A Contrarian View on Japan

In international student outreach circles today, a preponderance of attention is devoted to China, India, Vietnam and Korea – and for good reason. Seasoned practitioners and newcomers to the field alike know that large and growing numbers of students from these countries are currently studying in the U.S. What’s more, shrinking budgets are forcing international recruitment professionals to adopt low cost, high impact strategies. Focusing on the aforementioned countries seems like a logical step.But what about Japan? While recruitment experimentation in unproven areas may be considered a comparably low Return On Investment proposition, Japan is anything but unproven. To be sure, we have witnessed a significant decline in Japanese student enrollments in the U.S. over the past 5-10 years:

Academic Year    Japanese students in the U.S.
2001-02         46,810
2002-03         45,960
2003-04         40,835
2004-05         42,215
2005-06         38,712
2006-07         35,282
2007-08         33,974
2008-09         29,264
2009-10         24,842
2010-11         21,290

Data from Open Doors: http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/International-Students/Leading-Places-of-Origin

However, in absolute terms Japan today is #7 on the Open Doors list of leading sending countries. And, it is #4 among both intensive English language programs and community colleges, respectively.

Savvy investors routinely boast of how their success derived from buying when others were selling (and refraining from doing the opposite.) Forgive the rough-edged metaphor, but could investing in Japan be effective, counterintuitive though it may feel?

Like any relationship worth having, partnerships with Japanese schools, agencies, and others – from Hokkaido to Kyushu – reveal their true value slowly, and over time. At Ohlone College we have taken the long view in Japan, and we’ve seen results. While modest in absolute terms, we are pleased with our Japanese student enrollment growth: about 2 dozen more Japanese students today than 5 years prior. What’s more, we see credible signs that this growth will continue.

A little more than a year ago a Tokyo-based colleague asked me if schools in the U.S. were giving up on Japan. Looking back on that now, the question pains me a bit, for 2 reasons: 1) I felt the answer in some cases might be yes; and 2) I don’t think it has to be.

Post authored by California ETEC Board Member- Eddie West,  Dean of Counseling and International Programs,  Ohlone College, Fremont, CA.


English Language Program Accreditation Requirements as of Summer 2012- F-1 Visa Students Beware

SEVIS issued an informational bulletin on April 20, 2012 that will have a dramatic impact on current and future F-1 visa students.     Student advisors and current and future international students need to be aware that beginning June 1st, 2012 many schools ( primarily private ESL schools) who currently issue I-20′s for ESL study in America may lose their right to host international students!  Please see the SEVP bulletin below.    If you have any questions as to whether your current of prospective school is legally allowed to enroll international students,  please contact the US Consulate in your host country or ETEC .

SEVP Notice-  April 20, 2012

English Language training programs of study (e.g. English as a second language (ESL) programs) should take note that a new law has taken effect. In accordance with the Accreditation of English Language Training Programs Act (Accreditation Act) all English Language training programs of study certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) must be accredited or have applied for accreditation before December 15, 2011, by a regional or national accrediting agency that is currently recognized by the Department of Education (ED). In accordance with the Accreditation Act, SEVP is examining two types of English Language training programs of study for compliance with the Accreditation Act. The first are stand-alone programs and the second are combined programs of study, which are programs of study affiliated with another SEVP-certified institution either through a contract or incorporated into the institution’s offered curriculum. Stand-alone English Language training programs of study SEVP is currently issuing Notices of Intent to Withdraw to stand-alone English Language training programs of study not in compliance with the Accreditation Act. A Notice of Intent to Withdraw is an official notification to the English Language training program that it must submit evidence, within 30 days of the date of service, that the English Language training program is in compliance with the Accreditation Act. English Language training programs that fail to submit adequate evidence of compliance will have their SEVP certification withdrawn and will not be eligible to enroll nonimmigrant students nor be able to issue Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” for English Language training programs of study. Combined English Language training programs of study Combined English Language training programs of study will receive an out of cycle review. An out of cycle review requires a school to submit evidence to SEVP within 30 days of service of the notice or be found to be out of compliance with SEVP requirements. Combined schools who cannot meet the evidence requirements of an out of cycle review will receive a corrective action plan from SEVP requesting the removal of their ESL program from the school’s Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” and will have to stop issuing Forms I-20 for their ESL program. Combined school who do not comply with the corrective action plan will receive a Notice of Intent to Withdraw and may subsequently have their SEVP certification withdrawn. Guidance for Students and School Officials On May 18, 2011, SEVP distributed a Broadcast Message informing the academic community about the Accreditation Act and its requirements. School officials have an ongoing responsibility to inform their nonimmigrant students about the Accreditation Act and its specific requirements. Nonimmigrant students currently enrolled in an ESL program of study whose certification is withdrawn, or whose school is no longer eligible to issue Forms I-20 for English Language training, will be notified via their current U.S. address listed on their Form I-20.Those students will have the following options: 1. Finish out their current session and transfer to another SEVP-certified institution’s ESL Depart the country after completion of the current session. For those nonimmigrant students who do not want to transfer, they will be required to depart the country within 30 days of the completion of their current session. Failure of a student to transfer or depart the country, per guidance above, will result in a termination of that student’s Form I-20. T