Monthly Archives: June 2017

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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Do you work with SEVIS? Are you confused by new regulations or changes? We can help!

Students

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.

Our webinar on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 will provide updates and information about these changes in regulations as we have immigration experts on hand to answer your questions. Join us Tuesday, June 20, for ACEI SEVIS Regulations Webinar.

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Do you know what to do if a student’s 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?    

As it is in ICE’s mission for accurate record keeping, SEVIS tracks and monitors non-immigrant 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 non-academic 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.

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You can click on this link to register for our June 20th webinar and learn about the new regulations:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-administration-new-regulations-what-now-we-have-the-answers-tickets-35249512240

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

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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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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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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