The Forum Advocates for Education Abroad
August 7, 2014
Analysis of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act
Through its collaboration with the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), The Forum is pleased to make available a resource that offers analysis of the proposed Campus Accountability and Safety Act and may be accessed in the Standards Toolbox. Very recently, Senators McCaskill (D-MO), Gillibrand (D-NY), Heller (R-NV), Blumenthal (D-CT), Grassley (R-IA), Ayotte (R-NH), Warner (D-VA) and Rubio (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to address the issue of sexual violence on campus. This bill is not yet law; if it passes, it likely will undergo some significant changes. Still, its introduction is important, and this resource offers a prompt review and analysis of the bill.
July 24, 2014
Guidance on the Violence Against Women Act
The amendments to the Violence Against Women Act make changes to Clery Act compliance. Some of these changes are minor (adding gender identity and national origin to hate crime reporting or ensuring victims are never identified in Timely Warnings) while others are complex (the myriad training, programming and campaign requirements). Compliance with these laws requires an institution-wide effort and support from college leadership.
Through its collaboration with the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), the Forum is pleased to make available a resource that offers assistance for institutions seeking to prepare for the changes required by the 2013 amendments to the Violence Against Women Act and its regulations. The resource, “Policy and Programming Changes Pursuant to the Campus SaVE Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act,” may be accessed in the Standards Toolbox. While this guidance is meant to be used by State University of New York (SUNY) institutions, it may serve other institutions as well. Non-SUNY readers are encouraged to consult with their college legal counsels as the contents of this guidance do not constitute legal advice.
March 13, 2014
The Forum Assists Minnesota Study Abroad Professionals
At the invitation of an ad hoc working group of the Minnesota Study Abroad Professionals (MSAP), Forum President and CEO Brian Whalen traveled to Saint Paul to join several Minnesota education abroad colleagues to meet with State legislators drafting a bill related to education abroad. The State Senators intend to introduce legislation that would require Minnesota colleges and universities to provide reports on incidents related to student health and safety abroad. According to Whalen, “It was important for the Forum to be present at the meeting to help to explain the Standards of Good Practice, provide input on the draft legislation, and support the goals of our Minnesota institutional members.” Whalen added that “the Forum will continue to work closely to support its Minnesota institutional members so that any legislation that is enacted is both reasonable and consistent with the goals of our members.”
Jodi Malmgren, co-chair of the MSAP working group, commented: “We are so appreciative that Brian was able to join our meeting with the State legislators. As the Standards setting organization for the field of Education Abroad, the Forum lends weight to our communication about the health and safety standards in our field. The legislators were responsive to Brian’s explanation of Standard 8 and to his offer to share the Forum Critical Incident Database as part of the reporting on health and safety incidents proposed in the legislation.” Ann Hubbard of AIFS Study Abroad serves as the other co-chair of this working group; also present at the State Capitol were representatives from the Minnesota State College and University system, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Private College Council.
If any Forum members would like to discuss the draft legislation or its potential impact, contact Brian Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-245-1445.
Higher Education Act Title VI-International Education Reauthorization Statement
The Forum joined other members of the Coalition for International Education in signing a Title VI Reauthorization Statement which was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce on August 2, 2013, in response to the Committee's invitation to submit suggestions. The statement outlines the historical importance of Title VI, why international and foreign language education are critical to national interest, makes recommendations for the reauthorization, and provides the rationale behind each recommendation. Forum members may log in to read the statement.
Proposed Federal Funding Cuts: Title VI and Fulbright-Hays
The Forum joined other members of the Coalition for International Education in signing joint letters to the House and Senate concerning the proposed 44% cut to Title VI and Fulbright-Hayes Programs for FY 2014. The Coalition is urging Congress to begin restoring Title VI and Fulbright-Hays by providing robust funding in FY 2014. Members may log in to read the letters.
Congressional Support for International Education and Foreign Language Studies
The Forum encourages its members to contact their congressmen in support of restoring funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s International Education and Foreign Language Studies programs. Please urge House Members to submit their requests for funding in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill for FY 2014 to Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA) by April 22.
Please urge Senators to submit their requests for funding in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill for FY 2014 to Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (I-IA) by April 26.
Suggested Message to Congressmen:
“Please support the Department of Education's FY 2014 budget proposal for HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays: 'International Education and Foreign Language Studies' of $80.938 million in your request to the House (or Senate) Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations this year. These programs have sustained a disproportionate 44% reduction since FY 2011. A gradual restoration of funding in FY 2014 is critical because the nation’s premier Title VI language, area, and international business national resource centers and fellowships will compete for the next cycle of 4-year grants. Additional funding will help safeguard the infrastructure that serves as the cornerstone of our nation's international knowledge and expertise, important to our national security and economic competitiveness, as well as increasing the global competencies of all students.”
2013 Violence Against Women Act and Changes to the Clery Act and Title IX Compliance
NACUA has provided an analysis of the Violence Against Women Act and changes to the Clery Act and Title IX compliance, which discusses the law and its impact on colleges and universities, and catalogs and analyzes each relevant change in the legislation. Forum member institutions may access this resource by visiting the Standards Toolbox here.
Defining the Credit Hour for Title IV Federal Financial Aid Purposes
The Forum has a new resource available to its members explaining how the 2012-12 Federal Student Aid Handbook defines the credit hour, and how this new definition might potentially affect the awarding of federal aid to students participating in education abroad programs. The document also offers guidance on how to address concerns, should questions about study abroad credit be directed to your office. Forum member institutions may access these resources by visiting the Standards Toolbox here.
Federal Disability Laws and Study Abroad
The Forum has a new resource available to its members that offers guidance on applying U.S. federal disability laws to study abroad programs. Through its cooperation with the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), the Forum has placed the following NACUANOTE in the Standards Toolbox: “Federal Disability Laws: Do They Translate To Study Abroad Programs?” The Note addresses the current state of federal disability discrimination law with respect to college and university study abroad programs, suggests best practices, and provides additional resources. In addition, there are several other examples of best practices from Forum member institutions in the Toolbox. Forum member institutions may access these resources by visiting the Standards Toolbox here.
Using Title IV Federal Financial Aid for Study Abroad
In response to member requests, the Forum has developed a new resource that provides clear information regarding the use of Title IV Federal Financial Aid for study abroad, including results of a small survey of colleges, universities and education abroad program providers. The resource includes a review of the Title IV regulations, common interpretations of the regulation and how institutions and organizations act on these interpretations, and guidance and advice. To access this important resource, visit the member resources section of the Forum web site.
March 8, 2012
Clarifying Clery: Important Resource Now Available to Forum Members
Through an active and productive collaboration with NACUA (The National Association of College and University Attorneys) Forum members now have access to the most recent NACUA Note on Clery Act implications for our field. This NACUA Note, “The Clery Act and Overseas/Distance Study: New Developments and Compliance Guidance,” was written by Joseph Storch, co-facilitator of the Forum/NACUA workshop, Implications of the New Clery Handbook - What Does it Mean for Education Abroad? This important resource provides Forum members with significant assistance in launching a discussion within their organizations regarding the implications for education abroad of the new Clery Handbook. This latest NACUA Note can be found in the Standards Toolbox: NACUA Note.
January 18, 2012
Using Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits for Study Abroad
In response to requests from members, the Forum has researched the use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for study abroad. Members may access the report and read the Forum’s “Guidelines for the Implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in Study Abroad” here: Using Post-9/11 GI Benefits for Study Abroad
January 18, 2012
Update: The Impact of the New U.S. Federal Financial Aid Regulations on Study Abroad
The Forum has researched the new U.S. Financial Aid Regulations and their potential impact, and has issued a memo to assist Forum members who are impacted by the new regulations or may simply want to learn more about the issue. Recently, the Forum conducted a survey of members that are education abroad program providers or Australian universities to learn more about the impact of and responses to the new regulations. The results of the survey may be found here: Update: The Impact of the New U.S. Federal Financial Aid Regulations on Study Abroad
January 18, 2012
The Forum has been working with a number of its members that have applied for licenses to develop and implement academic programming in Cuba. Unfortunately, as many as 10 or more education abroad program provider organizations have applied for licenses to develop programs in Cuba, but have heard little or nothing about their applications. Some organizations applied almost as long as one year ago. The Forum has been in contact with officials at the Departments of State and treasury to advocate on behalf of its members that have applied for licenses. Read the latest communication from the Forum here: Update: Cuba
October 4, 2011
New U.S. Federal Financial Aid Regulations Impact Study Abroad
Changes to the U.S. Financial Aid Regulations have had an impact on some study abroad programs and students, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. The Forum has researched the new regulations and their potential impact, and has issued a memo to assist Forum members who are impacted by the new regulations or may simply want to learn more about the issue. Forum institutional members may access the memo in the Forum’s Standards Toolbox here: Memo to Forum Members on Changes to U.S. Federal Financial Aid Regulations and the Impact on Study Abroad
September 8, 2011
Forum Successfully Aids Advocates for Changes to Spanish Student Visa Requirements
Mr. Oscar Berdugo, President of EDUESPANA, has informed the Forum that Spanish Consulates in the U.S. will no longer require an FBI background check as part of the process for students to obtain visas for study in Spain. According to sources at the Embassy of Spain, state-issued certificates will also fulfill the student visa requirement.
The Forum has supported the efforts of EDUESPANA to advocate for a change to the requirement of an FBI background check. Cristina Grasset, Director of Spain Education Programs (SEP), thanked "all who have contributed to this policy change, especially Dr. Stevan Trooboff, former President and CEO of CIEE, and Dr. Brian Whalen, President and CEO of [the Forum on Education Abroad], for their support of our Spain-based efforts, as well as APUNE, the staff at the US Embassy in Madrid, and Mr. Santiago Cabanas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our sincere appreciation to all stateside organizations, individuals, and staff at the Embassy of Spain, who have devoted their time and effort to advocate for this change."
The updated regulations have not yet been posted on the Spanish Consulates' web sites, and it will likely take some time for changes to be implemented. The Forum will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when information becomes available.
May 13, 2011
Advocacy Update: Proposed Federal Funding Cuts
The Forum has signed additional letters with the Coalition of International Education organizations in support of continued FY 2012 funding for the U.S. Department of Education's international education and foreign language studies programs. Letters have been sent to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership and the Labor/HHS/ED Subcommittees. Copies of the letters may be read here: International Ed FY12 House and here: International Ed FY12 Sen
How can you help to restore funding to these important programs?
Please urge House Members to make a submission to House Labor/HHS/ED Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) requesting the following programmatic request and bill language needed on Title VI/Fulbright-Hays to restore programs to their FY 2010 levels:
"For the International and Foreign Language Studies account, restore funding for existing programs to the FY 2010 total of $125.881 million, which includes $108.360 million for Title VI-A&B; $15.576 million for Fulbright-Hays 102(b)(6); and $1.945 million for the Institute for International Public Policy, Title VI-C."
Bill language request:
"Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds made available in this Act to carry out title VI of the HEA and section 102(b)(6) of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 shall be directed to existing programs, and may be used to support visits and study in foreign countries by individuals who are participating in advanced foreign language training and international studies in areas that are vital to United States national security and who plan to apply their language skills and knowledge of these countries in the fields of government, the professions, or international development: Provided further, That of the funds referred to in the preceding proviso, up to 1 percent may be used for program evaluation, national outreach, and information dissemination activities:"
May 9, 2011
Update on education abroad to Cuba: The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued the guidelines for license applications for special programming in Cuba. The guidelines are posted on the OFAC website: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_tr_app.pdf
April 19, 2011
The Forum joined with the other organizational members of the Coalition for International Education in a joint letter concerning the proposed 40% cut to FY 2011 funding for International Education and Foreign Language Studies--HEA-Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. The Forum encourages its members to contact Members of the House and Senate to urge them to call or write to Secretary Duncan expressing concerns as outlined in the letter. The Forum also encourages the leaders of its member institutions and organizations to write directly to Secretary Duncan at: <email@example.com>
Read the letter here: Coalition for International Education - letter to Secretary Duncan
The Forum received a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the Forum and its members to “realize President Obama’s goal of dramatically increasing the number of American students studying in China.” Clinton describes the 100,000 Strong initiative, which has the goal of sending
over 100,000 students to China over the next few years. The letter reads in part, “Today I offer this challenge to leaders of American institutes of higher education and study-abroad providers: Double the number of your students who study in China by 2014.” According to the description, the initiative “will rely fully on private-sector financial support and will be implemented by non-governmental organizations.” Forum President and CEO Brian Whalen stated, “I encourage Forum member institutions to examine the 100,000 Strong initiative and consider the critical importance of China as a study abroad destination.
- Read the full text of Secretary Clinton's letter here: letter from Secretary Clinton
- Learn about the 100,000 Strong initiative here: 100,000 Strong initiative
- To contact Carola McGiffert, Director of the 100,000 Strong initiative and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, with a letter of support for the initiative, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2, 2010
Forum President and CEO Brian Whalen wrote to President Obama on behalf of the Forum membership to urge him to lift the restrictions on academic travel to Cuba.
Read the full text of the letter here: letter to President Obama - academic travel to Cuba