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EDUCATION REPORT - October 24, 2002: Foreign Student Series #6: New Security System - 2002-10-23

This is the VOA Special English EDUCATION REPORT.

We continue our series of reports about how foreign students can attend a college or university in the United States. This report is on the Special English Internet Web site, w-w-w dot voaspecialenglish dot com.

Last week, the Education Report discussed changes in the government rules for getting legal permission to enter the United States to study. Today, we tell about ways the government plans to follow foreign students inside the country.

One way is by using a new computer security system called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. All schools will enter information about their foreign students into this computer network. The SEVIS system will go into effect on January thirtieth, two-thousand-three.

SEVIS will link about seventy-four-thousand American colleges, universities and technical schools to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It will give the I-N-S and the Justice Department detailed information about each student. The government will be able to tell if the student is attending classes or if the student leaves school. The government will also use the system to let the schools know that a student has entered the country. The new rules require schools to tell the I-N-S within thirty days if the student is attending classes.

SEVIS is one of a number of ways that government officials are getting more control over foreign students. Earlier this year, officials said they may not approve requests from foreigners who want to study some kinds of science or technology subjects. These include subjects that could provide knowledge about how to make dangerous weapons. And the Justice Department has begun a new system to follow foreign visitors entering and leaving the country.

The program involves fingerprinting a small percentage of foreign visitors. The fingerprints will be studied to see if they are the same as those of known criminals or terrorists. The fingerprinted visitors also must tell the government from time to time where they are living and what they are doing in the United States. They must also let officials know when they leave the country.

Information about SEVIS can be found on the I-N-S Web site. The address is w-w-w dot i-n-s dot g-o-v. Then go to SEVIS Resources or Special Registration.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach.