The Case For Extending Interview Waivers For Some Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants
The US Dept. of State believes that the use of waivers has contributed to the decline in wait times and would like to see this policy made permanent. We recognize that a small percentage of our students qualify for a waiver but, every little bit helps!
The exceedingly long wait times for consular interviews have been a headlining issue for years: business visitors have postponed travel, and conferences have been relocated to accommodate visa setbacks. However, the extension of the interview waiver program seems to have played a significant role in improving those wait times.
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Hopeful Despite Headwinds: A Survey of Presidents
There has been mixed reporting on the current state of US higher education. This article from Inside Higher ED summarizes a 2023 survey of College and University Presidents. The survey included 442 presidents from public, private nonprofit and for-profit institutions, for a margin of error of 4.24 percent. A copy of the free report can be downloaded here.
Many of the headline findings from the survey, the 13th annual iteration, show campus leaders to be quite optimistic about the state of their institutions and of higher education as a whole. Almost eight in 10 respondents agree (31 percent strongly) that their institution will be financially stable over the next decade. Presidents are twice as likely to say their institution will be better off next year than it is now (58 percent) as to say they expect next year to be worse (26 percent). Only one in five is worried about the rate of faculty and staff turnover, and more than two-thirds agree that their institution has the capacity to meet the mental health needs of undergraduate students.
Get the full story on Inside Higher Ed >
Update on the Department of Education’s Third-Party Servicer Guidance
Some of you may or may not be aware of this Dear Colleague Letter issued by the US Dept. of Education in February. The guidance was issued to create improved oversight of Third Party Service Providers(TPS) in relation to Title IV funds (federal funding). Unfortunately, the guidance wasn’t completely clear on which TPS were to be included. There was some concern that it would impact study-abroad contracts and that relationships with international recruiters could be in jeopardy. Early on, the legal team at Shorelight analyzed the issue and concluded that the expanded definition of Third Party Servicer does not apply to businesses, such as Shorelight, that work with non-TIV international students. We are pleased to see that DOE has issued an update that clearly supports our conclusion.
“Here is what we want everyone to know. The Department does not consider contracts involving the following activities to constitute third-party servicer relationships: study abroad programmes [and] recruitment of foreign students not eligible for [federal financial aid programmes].”