We can provide your private school with all the support you need to enroll students and place them in safe, loving homes.
You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!
Is Passport Scholars fully compliant?
Passport Scholars Inc. is a corporation incorporated in the State of California. In order to comply with the law regarding the placement of international students, the corporation is registered with the Attorney General of California. Every firm operating in California must renew their registration at the beginning of the new calendar year.
The Attorney General’s office has approved our application for the 2016 calendar year and has verified that our business is fully compliant with the law and is qualified to place international students in schools and homes.
You can read the full text of the law here.
How can our school become compliant?
If your school is not already a Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) Certified school and set up with an account with the online Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), you will need to complete that before being eligible to accept incoming international students.
Passport Scholars provides support to schools who need guidance through this process.
What is SEVP certification?
As stated on the ice.gov website,
SEVP Certification is the process schools go through to receive authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enroll F and/or M nonimmigrants. Within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), SEVP reviews schools that desire to enroll nonimmigrant students to determine denial or approval of certification. Note: Certification does not pertain to J-1 exchange visitor programs, which the Department of State designates to enroll J-1 nonimmigrants as exchange visitors.
How much does SEVP certification cost?
As stated on the ice.gov website,
The basic fee to apply for SEVP certification is $1700, to cover cost of review of the petition, and $655 to conduct the mandatory site visit. In addition, the $655 cost of the site visit must be paid for each additional school or instructional site listed on the Form I-17B.
What is SEVIS, and why do we need it?
As stated on the ice.gov website,
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and the F and M students who come to the United States to attend those schools. It is a critical tool in our mission to protect national security while supporting the legal entry of the more than one million F, M, and J nonimmigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange.
What is a Designated School Offical, and what do they do?
Designated school officials (DSOs) are dedicated school employees that assist and oversee enrolled international students with F-1 Visas. Federal law requires each school to have its own DSO, and that person must update and maintain records of each international student in SEVIS, an online system used by the federal government.
For more information, visit this page on the Study in the States website.
How are F-1 and J-1 Visas Different?
Students with F-1 Visas are typically referred to as international students. They are allowed to attend school in the U.S. for as many years as they wish, as long as they’re enrolled in an accredited educational institution or program and can provide evidence of having sufficient funds to pay for their education and living expenses. Students who come to the United States using J-1 Visas are usually referred to as cultural exchange students. They are allowed to attend school in the United States for a maximum of one year.
Passport Scholars currently only recruits and places students who come to the U.S. with F-1 Visas.
Homestays, Health, and Safety
How are homestay families screened?
Passport Scholars thoroughly screens each and every homestay family prior to placing students in their homes in order to ensure a safe, nurturing environment for the student. Our screening process includes a detailed online application, found here, criminal background check conducted by an expert third party company which includes results from local, statewide, and federal databases, reference checks and an in-person interview and walkthrough of the family’s home.
How are homestay families compensated?
Homestay families are paid a stipend to cover the costs of having international student(s) living in their home. The money paid to the homestay families comes from the fees we charge the natural parents of the international student and are not paid by the school.
Who handles student health insurance?
We work with a premier health insurance company that has years of experience in dealing specifically with health insurance for K-12 students at private schools. They help us ensure each student meets the federal and state insurance requirements for international students studying in the United States.
How are immunizations handled?
We recognize that immunization requirements vary from state to state. As a result, we make all potential students aware of these requirements during their application process. Students are required to meet the standards for immunization for the state they will live in before they travel to the United States.
How is conflict resolution handled?
It is our goal for every stakeholder to have only positive experiences. However, we recognize that challenges may arise from time to time and there may be a need for conflict resolution. We are committed to being involved whenever needed to facilitate conflict resolution. This applies to challenges between students and school faculty members, other students, or their homestay family members.
What happens in the event of an emergency?
In the event of a serious or even life-threatening emergency, local emergency services must be contacted by dialing 911. In addition, Passport Scholars must be notified immediately so an officer or employee of the company can be aware of the situation and relay necessary information to the student’s natural parents and their homestay family.
School faculty, homestay families, and students are given a dedicated emergency phone number that can be dialed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—even on holidays. A trained live operator located in the United States will answer the phone and connect you to the appropriate Passport Scholars personnel.
Who has guardianship of the students?
Passport Scholars assumes the responsibility and liability for international students while they are in the United States. Some of the documents we secure before students arrive include:
- Power of Attorney
- Legal guardianship and custody
- Medical liability release
Working with Us
What services do you provide?
Passport Scholars offers all the services U.S. private schools need to find, recruit, and successfully place international students.
- Design and Marketing
- Student Recruitment
- School Certification Assistance
- Program Development
- Homestay Placement
- Admissions Support
- Community Orientation
- Ongoing Support
For more details, visit our School Services page.
Why should we work with you?
That is a great question! In fact, it’s such a great question we created an entire page dedicated to answering it.
See our answers on the Why Partner with Us? page.
How much does partnership cost?
The short answer is… nothing! There are no direct costs to any of the Partner Schools who work with us. All costs for tuition and housing are incurred by the natural parents of the international student. Each school is free to set their own tuition rates for international students, while housing rates are set and managed by Passport Scholars.
Our school already works with a firm. Can we still work with you?
Absolutely! If you already work with a firm that places students at your school and/or manages your homestay program, we are still happy to work with your school.
When ready, please contact us so we can discuss the specifics of who is responsible for what.
What countries do students come from?
While many firms only focus on China, we pride ourselves in recruiting students from a wider pool of ethnicities and backgrounds. Our students come from all over Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
How proficient in English are the students?
English proficiency varies from student to student. As part of the application process, we collect the original, sealed test scores from the students. In addition to taking the test, potential students are required to undergo a video interview in English using Skype or an equivalent (e.g. Google+ Hangouts). Our partner schools get to set their own specific requirements for test scores.
We recognize that language proficiency requirements will differ from school to school and because of that, we will ensure to only place those students who will be a good fit for your school. We fully understand each school has varying resources regarding teaching English as a second language and we’re committed to working with you to establish language proficiency standards appropriate for your school.
Where do students go after high school?
The ultimate goal most parents and students have is to be accepted into an American university. As such, the majority of the students who attend your school will go on to continue their education in a post-secondary institution in the United States.
If your school is affiliated with a particular religion or denomination that operates colleges and universities, you are more than welcome to encourage your graduating international students to consider those institutions.
Take the Next Step
Partner with us to run a successful international education and homestay program at your U.S. private school.
Still have questions that need clarification? Give us a call at +1 (619) 722-9303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.