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The Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program published new final policy guidance Friday on pathway programs, defined as programs that include a mix of remedial English language course work and credit-bearing classes for international students who are unable to meet English proficiency requirements for regular admission. The guidance states that SEVP must certify the pathway program before the institution can issue immigration documents to prospective students for the program, and that the petitioning institution offering the pathway program must be institutionally or programmatically accredited. SEVP-certified institutions with existing pathway programs have one year to comply with the new requirements.

The department also issued new interim final guidance Friday on procedures and requirements for unaccredited institutions that are seeking certification to admit international students. The interim guidance is open for public comment through Dec. 12.