Magazine article University Business

SEVIS Struggles Continue as Deadline Looms: Critics Say Tracking Program Not Ready for Primetime. (in the News)

Magazine article University Business

SEVIS Struggles Continue as Deadline Looms: Critics Say Tracking Program Not Ready for Primetime. (in the News)

Article excerpt

Although the Immigration and Naturalization Service's SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) plan has been on the drawing board since 1993, it took on a new urgency following last fall's terrorist attacks. Come January 1, 2003, every college and university will be required to supply detailed information on foreign students directly to an INS database.

Many universities, such as the California State University System, Dartmouth College, and Western Michigan University say they expect to meet that deadline, but implementation may still be further delayed because SEVIS itself is not yet fully developed. Critics of the system say that while they support efforts to account for the activity of foreign students, such an enormous undertaking--in so little time--is fraught with vulnerabilities and uncertainty. A recent article in The Dartmouth, for example, pointed out that some of the school's grad students are "on hold" for security clearance to enter the United States. One Dartmouth professor and one researcher have also faced similar troubles.

David Ward, president of the American Council on Educaton, says that although he supports the efforts to implement SEVIS as soon as possible, the January deadline is unrealistic. Testifying in late September on behalf of 76 education and exchange visitor organizations, Ward told a house subcommittee that administrators still don't know exactly what is required of them and need "at least a modest amount of time" to prepare. …

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