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Pathway Programs

Background

SEVP stakeholders continue to express interest in further clarification from SEVP on guidance for pathway programs.

Government Response

SEVP issued final guidance on pathway programs, conditional admission and English proficiency on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to stakeholders in fall of 2016. These final guidance documents correspond with new functionality in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that allow designated school officials (DSOs) to properly capture the type of program a student is engaged in as well as English language proficiency requirements.

SEVP disseminated news about the release of the pathway programs guidance through Study in the States and conference presentations. SEVP will continue to provide information and address stakeholder questions related to these guidance documents through conference presentations and meetings with officials representing English language training programs (e.g., Intensive English Programs and English as a Second Language organizations).

In 2016, SEVP attended 10 English language training-focused conferences and events, including events hosted by major stakeholder organizations and accrediting bodies. During these events, program representatives provided updates on the pathway programs guidance development process, discussed the effect of final policy guidance on DSOs and addressed questions related to the guidance documents.

In 2014, SEVP released draft guidance on pathway programs. The pathway programs draft guidance series incorporate stakeholder feedback from the original 2013 draft guidance on bridge programs and conditional admission. SEVP will continue to engage in an active dialogue with stakeholders regarding these guidance documents and encourages stakeholders to provide feedback on these documents to SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.

Timeline

The timeline below illustrates the steps taken to communicate SEVP's progress to date. 

2013
May 2013

SEVP releases Draft Policy Guidance for Adjudicators 1210-03: Bridge Programs and Conditional Admission for public comment. The guidance receives 91 public comments.

2014
July 2014

SEVP releases two draft policy guidance documents focusing on English proficiency and conditional admission. The policy guidance documents receive 65 comments.

September 2014

SEVP releases draft policy guidance focusing on pathway programs. The policy guidance receives 35 comments.

2016
July 2016

SEVP releases two final policy guidance documents for federal adjudicators for Conditional Admission and the Form I-20 and English Proficiency Field. These coincide with changes made in SEVIS Release 6.27.

October 2016

SEVP releases final guidance on Pathway Programs for Reasons of English Proficiency. This final guidance includes a SEVIS fact sheet that explains how to input a pathway program into a school’s Form I-17 and properly issue a Form I-20 for a pathway program.