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Use the Study in the States glossary to define key terms throughout the F and M student process in the United States. If you are a current or prospective student, select “students” to see terms that specifically relate to you—from visas, to forms, benefits, and more. School officials should select “schools” to find more information on certification, responsibilities, and how to help their F and M students. You can also sort terms by selecting the letter of the alphabet a term begins with.

M-1 Status

A visa status for nonimmigrant students eligible to enroll in vocational or technical training programs including those at community or junior colleges, vocational high schools, or a school that provides vocational or nonacademic training other than language training.

M-2 Status

Nonimmigrant visa status required for dependents (spouse or minor children) of M-1 students to enter the United States.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

A course of study available on the internet with open enrollment and unlimited participation, usually given without charge and without course credit.

Master's Degree

A graduate degree that requires the successful completion of the full-time equivalent of one but not more than two academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree.

Material Change

A significant change in SEVIS school information, sufficient to alter the legal meaning of the Form I-17 (i.e., bona fides for SEVP-certification). A material change includes all of the following:

  • From 8 CFR 214.3(h)(3)(i) Out-of-cycle review and oversight of SEVP-certified schools.

(A) Approval for attendance of students (F/M/both);
(B) Name of school system; name of main campus;
(C) Mailing address of the school;
(D) Location of the school;
(E) School type;
(F) Public/private school indicator;
(G) Private school owner name;
(H) The school is engaged in;
(I) The school operates under the following Federal, State, Local or other authorization;
(J) The school has been approved by the following national, regional, or state accrediting association or agency;
(K) Areas of study;
(L) Degrees available from the school;
(M) If the school is engaged in elementary or secondary education;
(N) If the school is engaged in higher education;
(O) If the school is engaged in vocational or technical education;
(P) If the school is engaged in English language training;
(Q) Adding or deleting campuses;
(R) Campus name;
(S) Campus mailing address; and
(T) Campus location address. 

  • Any addition or deletion of a designated school official (DSO), including principal designated school official.
  • Any change to an SEVP-certified school’s average annual number of classes, students, teachers, or instructors and non-teaching employees.


Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI)

Please note, the Department of Defense is revising its MAVNI implementation plan for FY 17 and is currently not accepting MAVNI applications for FY 17. After its implementation plan is completed and approved, the U.S. Army will begin processing new applicants for FY 2017 who meet MAVNI program eligibility requirements for enlistment. For more information, please visit

A program that allows certain non-citizens who are legally present in the United States to join the U.S. military and apply immediately for U.S. citizenship without first obtaining lawful permanent residence. The program is only available to legal aliens holding critical skills—physicians, nurses and experts in certain languages with associated cultural backgrounds.