Joint AAIEP & UCIEP Response to SEVP
AAIEP, together with its sister organization, UCIEP, has released a joint position response on the SEVP's April 20 Broadcasted Memo, "Guidance Regarding the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs."
To view and/or download the join statement as a PDF file, please click here.
Response to SEVP’s April 20 Broadcasted Memo, “Guidance Regarding the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs
The American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and the Consortium of University & College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP) urge the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to clarify the broadcasted memo that was sent to all SEVIS users on April 20, 2012 under “Guidance Regarding the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs”. The guidance created a lot of confusion among the community of Intensive English Program (IEPs). Even though the memo cites part of the accreditation bill as follows: “In accordance with the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act (Accreditation Act) all English Language training programs of study certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) must be accredited or have applied for accreditation before December 15, 2011, by a regional or national accrediting agency that is currently recognized by the Department of Education (ED)”, at the same time it asks programs “to submit adequate evidence of compliance” in order to remain able to issue Forms I20 for their English Language training programs.
Clarification Needed Regarding Combined English Language Training Program Requirements
The memo clearly addresses stand-alone English Language training programs of study; these programs should be individually accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), or by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).
What is unclear in the memo is the wording related to “Combined English Language training programs of study.” It is widely understood that these programs are under the governance of an institution, e.g. university or college, which has been accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education. The fact that the memo does not specify what evidence these programs must submit in order not to be withdrawn from SEVP adds to the confusion. A Combined English Language Training program that submits evidence of being under the umbrella of a college or university accredited by a regional agency recognized by the US DOE should not be asked for any additional documentation to prove that it abides by the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act.
Intent of the Accreditation Law
When AAIEP and UCIEP lobbied together for the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs which became law on December 14, 2010 the intention was to hold accountable unaccredited stand-alone Intensive English Programs ( IEPs) and not those under the governance of a university or college that have been accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education, as stated on your SEVP Guidance on IEP Accreditation Law sent on May 18, 2011, which in part cited the following excerpt taken from the law “ On December 14, 2010, President Obama signed the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act, Pub. L. No. 111-306, 124 Stat. 3280 (2010) (Pub. L. 111-306), which requires any English language training program seeking to enroll F-1 nonimmigrant students to receive accreditation by a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary of the Department of Education”. The goal of the law is to ensure that international students study in educationally legitimate programs that adhere to US immigration regulations and to raise the standards of English language schools. IEP students taking classes at a Combined English Language training program under the umbrella of a school with regional accreditation are studying in an educationally legitimate program.
University-Governed IEPs Accredited Through Their Universities
US government agencies along with regional higher education accrediting bodies recognize that Intensive English Programs are accredited through their universities. For example:
- The US Department of Commerce in its call for participation in an upcoming Education Trade Mission to Brazil, is focusing on Intensive English Programs, which, “should be part of a U.S. college or university and accredited through them.”
- The Middle States Commission on Higher Education states that in its best practices for review and accreditation of its members, it “considers a program or programs of study at an institution, including its administration and financing, not on the basis of a single predetermined pattern, but directly in relationship to the mission, operation, and goals of the entire [emphasis added] institution.”
Clarifying your broadcasted memo will simply assure all of us involved that you are adhering to the spirit and content of the law.
Respectfully submitted May 17, 2012,
Maureen Burke, Board of Directors, Advocacy, UCIEP
Patricia Juza, Vice President-Elect for Advocacy of AAIEP
Mathelda Molina, Vice President for Advocacy of AAIEP
Margot Valdivia, Board of Directors, Advocacy, UCIEP