Which U.S. agency approves foreign exchange student educational programs?

The U.S. Information Agency is responsible for approving and overseeing participating foreign exchange student programs. Different types of educational programs are available. A school may qualify or choose to participate in more than one exchange program. Each program has its own set of participation requirements and fees and each generally requires the completion of an application that outlines the school’s plan for an educational program. Once they are approved, they may then begin screening applications from non-immigrant students. 

School Compliance with the Exchange Student Program

The school must maintain compliance with the education program they choose. Non-compliance with program rules can result in the school being placed on probation. If the school continues to be non-compliant, their authorization to participate in the program can be withdrawn. If the school you are attending loses their authorization, then your student visa will also expire. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to transfer your student visa to another educational institution. If you are concerned that the school you are attending is engaging in abusive practices or is not following program guidelines, you can report the abuses to the agency for corrective action.

Admission to a College or University is Key

Although these educational programs are overseen by a government agency, the initial decision of whether to admit you into the university is still up to the school you want to attend. Essentially, it is a dual process: one part is for admission to the school and the second part is for admission into the United States. Each school has its own set of admission guidelines. Usually, a school will have an admissions counselor or foreign student advisor that can assist you in reviewing the admission requirements and procedures. After the completion of this step, the school then provides you the form to apply for a student visa. This form is completed and submitted to the U.S. embassy or consulate office in your native country. The Department of State, through the embassy, will make the final decision on whether you should be allowed admission and granted a student visa.