS tracks and monitors nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors, however, it can be confusing. If accepted by an SEVP-certified school, foreign students may be admitted to the United States with the appropriate F or M nonimmigrant status. F-1 nonimmigrants are foreign students coming to the United States to pursue a full course of academic study in SEVP-approved schools. An F-2 nonimmigrant is a foreign national who is the spouse or qualifying child of an F-1 student. M-1 nonimmigrants are foreign nationals pursuing a full course of study at an SEVP-approved vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution (other than in language training programs) in the United States. An M-2 nonimmigrant is a foreign national who is the spouse or qualifying child of an M-1 student.

Are you aware of new regulations? Department of Homeland Security published a new rule for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension in 2016.

SEVIS also ensures universities to provide proper reporting, data currency, integrity, and record keeping by schools and exchange visitor programs.  Our webinar helps make sense of the new regulations and rules.

We are honored to introduce our esteemed presenters:

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Scott F. Cooper, an immigration attorney, serving clients including higher education, academic health centers and associated research and service institutions. Scott is an expert on US immigration practice, compliance and complex case matters to present and answer your questions about the new administration challenges surrounding OPT and H1 regulations.

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Also joining us is Brooke H.M. Stokdyk, Assistant Director at Michigan State University. Brooke is an international education professional with over sixteen years of experience with F-1 and J-1 program administration at academic institutions sponsoring some of the largest international student and scholar populations in the U.S. Brooke has served as an F-1 and J-1 compliance consultant for more than six years.

Join us July 28, 2017 https://madmimi.com/s/0c224a for this important webinar!

Resource: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/factsheets

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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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2017 Annual meeting of ENIC and NARIC networks, Copenhagen, Denmark

June 22nd, 2017

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ACEI’s President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert will be attending the 24th annual meeting ENIC-NARIC Network which will be held from June 25-27 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ms. Saidi-Kuehnert will also be representing the Association of International Credential Evaluators, and the International Education Standards Council (IESC) of AACRAO as its Chair. She will be presenting a session on the U.S. Perspective on the 3-Year Bologna Compliant Bachelor’s degrees with Melanie Gottlieb, Deputy Director of AACRAO.

In this week’s blog, we would like to provide a brief profile on ENIC-NARIC and its role and purpose in the international education milieu:

ENIC Network (European Network of Information Centres)

  • The ENIC Network was formed by the Council of Europe and UNESCO to help implement the Lisbon Recognition Convention of 1997 and develop policy and practice for the recognition of qualifications
  • The Network is made up of the national information centres of the Parties to Lisbon Recognition Convention.
  • An ENIC is a body set up by the national authorities. While the specific competences of ENICs may vary, they will generally provide information on: the recognition of foreign diplomas, degrees and other qualifications; education systems in both foreign countries and the ENIC’s own country; opportunities for studying abroad, including information on loans and scholarships, as well as advice on practical questions related to mobility and equivalence.

NARIC Network (National Academic Recognition Information Centres)

  • The NARIC network is an initiative of the European Commission and was created in 1984.
  • The Council of Europe and UNESCO jointly provide the Secretariat for the ENIC Network.
  • The ENIC Network cooperates closely with the NARIC Network of the European Union.
  • The network aims at improving academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study in the Member States of the European Union (EU) countries, the European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Turkey.
  • The network is part of the Community’s Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), which stimulates the mobility of students and staff between higher education institutions in these countries.

Stay tuned for a report on the ENIC-NARIC Network meeting in our next blog.

Source: ECNI-NARIC http://www.enic-naric.net/annual-meeting-of-enic-and-naric-networks.asp

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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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Dispatches from the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA: A photo journal

June 1st, 2017

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This week, NAFSA, the world’s largest association dedicated to international education and exchange, brought together a diverse and vibrant community of nearly 10,000 global leaders and colleagues at its Annual Conference & Expo right here in ACEI’s backyard, Los Angeles.

More than 107 countries have been represented in a setting that emphasized the message, “We build bridges, not walls.”

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Marina Maligana of NOKUT (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education)
with ACEI Marketing Director, Laura Sippel

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Marina Maligana of NOKUT (Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education)
with ACEI President, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA Exhibition Hall

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NAFSA President Ester Brimmer

NAFSA President Ester Brimmer at the opening plenary spoke on how as international educator, we are part of the solution. “We need to stay calm and stay woke,” she said in light of the current political climate. “We need to building bridges, not walls,” she added. Question she posed to the conference attendees was whether the “U.S. will see itself as part of the global community or pursue the path of isolationism.” She stressed the importance of “keeping the U.S. an open and welcoming place.”

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NAFSA Opening Plenary Speaker Isabel Wilkerson

NAFSA Opening Plenary  Speaker Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of New York Times bestseller, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Ms. Wilkerson gave a moving and inspiring speech and shared excerpts of the presonal stories she had gathered for her book from the African American communities who had migrated from the American south during the Jim Crow era to the North, Northeast, and as far as the West, Hawaii and Alaska. Ms. Wilkerson message was that “we are one species and we in this together, we are not the social constructs that are forced on us.”

At ACEI, we agree with NAFSA’s message of diversity and inclusion and we want to stay globally engaged and educated.

We will pledge to protect our core values, as Americans, which include freedom, opportunity, and welcome.

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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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25 Action Items to Foster Diversity & Inclusion on College/University Campuses

05/18/17

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On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, ACEI hosted a webinar on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion. We would like to offer you highlights of our webinar in this week’s blog.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity is any aspect that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another, but it also means appreciation of and respect for differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion.

Some may define inclusion is a state of being valued, respected, endorsed, and supported. It’s also about focusing on the needs of everyone and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve their greatest potential.

To look at this big picture, diversity is the mix; think of inclusion as getting the mix to work together harmoniously.

How to foster diversity and inclusion for admissions?

Here are 16 immediate steps you can take to help you develop a program that supports and encourages diversity and inclusion on your campus:

  1. Have your message be open to all groups
  2. Develop videos saying, “You are welcome and safe here”
  3. Mix up housing for international students so that students from different countries room together
  4. Make sure the international admissions staff has professional development in creating inclusive classrooms
  5. Do not exclude domestic students from diversity and inclusion
  6. Prepare host students on how to interact with international students
  7. Expand programs from international students (social and classroom activities)
  8. Share high impact positive stories, using alumni, parents, and staff.
  9. Recruit and retain staff with international education experience and training
  10. Allocate financial resources to create and implement programming for international students
  11. Provide more staff resources and training for creating diversity and inclusion
  12. Provide professional development for faculty and staff to create learning spaces that multicultural and inclusive
  13. Provide opportunities for domestic and international students to learn about themselves and others, have them realize we have more in common than not.
  14. “By understanding someone else, you better understand yourself”
  15. Create co-curricular programs that foster language and cultural proficiency
  16. Provide mentoring for international students by domestic students

Here are additional steps to keep in mind to ensure the programs you have set in motion continue to advance your institution’s mission of cultivating diversity and inclusion:

17. Alter your approach to allow for various learning styles. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t

18. Survey and reach out to international students, parents, and alumni to see what is working and what is not

19. Communicate to your international students that you are investing in them

20. Change how you instruct to various learning styles

21. Help students gain confidence

22. Foster online meaningful discussions and engagements

23. Move the focus from teach to student to community. Have shared narratives

24. Create pathways to help international students immerse into a host culture

25. Prepare your campus for a global student body (learn language phrases, have international clothing/food week)

In closing, when you say, “you are welcome here” also say, “You are to be who you are and we welcome you.”

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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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International Student Mobility: 2017 Trends in International Student Recruitment

May 11th, 2017

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ACEI is pleased to share the 2017 report prepared by Study Portals in this week’s blog.  The following is an excerpt from the report. To read the full report, please click here

These days, there is a widespread and wide-ranging conversation about globalization; but only by visiting classrooms in every corner of the world can you see it in action. International students around the world are part of a movement bigger than themselves – a movement involving millions of people at thousands of campuses.

At the moment there are more than 5 million students pursuing their education outside of their home countries – a number three times that of international student enrolments in 1990l. By 2022, the number of internationally mobile students is expected to reach 7 million. The most significant growth in international education comes from Asian students, who are looking to study abroad in English.

International education is now open to the masses, and no longer only available the world’s elite. This expansion is particularly driven by a rising middle class that now exists on every continent.

Student mobility, like many other economic and social principles, follows the laws of supply and demand: The popularity of study destinations correspond to the number of globally-appealing programs that different countries offer, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. These are, unsurprisingly, also the countries with the highest number of English-taught programs around the world.

China’s and India’s rise to the word’s top 10 most powerful economies (and South Korea currently holding the 15th place) has given rise to an increased demand for higher education. These three countries are also leading sources of globally mobile students. One in every six international students now comes from China, while Asian students make up more than a half of the world mobile students.

International education is on a static phenomenon; it is influenced by international politics, changing demographics and economic factors.

What do we expect to see in the cooing year, based on our expert insights and the mountain of data we have gathered on international study choice? Here are our top predictions for the year!

Please click here to read the full report and learn more about Study Portal’s top predictions for 2017.

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Study Portals  is the international Study Choice Platform. StudyPortals’ Mission is “Empowering the world to choose education.” How? By making study choice transparent globally. StudyPortals help universities with easier and more effective international marketing and recruitment solutions.

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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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Why is Central European University under attack by the Hungarian government?

April 14th, 2017

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Demonstrators at the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest protesting legislation that would force the closure of Central European University, April 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: The Nation – MTI via AP/Jano Marja)

If you haven’t heard already, on Tuesday, April 4 2017, the Hungarian National Assembly fast-tracked and passed an amendment to a higher education bill that threatens the closing of the Central European University (CEU), a leading university in Europe. According to a report in The New York Times: “The new law requires, among other things, that foreign-accredited universities provide higher education services in their own countries — meaning the United States in the case of Central European University.” CEU has until January 1, 2018 to comply with these new requirements.

CEU, located in Budapest, is accredited in the United States and Hungary and offers degrees in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, business management, environmental sciences, and mathematics. CEU attracts students from over 100 countries from around the globe and is revered for its programs in social sciences and humanities.  According to The Times Higher Education, CEU was founded in 1991 as an English-language university by “a group of visionary intellectuals – most of them prominent members of the anti-totalitarian democratic opposition.”

Members of the European Commission of EU’s executive body are investigating this new law imposed by the Hungarian government and questioning is legality. There have also been massive student protests in Hungary who see the government’s heavy handedness as a clampdown on free expression and in retaliation against Mr. George Soros, a financier who sits on CEU’s board. Mr. Soros, according to some observers is seen as an influential global threat by Hungary’s conservative nationalist government.  Even the U.S. has expressed concern and criticized the Hungarian government’s higher education bill and its impact on CEU.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is unmoved by the criticism and the protests. Mr. Orban’s party is convinced that George Soros is behind the shaping of CEU’s institutional philosophy of inclusion which encourages migration while the Hungarian government opposes it vehemently. Mr. Orban wants to stop migration while he sees Mr. Soros as an advocate of migration who will use money and his political capital to weaken and destabilize governments, such as Hungary, who oppose his philosophy. Mr. Orban has coined the term “Illiberal democracy” by turning liberals into the enemy and arguing that majority rule is more important than minority rights.

With such deeply rooted dislike for liberalism, George Soros, and migration which translates into international students, the future of the Central European University in Hungary looks rather bleak.

Sources:

https://www.oneyoungworld.com/blog/trouble-hungary-central-european-university

https://www.google.com/?trackid=sp-006#q=Central+European+University

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/central-european-university#ranking-dataset/1089

https://www.thenation.com/article/central-european-university-under/

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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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A New Internationalization Strategy

December 8th, 2016

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Continuing with our thread on the impact of a Trump Presidency on international education and internationalization as a whole, I found the blog recently posted by EAIE to be spot on. In the words of one of the authors of the blog, “… the task of regularly scanning the external environment to identify both opportunities and threats is now more critical than ever.”  This was most evident at the recent AIRC conference in Miami, FL and I’m certain that the discussion will only escalate in urgency in the months to come.

We can choose to look at the ramification of what a Trump Presidency may have on the future of international education in a negative light or its exact opposite. This new chapter in U.S. history may be just the wakeup call needed to reevaluate the way we have been operating. In fact, by shifting the focus to providing quality education (at the institutional level), and establishing standards (AICE is poised to be at the helm as far as credential evaluations are concerned with AIRC enforcing its certifications of agents/recruiters) we just maybe able to steer the ship into less turbulent waters. We can already see the negative effects of rapid unmonitored internationalization, where rules are broken, subpar or under qualified students are recruited, fraudulent documents are processed without vetting/verification/evaluation, and university reps compete for warm bodies overlooking principles/policies in order to meet the bottom line and generate tuition revenue.  Just look at the recent article in Reuters on how top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies helped along by a former U.S. school board president and a former administrator from a liberal arts college in Vermont. The U.S. colleges indicate they were unaware of fraud accusations brought against the Chinese companies. According to the Reuters piece the companies “have engaged in college application fraud, including writing application essays and teacher recommendations, and falsifying high school transcripts.” Earlier this year, we read about the scandal facing fraudulent practices surrounding students recruited from China and India to several key U.S. institutions. The fraud covered all facets of the admissions process, from creating bogus financial statements, ghost writers preparing college admissions essays, to falsified academic documents. 

We see ACEI and the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE), the professional association that vets and screens private credential evaluation services and requires adherence to peer approved evaluation standards, to be at the helm of this paradigm shift in thinking. If quality, due diligence, and academic values are an institution’s mission and purpose, then they can only be achieved and fostered when partnered with organizations that share the same vision and adhere to the highest standards in credential evaluations. The benefits of the credential evaluation service we provide at ACEI are many, but the most important is that an unbiased evaluation based on vetted academic documents and peer reviewed placement recommendation guidelines protects the academic institution against risks such as fraud and misrepresentation which affect the institution’s reputation, ranking, and most importantly accreditation.

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Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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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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