Tag Archives: credentials

Which approach do you use when evaluating international credentials? Year-counting or Benchmarking?

October 5th, 2018

benchmarking

At the recent TAICEP conference in Philadelphia, PA, ACEI President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert and Melanie Gottlieb, Deputy Director at AACRAO presented a session on Understanding the Different Credential Evaluation Philosophies. In this week’s blog, we will provide a recap of the key points addressed in the presentation.

Why are there different credential evaluation philosophies?

Absence of a governmental body that helps shape standards to guide and monitor international credential evaluation
U.S. institutions base their evaluation philosophies on their admissions models (open vs. threshold vs. holistic)
Credential evaluation service providers are autonomous and are trying to produce a universally acceptable product to both university and the client
State/Territorial Licensing Boards have unique academic requirements
US Customs & Immigration Service enforce unique criteria for the purposes of employment-based visas
Economics of higher education shape the way credentials are evaluated

What are the two credential evaluation approaches?

• Benchmarking
• Year-counting (Quantitative)

What is the Benchmarking approach?

Benchmarking is usually more readily accepted at the pre-university level. (11 years, even 10, is not usually rejected by most institutions and credential evaluation services).

What is the Year-Counting (Quantitative) approach?

Year-counting is much more rigidly followed at the post-secondary level where three year degrees/diplomas are not widely accepted for academic or professional purposes

Why Year-Counting?

• Used because an internal qualitative comparison is not always easy to do
• Quality is impossible to measure
• Quantitative comparisons, using the US model, are quick and easy
• It avoids the quality pronouncements that are just too subjective when comparing degrees

Why Benchmarking?

• The benchmarking method is where the significant achievements are compared throughout the education system
• Conclusion of primary, lower secondary, secondary, first post-secondary degree, terminal post-graduate degree

What is the best approach? Combination of Year-counting and Benchmarking?

• The best way to approach international credential evaluation is a judicious application of BOTH methodologies

What are the dilemmas of the dual philosophies?

• General Education courses (unique to US and US-patterned education systems
• Inequity (3-year Bologna-compliant Bachelor’s degrees treated differently than 3-year Indian Bachelor’s degree)
• Inconsistency in credential evaluation outcomes (e.g. evaluation prepared for a graduate admission differs than one for professional board)
• Stunted growth aka “Theory of Retarding Lead” (Has U.S., once leading in international ed, stopped innovating?)
• Global competition (more countries entering the field and vying for the international student market)

What are the practical concerns for credential evaluators?

• Credential Evaluation services prepare multi-purpose evaluations (for admission to HEIs, employment, professional licensing, immigration, each having unique requirements)
• Adopt one or continue with the dual philosophies (benchmarking for high school completion, year-counting for graduate degree comparability, or a combination)
• Remaining consistent
• U.S. HEI: autonomy does not allow for national evaluation standards and the staff at HEI’s who are most engaged with the topic may not have either the influence or the sophistication to make change
• The growing movement of the global recognition convention and its implications for the US

How do we resolve the concerns?

• Need for transparency from HEI’s on performance of those admitted to graduate studies based on 3-year degrees
• What are US HEIs doing to remain competitive globally?
• Some credential evaluation services have a mutual understanding of fundamental standards (e.g. AICE and its Endorsed Members adhere to the AICE Standards)
• Increased focus on training for HEIs to understand their role and increase their sophistication in the evaluation process
• Increased engagement with professional accreditors and state licensing boards

At ACEI, we apply both year-counting and benchmarking approaches when evaluating international credentials. Let us know which approach you use or prefer using and why. We look forward to hearing from 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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Facts on CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY, Hungary

August 3rd, 2018

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The Central European University in Budapest has been the subject of an intense battle in Hungary. CreditDaniel Vegel/Central European University

The Central European University (CEU) has been at cross hairs with the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán since last year, when Hungary passed a law that imposes stringent conditions to license foreign universities.

The new law requires CEU to open a branch in its “home state” of New York alongside its campus in Budapest. It also requires CEU to secure a bilateral agreement of support from the U.S. government.

The law was met with criticism from universities around the world, the United States and the executive arm of the European Union. Mass protests filled the streets of Budapest, the Hungarian capital. Critics said the law was aimed at CEU and specifically at its founder, the Hungarian-born George Soros who has spent millions backing organizations that promote liberal democracy and open borders in Europe.

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A 2017 protest rally to support Central European University as Viktor Orbán visited Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

CEU prides itself on the diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures examining such subjects as emerging democracies, transitional economies, media freedom, nationalism, human rights, and the rule of law. The University is often seen as a bastion of liberalism, where thousands of students from across central Europe and the former Soviet Union have a received education in English over the past two decades.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a Fidesz party rally in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, on April 6, 2018. LASZLO BALOGH/GETTY IMAGES

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Mr. George Soros. Source: CEU website

Mr. Orbán, who himself was among the recipients of scholarships from foundations sponsored by the financier George Soros during the transition to democracy, now holds a very strong anti-immigration position and has accused Mr. Soros “of plotting to destabilize the continent by allowing millions of migrants to settle in Europe.” Source: The New York Times.

Mr. Orbán has championed the concept of “illiberal democracy” as part of his political platform. After winning re-election, declared: “The age of liberal democracy is over.”

In early May, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) – an international grant-making network also founded by Mr. Soros – announced it would close the Budapest office from which it has disbursed more than €400-million ($605-million) for democratic and civil initiatives over 34 years. Source: The Globe and Mail

Let us take a look at the origins of CEU and an overview of its programs:

History of CEU and its founder, George Soros

According to the information provided by the University’s website, “in 1989, a group of visionary intellectuals—most of them prominent members of the anti-totalitarian democratic opposition—conceptualized an international university that would help facilitate the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Among them was George Soros, the Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist, who founded Central European University two years later.” The generous endowment given to CEU by Mr. Soros today stands at 500 million euros, or about $610 million making it one of the most successful and revered centers for social sciences in Hungary and eastern Europe.

The CEU website continues, “Soros championed the project because he understood that open societies can flourish only with people in positions of responsibility who are educated to promote them. His vision was to recruit professors and students from around the world to build a unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law.”

In 1991, starting with a little over than 100 students from 20 countries, CEI held its first classes in Prague. In 1993, the University relocated to Budapest.

CEU’s Accreditation

In the United States, CEU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In Hungary, CEU is officially recognized as a privately maintained and operated university. The university was accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in 2004.

CEU’s Membership

CEU is an active member of the European University Association and of the Council of Graduate Schools in the US.

CEU Schools and Departments

CEU has 13 departments, two schools, and 17 research centers that focus on the social sciences, humanities, business, law, and public policy.

Central European University is a graduate-level university offering a wide range of degree programs at the Master’s and Doctoral levels. It has 370 faculty and approximately 1,400 students from more than 130 countries.

For a list of degree programs offered at CEU that are accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee and registered by the Educational Authority, click here.

CEU’s Worldwide Rankings

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 placed CEU among the world’s top 100 universities in the social sciences category.

According to the 2015 QS World University Rankings, the university is placed 29th worldwide in the field of politics and international studies, among the top 51-100 worldwide in philosophy, and among the top 51-100 worldwide for sociology.

The Economics department of the university has recently ranked eighth in Europe by the ERC (European Research Council), based on research excellence.

On the 2012 QS TOPMBA survey, the CEU Business School is ranked thirteenth as best MBA program in Europe.

And, according to a study published by German newspaper Die Zeit, the CEU Department of Political Science is among the top 5 political science departments in Europe.

English as the Medium of Instruction

The language of instruction for all master’s, doctoral and non-degree programs offered by Central European University is English. Candidates whose first language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting standardized English language test scores.

Latest News on CEU’s Status

On April 9, 2018, CEU announced  that it had signed an agreement with the City of Vienna to open a new satellite campus there.

CEU has since set up a U.S. site at Bard College in New York State. A Hungarian delegation inspected the New York campus in March 2018.

CEU is still waiting for its agreement with New York to be signed by the Hungarian government, prolonging a period of uncertainty over the Budapest operation.

If CEU is pushed out of Budapest, the university could move to neighboring Austria and make Vienna its new home.

As of the posting of this blog, CEU students and staff are unsure of what the future holds. The university’s fate remains up in the air.

Links to additional sources:

https://courses.ceu.edu/programs

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39493758

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-43300785

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-michael-ignatieff-fights-for-central-european-universitys-future-amid/

https://sciencebusiness.net/news/central-european-university-talks-open-campus-vienna

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/central-european-university-ready-to-move-out-of-hungary

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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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ACEI’s 5-Step Practical Guide in Helping Refugees and Displaced People without or limited Documentation

July 13th, 2018

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The displacement of people because of conflict/war and/or caused by environmental/political/economic crisis means that many may arrive at refugee camps or their adopted countries with little or no documents supporting their academic achievements.  At the 2016 NAFSA Region XII Conference in Palm Spring, CA, ACEI President & CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert presented a session on this topic with focus on “Syria: Education in Crisis and Providing Pathways for Refugees.” In her presentation, Jasmin introduced ACEI’s five-step process, which serves as a practical guide when assisting refugees and displaced people.

                                                Assess the Overall Situation

                                                Reconstruct the individual’s academic history

                                                Gather documents

                                                Assess Competency

                                                Verify

Let’s take a look at each of the five steps recommended in this model:

Step 1. Assess the overall situation

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Assess the overall situation to determine if the claim for lack of documentation is legitimate (that is, is the source country at war or devastated by natural/environmental crisis that prevents the individual in securing his/her academic documents?). You may look at a variety of sources to obtain confirmation, such as:

  • Check the US Department of State website
  • Search Internet on recent news from official news sources
  • Email the institution and/or Ministry of Education in the source country
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in the source country
  • Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country
  • Telephone the institution (seek the help of a native speak or someone fluent in the language)

Step 2. Reconstruct the individual’s academic history

inkwell

One way to obtain an understanding of your applicant’s predicament and academic achievement is by reconstruct their academic history.

  • Follow your general procedures (as you would all prospective applicants)
  • Require completion of an application
  • Require submission of official academic documents
  • Conduct an interview

Step 3. Gather Documents

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In the absence of complete academic documents, there are other types of documentation an individual may have in his/her possession that may include any of the following:

  • Gather any available academic and/supporting documents
  • Student IDs
  • Registration cards/enrollment slips
  • Any transcripts, certificates/diplomas even if incomplete
  • Copies of licenses
  • Certificates of professional standing/membership
  • State examinations certification
  • Proof of tuition payments/receipts from institution’s bursary
  • Sworn statements/affidavits from exiled faculty/school administration
  • Newspaper clippings/articles/announcements or printed lists of graduated students

Step 4. Assess Course Competency

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Assessment of an individual’s competency in a course or series of courses may be achieved through the following methods:

  • Interview by member of faculty
  • Assignment of special project
  • Challenge/placement examination

Step 5. Verify

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Finally, we need to verify and check everything that has been presented and collected to prepare a portfolio/dossier on the individual.

  • Confirm again the crisis situation in the country and institution with official sources (e.g. U.S. Department of State, Embassy of the country from which the individual originates)
  • Ensure that you have in-house expertise on the country/region in question and its education system
  • Compare and verify any document gathered against samples from the same country and institutions in your archives
  • Use social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter for your applicant and LinkendIn and Academic.edu for scholars from the conflict area
  • When in doubt consult with and seek advice of colleagues in your profession and/or reach out to external sources such as independent evaluation services (members of AICE-Association of International Credential Evaluators)

This is a dynamic guide and we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please share with us your experiences and any tips you may have on this subject so that we may consider adding them to the guide.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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The AACRAO Conference from the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) Perspective

March 30th, 2018

The 104th AACRAO Annual Conference was held in Orlando, Florida, this week to gather thousands of professionals in the field of applied comparative education, student admissions, academic records, international education, and enrollment management. The Annual Conference provided four days of workshops, sessions, roundtables, and networking opportunities.

AACRAO Executives encouraged attendees to make the most of the Annual Conference by visiting the exhibition hall, where AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates showcased the expert research, collaboration for best practices, and published set standards of AICE.

The AACRAO Program Committee developed a program that reflected the scope and breadth of their members’ professional responsibilities, including 200 sessions, round tables, poster sessions, and workshops.

AACRAO featured their 3rd Annual Film Festival to highlight how schools promote their programs and services which continuously played outside the Exhibition Hall.

The Annual Conference also provided several guest speakers, workshops, and professional sessions from a culmination of over a year of diligent planning by the AACRAO Program Committee.

ACEI President & CEO, AICE President and AACRAO International Evaluation Standards Council (IESC)- Electronic Database for Global Education (EDGE) Chair, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, shared her expertise by presenting on the benefits and placement recommendations provided by EDGE, the leading online resource for evaluating foreign credentials. Ms. Saidi-Kuehnert also presented on Diversity and Inclusion in International Recruitment and a session on Mutual Recognition Issues between the US and countries in European Union.

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AICE Endorsed Members: Alex Popovski (L), Ucredo, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (R), Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute

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AICE Endorsed Members: Aleks Morawski (L), Foreign Credits, Alex Popovski (R), UCredo

Several AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates also contributed to the excellent offerings of educational sessions to help the attendees build their knowledge and skills ensuring student and institutional success. AICE Endorsed Member, Aleks Morawski, joined AICE Affiliate the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA), Garrett Seelinger, and AACRAO to report on their recent trip to Cuba to collaborate with Cuba educational professionals via the AACRAO Cuba Project.

AICE Endorsed Member, Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA) founder Dr. William Paver and the Paver Family Foundation generously provided sponsorship for the elegant International Educators Reception, which overlooked the impressive hotel pool and lanai.

The well-attended International Luncheon featured Ms. Tolu Olubunmi, founder and CEO of Lions Write, a social venture dedicated to building initiatives committed to advocacy for migrants, refugees, and displaced people. She is recognized as one of the “15 Women Changing the World in 2015” and as an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur. AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates benefited from hearing Ms. Olubunmi’s message of advocating for the voiceless and collaborative efforts between corporations, governments, and civil society organizations.

Alan Alda, the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner, addressed a packed room to close the Annual Meeting to discuss his book, “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?” He interactively addressed effective communication techniques with humor and warmth.

The closing of the AACRAO Annual Meeting kicked off the AICE Symposium, “Setting the Standards for Evaluating Institutional Recognition and Accreditation” where AICE Endorsed Members and Affiliates, admission advisors, international credential evaluators, and AACRAO Executives meet to discuss critical issues surrounding our profession today.


The 2019 AACRAO Conference will be held in Los Angeles, California, followed by the 2019 AICE Symposium in the same locale.

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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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10 Criteria to Consider for Outsourcing Your International Credential Evaluation Needs (and why ACEI is your trusted source!)

March 23rd, 2018

checkmarks

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 a 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.

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. is an Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators.

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.

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. was founded in 1994 and is celebrating its 22nd year of service.

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.

As an Endorsed Member, ACEI adheres to the AICE Evaluation Standards in the preparation of evaluation of international credentials. Adherence to the AICE Evaluation Standards ensures consistency and transparency in evaluations and educational equivalence reporting.

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.

√ At ACEI, information on the executive team is available on the website and for its evaluation staff is available on request. The evaluation staff at ACEI are classified at the senior level which means they each bring with them more than 10 years of committed and continuous hands-on experience in evaluating international academic credentials.

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.

At ACEI, we provide three types of evaluation reports: Basic (General Document-by-Document) Report; Comprehensive Course-by-Course (with Grades, GPA, Course Levels) Report; Course Match Evaluation (Comprehensive Course-by-Course with Grades, GPA, Course Levels and Course Match). In addition, ACEI evaluation reports can be customized to meet an institution’s specific needs. For example, ACEI will include information such as Language/Medium of Instruction and certified true copies of official/ original academic documents submitted with the official evaluation report.

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.

The ACEI website identifies by country exactly what documents are required for evaluation and method of their submission. For some countries, ACEI strictly requires receipt of official transcripts directly from the source institution and from others, original documents to be provided by the students are accepted. Any original documents provided by the students are returned when the evaluation has been completed. Photocopies that have not been certified by the source institution are not accepted. Copies or scanned copies of documents are accepted for a preview but official/original documents are still required in order to prepare and issue an official evaluation report. Electronically transmitted official transcripts prepared by the source institution and released directly to ACEI are accepted for evaluation.

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.

At ACEI, we’re proud to adhere to our claim of completing evaluations within 7 business days. This is an unprecedented turnaround time, unmatched by any other evaluation agency in the U.S. ACEI will complete evaluations within 7 business day from the date of receipt of the completed application form, required official/original academic documents and fees. The processing time is only extended in the event the student does not provide the required academic documents, fees, or submits and incomplete application. ACEI also provides 2 RUSH services whereby an evaluation can be completed within 24-hours or 3-business days on receipt of the completed application, required documents, and fees.

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.

ACEI is proud of its comprehensive in-house library of print and electronic publications which include historic references as well as the most up-to-date publications on world education systems and international directories of institutions of higher education. ACEI in-house library also has in its archives thousands of sample educational credentials and evaluation reports to use as reference. The ACEI Database of evaluation reports and country profiles is another helpful resource for its evaluation staff.

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.

ACEI’s website provides detailed instructions on the application process, required academic documents for evaluation, types of evaluation reports, fees, methods of payment, processing time, and terms and conditions of service. The Frequently Asked Questions section of the ACEI website is also a helpful page to visit for supporting information.

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?

ACEI’s official hours of business are from 9:00 AM PST – 4:00 PM PST Monday through Friday. ACEI has a 24-hour, 7-days a week answering phone service to handle basic phone inquiries during its non-business hours. During our regular business hours, our representatives are available to answer any of your phone and email inquiries. All phone messages and emails are answered within 24-hours.

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.

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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