Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

District complies with 9-11 law

Schools must provide information on foreign exchange students

August 2, 2003


Universities aren't the only institutions dealing with stricter government regulations on international students after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Lawrence public school officials said they met a Friday deadline for submitting information on foreign exchange students planning to study this fall in Lawrence.

"I can tell that the government is very serious about who is in the country," said Donna McCullough, director of international student services for the Lawrence school district.

Like universities, secondary schools are required to submit names of students and personal information such as their home countries and passport numbers to the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, or SEVIS, a national database.

McCullough said she had devoted the past six weeks to complying with the federal mandate.

In the end, the list wasn't long for Lawrence. Only one student will be here on an F-1 visa, which is an academic visa. The school district is responsible for reporting that student's information.

The rest of the students enter the country on a J-1 visa, which is a visa for exchange visitors for the primary purpose of studying at an academic institution. Their sponsors are responsible for submitting their information to SEVIS.

In the months leading up to Friday's deadline, McCullough said the Homeland Security Department constantly reminded districts of the requirement.

"We are always getting reminders and alerts reminding the district about the deadline," McCullough said.

According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as of Tuesday, 5,937 U.S schools had complied with the deadline. Nearly 600 schools had yet to file their applications.

Two of the Sept. 11 terrorists entered the United States on student visas, though neither of them was going to school.

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