DSO and RO Training in SETA

The SEVP External Training Application (SETA) offers the following courses. While highly suggested, they are not yet mandatory.

SEVP

  • SEVP Basics. This course provides an overview of SEVP, SEVIS, and the management of nonimmigrant students.
  • SEVP 101. The history and roles of SEVP and SEVIS in monitoring nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and institutions certified or designated to host them.
  • Intro to Initial SEVP Certification. An overview of federal regulation 8 CFR 214.3, which governs SEVP school certification requirements and outlines ongoing duties for certified schools.
  • Maintaining School Records and the Form I-17 Petition. This course gives an overview of federal regulation 8 CFR 214.3, rules for maintaining school records and the Form I-17 petition.

EVP

  • EVP 101. This course presents an overview of the EVP, the categories and the responsibilities of the Private Sector Exchange offices.
  • Managing your Designated Program. Introduces best practices for managing your exchange visitor program, redesignation, Pay.gov requirements, program updates and sponsor requirements, and annual reports.
  • Managing Exchange Visitor Records. This course introduces best practices for managing your exchange visitor records.

Background

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program announced that on November 20, 2019 it launched the SEVP External Training Application (SETA), with four courses. A June 2017 SEVIS Privacy Impact Assessment Update described SETA as "a new learning management tool that provides training to SEVP stakeholders, including Federal Government officials, school and program officials, and F/M/J nonimmigrants. SETA provides a single location to access training courses on a variety of topics, including information related to the SEVP program, SEVP and DoS regulations, requirements for school certification and exchange visitor program designation, and practical training, including OPT, for F nonimmigrant students."

SEVP intends for SETA to replace its current Designated School Official (DSO) Online Training, which has been in use for over a decade. For review, you can access the current SEVP Online DSO Training outline on the ICE website. At this point, SEVP training is voluntary for DSOs, and will continue to be so after SETA launches. However, the March 19, 2019 report published by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that DHS "further enhance controls over schools and school employees to help mitigate fraud." Two specific GAO recommendations related to eventual mandatory DSO training:

Recommendation 6. The Director of ICE should implement mandatory DSO training and verify that the training is completed. SEVP concurred. SEVP's response to this GAO recommendation:

"Concur. ICE SEVP is working towards implementing mandatory DSO training and tracking compliance. SEVP currently has a contract in place whose primary function is to develop training needed for SEVP. The contract will be modified to include the requirement of developing an advanced DSO training course. The target award date for the contract is March 31, 2019. The SEVP School Certification Unit (SCU) and Systems Management Unit (SMU) will work together with the contractor to guide the development of this training course with the goal of implementing the course by March 31, 2020. SEVP SMU and SCU will work with the SEVP Strategic Communications Team (SCT) to develop a communications plan that will be distributed to the academic community. ECD: March 31, 2020."

Recommendation 7. The Director of ICE should complete the development and implementation of its plans for mandatory fraud-specific training for DSOs. SEVP concurred. SEVP's response to this GAO recommendation:

"Concur. ICE SEVP will develop and implement a mandatory fraud-specific training course for DSOs. SEVP currently has a contract in place whose primary function is to develop training needed for SEVP. SEVP is currently modifying this contract to include the creation of an advanced fraud-specific training course and anticipates making an award by March 31, 2019. SEVP SCU and SMU are currently working together with the contractor to guide the development of this training course. This new training course will explain the importance of accurate and timely reporting of data. Closer to implementation, SEVP SMU and SCU will work with the SCT to develop a communications plan for the academic community. ECD: October 31, 2019."

Along the same line, the Spring 2018 regulatory agenda had contained this item as a long-term regulatory action: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to improve the capability of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to oversee designated school officials (DSOs) at schools certified to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students. To improve program oversight, DHS plans to institute new eligibility and training requirements for DSOs." This item no longer appears either as a current or long-term action in the current regulatory agenda, however.

Resources

SEVP's SETA announcement clarifies:

"At this time, completion of the first four courses available in SETA is not mandatory. Current and prospective school and sponsor officials are encouraged to take this training to boost understanding of the rules and regulations governing SEVP and EVP. SEVP expects to continually evolve the application and intends to add additional courses as part of an ongoing effort to educate and train school and sponsor officials.

To access SETA, please use this link to access the SETA login page and refer to the SETA Account Creation User Guide to create an account. For additional questions, please refer to the SETA Launch Frequently Asked Questions also available on the SETA resource page on Study in the States. 

For issues related to accessing SETA, please email [email protected]. The SEVP Response Center will also direct all emails and calls to this email."

Other Resources