During its October 24, 2012 meeting the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) approved several specific recommendations that the Department of Homeland Security should implement in order to accommodate and support emerging trends in international education. The recommendations were presented to HSAAC by its International Student Subcommittee, on which NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene Johnson serves. Since HSAAC accepted the recommendations, they will go forward to Secretary Napolitano, who attended the meeting and thanked the Council for its prior set of recommendations.

The recommendations accepted by HSAAC on October 24, 2012 included:

  • Revise key DHS regulations and policy guidance that hinder student mobility and prohibit schools from offering innovative international education programs, including
    • Revise the "full course of study” requirement to allow schools to determine what constitutes a "full course of study"
    • Eliminate the restriction on online study
    • Develop guidance on "leaves of absence” from studies so that students are not penalized when they spend more than five months abroad, and develop SEVIS functionality to allow DSOs to reactivate a SEVIS record after a leave of absence
    • Allow international students to be eligible for CPT during their first academic year, and clarify the regulations and agency policy to facilitate CPT
    • Define "course of study" in the B visitor and Visa Waiver Program regulations to allow short-term education-related activities for Visitors (B-1/B-2 nonimmigrants and Visa Waiver Program entrants) and collaborate with the Department of State to clarify visa policy so that the Visitor classification may be used for brief education-related activities
  • Form a working group including stakeholders and DHS officials to consider additional changes to DHS regulations and policies
  • Encourage robust stakeholder engagement throughout all DHS components
  • Develop SEVIS II so that it facilitates rather than hinders international education
  • Streamline I-17 adjudications and refrain from implementing other adjudications that inhibit innovation

See the Subcommittee"s findings and full recommendations in the HSAAC member briefing materials (5mb Adobe PDF) on the HSAAC website.