SEVP Implementation of the Accreditation Act

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As the fall semester approaches, colleges and universities should be conscious of developments relating to the certification requirements that apply to schools that enroll foreign nonimmigrant students. During the first half of 2012, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (“SEVP”), the federal agency responsible for certifying institutions to enroll foreign nonimmigrant students, began implementing changes that will affect all colleges, universities, and other educational institutions that provide English language training (“ESL”) programs. These changes stem from the Accreditation of English Language Training Act (“Accreditation Act”), which became effective in June of 2011.

The Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act

Pursuant to the Accreditation Act, ESL programs that enroll foreign nonimmigrant students must obtain accreditation from a regional or national accreditation agency recognized by the Department of Education. This requirement has significant implications for educational institutions that enroll foreign nonimmigrant students in ESL programs.

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