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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #6: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - 2004-10-06

Broadcast: October 7, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Last week we discussed rules for getting permission to enter the United States to study at a college or university. Now, in part six of our Foreign Student Series, we discuss the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This computer system is known as SEVIS. It went into effect in January of two thousand three.

All schools must enter information when they admit a foreign student. SEVIS brings together about seventy-four thousand [correction: seven thousand three hundred] American colleges, universities and technical schools. It links them to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service.

The government uses the system to let a school know when a student has entered the country. The school must report within thirty days if the student is attending classes. The school must also report if the student leaves school.

The Department of Homeland Security says SEVIS now lists about seven hundred seventy thousand students and exchange visitors. Family members who traveled with them are also listed.

On September first, the United States began to charge each student and exchange visitor one hundred dollars to help pay for the system. The money will also help pay for a new SEVIS Web site that is being developed. The site will permit student and exchange visitors to examine their SEVIS information and payment record online.

Information about SEVIS can be found on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site: And you can find our Foreign Student Series at

Finally, we want to add to our report two weeks ago about online programs. One example we gave is the largest university in the country to operate for profit, the University of Phoenix.

Last month, its owner, the Apollo Group, announced settlement agreements with the Department of Education. In one case, the company agreed to pay a fine of nearly ten million dollars.

Investigators say the University of Phoenix used unacceptable sales methods to pressure employees to sign up students. Employees reportedly admitted some students who were unprepared.

The settlement involved no admission of wrongdoing. Other profit-making higher education companies have also been under investigation.

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