International Student Office Compliance Issues

International Student Offices:
What Administrators Should Know
Kris Kaplan, Deputy General Counsel
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
CAAO, CSAO and Deans Meeting
October 2012
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is an Equal Opportunity employer and educator.
International Student Offices
 What goes on in there?
 Why it is important for administrators to understand their
 How administrators can (and must) support their ISOs.
Authorization Certification
C/Us that wish to enroll international students in F-1, M-1, and J1 status must apply for authorization; process requires
certification that it will, among other things:
 Agree to meet all regulatory requirements;
 Employ an adequate number of properly trained staff to
oversee and administer the program.
Get to Know Your DSO
 Each campus at which an foreign international student can be
enrolled must have a Primary Designated Student Official
(PDSO) and may have up to nine DSOs.
 President appoints PDSO = campus SEVIS rep;
 Regulations require all DSOs to be employees and citizens or
All DSOs must certify that they are familiar with applicable
immigration regs and intend to comply.
Student and Exchange Visitor
Information System
 DSOs are authorized users of SEVIS – the web-based
information system for tracking and monitoring schools and
international students in F, M, and J visa status
 Under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in DHS, and
considered to be part of the overall border protection strategy
International Student Office Roles
 Primary liaison and advisor to foreign international students
seeking admission or already enrolled;
 Main contact with US government departments re: foreign
national students: State Department; Department of
Homeland Security and others;
 Ensure school remains eligible to admit foreign international
students and compliant with SEVIS reporting and
recordkeeping regulations.
Risky Business
 Immigration regs cite 18 grounds on which c/u may lose its
ability to admit foreign international students, and most
relate to activities of International Student Office.
 Incorrect advice or reporting determinations may affect
student’s current and future ability to live, work or study in
the US.
F-1 Basics
 Most common immigration status for foreign national
students; to obtain visa, must show:
 Accepted by authorized school;
 Sufficient funds to cover costs for at least 12 mos;
 System-required health insurance
 Intent to return home at end of studies;
 Sufficient English proficiency and intends to pursue full course of
ISO reviews application and if acceptable, issues
which is used to apply for visa.
I-20 Form,
F-1 Basics
 Admitted for “duration of status,” i.e.:
 Pursuing full course of study
 Generally 12 semester credits per term
 Not more than 3 per term are online
 DSO must authorize reduced load.
 Generally, may work only 20 hours per week during regular
semester (more during breaks)
 On-campus, unless DSO authorizes exception, or
 CPT or OPT (following program completion).
F-1 and SEVIS
 DSOs required to maintain records and report certain
information about F-1 students through SEVIS
 Some reporting required within 21 days of event, e.g.: fail to maintain
status, name or address change, discipline based on criminal
 Some required within 30 days of school’s last registration date, e.g.:
fail to enroll
M-1 Status
 Visa classification issued to students who wish to pursue nonacademic course of study (e.g. certificate or vocational
 School must be authorized to enroll;
 Course (including practical training) cannot exceed 12
 Qualifications similar to F-1, students must pursue full course
of study.
Not for language training program.
J-1 Status
 Short-term students or scholars;
 School must be authorized through State Department –
participants typically sponsored by governmental entity (US
and/or foreign);
 Most subject to two-year home country physical presence
after course completed (or waiver required)
 Education for Global Learning (EGL) – system consortium for
sponsoring J-1 students/scholars
Risk Management
Given the breadth, scope and diversity of its work, ISO needs
administrative support to avoid liability.
 Ensure that DSOs have sufficient resources and training, e.g.:
 Web-based training at:
 NAFSA Adviser’s Handbook
 Minnesota International Educators (MIE)
Risk Management
 Do DSOs understand responsibilities to c/u and how to handle
potential conflicts with student’s interests?
 Do DSOs understand how to access system legal advice from
 Do DSOs understand potential consequences of acting outside
scope of their duties?
Do they know when to refer
students to immigration attorneys or others?
Other Resources
 Tips for International Educators handout, Bruce Gawtry, UMN
 Law Enforcement FAQs handout, Kris Kaplan, OGC
 NAFSA Code of Ethics
Current Issues
 Re-certification
 Accreditation of ESL Programs
 If c/u operates, must just show that program falls under umbrella of
programs for which accreditation approved

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