Clayton State University has received approval by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to continue hosting international students.
Clayton State Associate Director of International Student Services Brett M. Reichert was notified on Jan. 25, 2012 of the decision. The news comes as the end-result of a process called SEVIS recertification, which began on May 27, 2011, eight months ago.
Short for “Student Exchange and Visitor Information System,” SEVIS is an electronic data management tool designed for the Department of Homeland Security to collect, track and monitor information on international students and scholars in the United States. Individuals at user-campuses approved to access the system are called Designated School Officials, or DSO’s.
Reichert points out that it’s a system that was conceived in the late 1990’s, but gained little traction until the first terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993. Years later, in the aftermath of the “9/11” attacks, it was learned that one of the hijackers who crashed American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon had also exploited the student visa process, adds Reichert. That attacker had entered the country on a student visa to study but never showed up at campus. SEVIS was quickly digitized and rolled out nationwide by 2003 to address the absence of a timely, automated notification system.
Today, SEVIS recertification allows DHS to maintain a high level of data integrity regarding not only international students and scholars, but also regarding all campuses nationwide, approved to host them.
“Since Clayton State has grown, and added programs and locations since our initial SEVIS certification back in 2003, our re-certification petition was thoroughly reviewed,” says Reichert. “This is great news. Basically, DHS has given Clayton State a stamp of approval, which implies everything from our international application process, to international advising and reporting, to the programs and locations we offer today, are in good standing.”
SEVIS is run by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Last year, there were 15,539 international students enrolled in colleges and universities in the state of Georgia with an annual economic impact of nearly 430 million.