Tag Archives: international students

6 Facts about Foreign Credential Evaluations

September 15th, 2017

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We recently heard a report on CNN about foreign medical doctors who are unable to practice in the U.S. and are driving taxis instead. We frequently hear about the plight of legal immigrants in the U.S. who find themselves with little or no information on whether their education from their country of origin is worth anything in their new adopted country. Many simply assume they have to start from the beginning, take the GED, enroll in a college, or apply for and accept employment in jobs below their level of education attainment. Many are not aware that they can have their academic credentials evaluated to receive the approximate U.S. educational equivalence to help them with qualifying for employment, a professional license or admission to a U.S. college/university.

According the U.S. Department of Labor: “Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation upon request. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.”

Foreign credential evaluation is a process where academic credentials earned in an institution outside the U.S. is verified and converted into the U.S. educational equivalent. Foreign credential evaluation service providers are typically private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. Some state licensing boards, U.S. colleges and universities and professional associations also prepare evaluations of foreign credentials for their candidates.

Here are a few facts about foreign credential evaluations:

  1. A foreign credential evaluation provides the approximate U.S. educational equivalence of studies completed at an institution outside the U.S.
  2. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee that a level of education completed in a foreign educational system results in the same educational outcome. For example, if an individual completed three years of studies at a university outside the U.S., the U.S. educational equivalence for the studies may or may not be deemed comparable to a degree.
  3. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee employment but it will provide the employer with confirmation whether the candidate has met the educational requirements for the position.
  4. A foreign credential evaluation does not imply that the individual is qualified to practice his/her profession. In order to practice a profession such as medicine, nursing, engineering, dentistry, architecture, etc., candidates who have had their foreign credentials evaluated must also sit for the licensing examinations as required by the State in which they intend to practice. However, the evaluation will provide the professional licensing board the information it needs to determine the candidate’s eligibility for licensure.
  5. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee automatic admission to a U.S. school/college/university or transfer of credit, as each institution has its own specific admissions and placement policies. It will, however, inform the institution as to the level of studies completed in order to determine eligibility for admission.
  6. A foreign credential evaluation does provide the individual an understanding of his/her education’s comparability to the U.S. system so that he/she can pursue their studies or seek employment in a field in the U.S. that is compatible with their education.

A foreign credential evaluation is similar to currency exchange, where the education completed in one system is converted to the education system of another. So, before an immigrant dismisses the studies they completed in their country of origin, having their academic credentials evaluated will be the first step to take as they begin this chapter of their life in a their new adopted country.

The U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State, provide links to organizations that provide foreign credential evaluation services in the U.S. The NAFSA: Association of International Educators also provides guidelines on how to select a foreign credential evaluation service provider.

Since 1994, ACEI, which is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, has been providing assistance to individuals from around the world with the evaluation of their educational credentials. For information on our credential evaluation service and requirements, please visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at +1-310-275-3530 or via email at acei@acei-global.org

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7 Reasons why International Students are good for the U.S.?

July 27th, 2017

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According to the latest analysis from NAFSA, during the 2015-2016 academic year, 1,043,839 international students were studying at U.S. colleges and universities. In January 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily blocking entry to the U.S. by visa holders from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa and indefinitely suspending the entry of Syrian refugees. In his article “Beyond Justification,” for NAFSA’s International Educator July/August 2017 edition, David Tobenkin provides a strong case on the importance of international education and the contributions of international students to the U.S. He also lays out a road map for international education professionals to use in order to convey and deliver the importance of this message.

Using Tobenkin’s report, here are 7 reasons why international students are important for the U.S.:

  1. Amount contributed to U.S. economic 2015-2016: nearly $33 billion
  2. Number of jobs created and supported: more than 400,000 U.S. jobs (this means that for every 7 internationals students, 3 jobs were created)
  3. They help drive scientific innovation which help advance technological improvement maintaining U.S. productivity and its competitive edge in the global economy
  4. ¼ of the founders of the $1billion U.S. startup companies first came to the U.S. as international students
  5. 40% of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in medicine, physics, and chemistry since 2000 were awarded to immigrants.
  6. Out of the 6 American winners of the Nobel Prizes in economics and scientific files in 2016, all were immigrants.
  7. International students make significant contributions to our communities both economically and culturally.

It the travel ban becomes permanent, it will perpetuate the anti-immigrant sentiment that will drive international students away from the U.S. and to other more immigrant friendly countries, such as Canada and Australia. The ban is also a deterrent to students who are not from the list of countries blacklisted but may still see it as unwelcoming. A report from College Factual, a higher education research firm, which Tobenkin cites in this article, states that a permanent travel ban means “the loss of nearly 16,000 students annually from the seven countries” which “translate into U.S. colleges and universities losing as much as $700 million in revenue per year.” This is a significant loss and it will not only impact the institutions with a historic track record of receiving international students, hurt the communities benefiting from them but tarnish the reputation of the U.S. as a leading force in scientific and technological innovation.

At ACEI, we see the importance of international students as the hallmark of America’s greatness and we strive to maintain this reputation by assisting U.S. colleges and universities with our research and credential evaluation services that help enhance their reputation and competitive recruiting effectiveness. To learn more about ACEI and its services such as Credential Evaluation, Translation, Webinars and Training, and how we can assist you with your credential evaluation and recruitment needs, please visit www.acei-global.org or call us at 310.275.3530.

Sources:

NAFSA International Student Economic Value

NAFSA International Educator “Beyond Justification, How to Convey the Importance of International Higher Education” 

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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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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

denmark

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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Being a Myth Buster in the Age of Fake News & Alternative Facts

June 9th, 2017

Myth

It’s been a while since I’ve written something for this blog and it’s not for a lack of material. I’ve been in a state of disbelief since November 8, 2016. I’ve watched how anti-immigrant, anti-globalization, anti-internationalization rhetoric from the new administration has affected the image of our institutions of higher education—the bastions of learning and innovations—in the eyes of the world. I am astounded as to how myopic, xenophobic, and short-sighted a large majority of my fellow Americans have become overnight. Most likely they have always been this way, and the November 8th elections have liberated them to boldly display and proclaim their hatred and phobia of the “other” for all to see and hear.

I’ve sat quietly on the sidelines, simmering in my own stew of angst and frustration, mentally drafting essays of my opinions but feeling a resistance in actually putting them on paper/screen for others to read. Until yesterday happened. Yesterday, for the first time ever in the ten years I’ve been on social media, I ventured out of my safe zone and posted a comment. It was a comment in response to another comment. And the commenter was commenting about a satiric video featuring Mexico’s Former President Vicente Fox. In the clip, Mr. Fox quips that instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars to build a useless wall, the U.S. could pay for the university education of hundreds of thousands of students.

The comment that pushed me out of my self-imposed exile of interacting with the human species went something like this, and I’ll paraphrase it here:

“And how about those international students who are here in this country on a student visa, studying for free and then go back to to their countries and never pay back their tuition?”

I stared at this comment for less than 5 seconds and realized that I had to step in and bust the myth.  The myth shared by many Americans who think international students studying in the U.S. are getting a free pass. These same people mistakenly believe that international students return to their home countries without ever paying tuition or repaying the institution for the free education they received. This is far from the truth!

Unfortunately, in this age of fake news and alternative facts, it’s next to impossible to present facts, backed by research and statistical analysis when trying to clarify misconceptions and incorrect assumptions. But, I took a chance and went ahead and posted this comment in response:

“Foreign students must prove financial solvency in order to get a student visa and be admitted into the U.S. to study. They pay a much higher tuition than domestic students or out of state students. The contribution of international students to U.S. economy is quite significant. They not only pay tuition to cover their education but also contribute to the local economy by being consumers of products, renting apartments, buying cars, shopping, eating at restaurants, etc. Many people benefit. Clearly many Americans have the wrong idea of international students. They are not a financial burden but a financial boon to the country’s economy. $32.8 billion to be exact.”

And, in case the commenter and others like him were interested in facts supported by research data, I also included the following link:

http://www.nafsa.org/Policy_and_Advocacy/Policy_Resources/Policy_Trends_and_Data/NAFSA_International_Student_Economic_Value_Tool/

To my surprise, I received about 8 likes to my comment and no angry and nasty retorts. At least, none to date.

I guess the point to this blog is that we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines when we see incorrect information making the rounds or when assumptions are made that have no factual basis. It is our responsibility as citizens, fellow human beings, denizens of this planet to bust the myths and spread the facts. Whether we are heard or not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we spoke up and didn’t sit silently in the shadows. In the age of Super Heroes, we need to put on our cloaks, take a deep breath and assume our roles as Myth Busters!

Frustrated
Frustrated Evaluator aka Myth Buster extraordinaire

#mythbuster

#fakenews

#alternativefacts

#internationalstudents

#SuperHeroes

#Mexico

#PresidentVicenteFox

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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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Importance of International Students and Immigration to US Higher Education

March 10th, 2017

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As someone who has been actively involved in international education, this article expresses why I’m so passionate about the importance of immigrants and international students. The contributions made by immigrants and international students in the sciences, humanities and arts, economics, medicine, their innovations and inventions are too numerous to list. Yet what the Trump administration has done in less than two months with the enactment of the travel ban, revoking visas of international students, detaining refugees, deporting undocumented immigrants has so negatively impacted our standing in the world and will so deeply hinder and stunt our growth that the effects are far reaching will be felt by all. Immigrants and international students who are considering to legally enter the U.S. are seriously reconsidering their options by turning to friendlier and more hospitable countries to migrate and/or pursue their higher education.

This article by Jonathan R. Cole that recently appeared in The Atlantic sums it up nicely; American universities need international students and immigrants:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/03/american-universities-need-immigrants/518814/

We all need to stand up and support academic and scholarly exchange rather than erect walls and hide behind them in fear. Aren’t we Americans made of stronger stuff? Where’s our courage? Where’s our foresight?

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

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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.

jasmin_2015
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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