The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recently announced the program’s enforcement of the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act (Accreditation Act) that impacts international students attending English Language training programs of study, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. As a result of the Accreditation Act, all English Language training programs of study that accept international students must be:
- certified by SEVP, and
- accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency that is currently recognized by the Department of Education, or have applied for accreditation before December 15, 2011.
If you are an international student who is currently enrolled in an English Language training program of study, you have the responsibility to talk with your Designated School Official to find out if your school is in compliance with the Accreditation Act. If your English Language training program of study is not in compliance with the Accreditation Act, it will consequently no longer be eligible to issue Forms I-20 for ESL or enroll nonimmigrant F-1 students. Students will be notified by U.S. mail and will have the following options:
- Finish your current session and transfer to another SEVP-certified institution’s ESL program of study that is in compliance with the Accreditation Act. Students will have 30 days after the end of their current session to transfer.
- Finish your current session and then leave the United States.
If you fail to transfer or leave the United States per the guidance above, your Form I-20 will be terminated. This may have implications on your ability to enter the United States in the future.
SEVP is still working on determining the accreditation of all its certified English language training programs. If you wish to continue a program of study, it is your responsibility to ensure that your chosen program of study is properly accredited.
If you have questions, you can call the SEVP Response Center at (703)603-3400. This number is staffed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday. At other times you may leave a message and an SEVP representative will return your call.
To learn more, visit the official announcement from SEVP.