On December 14, 2010, the president signed into law "An
Act to require the accreditation of English language training programs, and for
other purposes." [Pub.L. 111-306] The law amends section 101(a)(15)(F) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act to require that intensive language training
programs be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of
Education in order to be SEVIS-certified, issue Forms I-20, and enroll F-1
nonimmigrant students. The bill had been passed by the House on December 1,
2010 (HR 2361) and by the Senate on September 27, 2010 (S 1338).
will become effective on June 12, 2011 (i.e., 180 days after enactment), but
there are provisions that give nonaccredited intensive language training
programs that are already SEVIS-certified one year from date of enactment to
apply for accreditation by a Department of Education-recognized accrediting
agency. To allow time for the accreditation process to be completed, the law
will also permit F-1 students to enroll in such nonaccredited programs for
three years after enactment, provided the program has applied for accreditation
within one year from the date of enactment.
SEVP had verbally stated that
college or university-based intensive English programs (IEPs) that are governed
by a nationally or regionally accredited college or university would be
considered accredited under the law if the school's IEP offerings fall within
the scope of that school's accreditation, and would not be required to seek
independent accreditation, although they could choose to do so voluntarily.
IEPs that are physically located on an accredited school's premises but that
are not governed by that regionally accredited institution, as well as
independent IEPs, would be required to seek separate accreditation. However,
SEVP never developed implementing regulations for this statute, stating that
the statute was "self-implementing" without need for regulatory guidance.
Below is the text of Public Law 111-306.
To require the
accreditation of English language training programs, and for other
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Accreditation of English Language Training Programs.
(a) In General-
Section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)) is
(1) in paragraph (15)(F)(i), by striking "a language" and
inserting "an accredited language"; and
(2) by adding at the
end the following:
"(52) The term 'accredited language training
program' means a language training program that is accredited by an accrediting
agency recognized by the Secretary of Education.".
(1) IN GENERAL.- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the
amendments made by subsection (a) shall--
(A) take effect
on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act;
(B) apply with respect to applications for a
nonimmigrant visa under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)(i)) that are filed on or after the
effective date described in subparagraph (A).
(A) IN GENERAL.- Notwithstanding
section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by
subsection (a), during the 3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment
of this Act, an alien seeking to enter the United States to pursue a course of
study at a language training program that has been certified by the Secretary
of Homeland Security and has not been accredited or denied accreditation by an
entity described in section 101(a)(52) of such Act may be granted a
nonimmigrant visa under such section 101(a)(15)(F)(i).
(B) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT.- An alien may not be granted a nonimmigrant
visa under subparagraph (A) if the sponsoring institution of the language
training program to which the alien seeks to enroll does not--
(i) submit an application for the accreditation of such program
to a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary of
Education within 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act; and
(ii) comply with the applicable accrediting
requirements of such agency.
December 14, 2010.