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Preparation for SEVIS - 2003
Initial SEVIS Implementation
SEVIS Fee

Planning for and Implementing

Background
Boston University enrolls approximately 4,400 international students, almost all of whom are in F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS).  The institution sponsors the activities of approximately 840 international scholars, many of whom are in J-1 professor or researcher status with the USCIS.  The institution and these individuals will be affected by a statutory mandate and a federal agency initiative known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

The Current Process - Where We Are Now

Processing 
The current process is a paper process, both from federal and campus perspectives.  All work required to admit, enroll, and retain F-1 and J-1 students, and all work required to sponsor the activities of J-1 scholars, involves the use of federal forms produced using specialized computer software.  The data required for this process resides in over 50 different offices throughout both the Charles River and Medical Campuses, with no centralized source of comprehensive data and no electronic data links with the offices which need such links.  Paper is passed from office to office for all required processing. 

Reporting 
There has been no federal reporting required on foreign nationals in F-1 or J-1 status in almost two decades.  Incidental to the process of form creation and use, the federal government eventually receives a copy of the form.

The Future Process - Where We Need to Be

Processing 
All future F-1 and J-1 processing will be accomplished through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which requires the transmission of data via the Internet.  The future process will gradually move from a form-centric, paper process to one which is largely paperless.  To facilitate University compliance with SEVIS requirements, the current internal paper process should be replaced by the electronic transfer of data.

Reporting 
The SEVP will require continuous, event-based, electronic reporting on approximately 120-150 data elements per student or exchange visitor, with regulatory time deadlines imposed on schools to ensure that timely information is reported.  In order to properly comply with federal reporting requirements, the University must move from the logistical transfer of information to a system which fully utilizes available technology.

Moving from Current to Future Processes - What We Need to Do to Comply with the SEVP

Perform a flexible Business Process Review (BPR) of relevant university processes affecting data elements to be reported to the government 
Each of the data elements which must be reported to the federal government should be examined and a flexible BPR performed on all elements which, if reported erroneously or in an untimely manner to the government, could have negative repercussions for individual students or exchange visitors. 

Modify business processes, as needed, to ensure federal compliance and professional management of electronic reporting 
When University policies and/or business processes can reasonably be modified to insure institutional compliance and minimize potential liability - and provide proactive, professional services to international students and scholars - such changes should be considered for implementation.

Evaluate the architecture and topology of relevant University computer systems and databases 
All computer systems and databases which contain information needed for compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) should be studied and mapped, including current and possible future data transfers between systems and databases.

Develop the policies, procedures, and systems, as needed, to ensure the accuracy, integrity, and appropriate internal transfer of relevant data, and to facilitate the timely reporting of this information to the federal government 
SEVIS-compliant client-management software designed around relevant business processes will need to be in place and fully operational by the federal compliance deadline if Boston University wishes to continue its F-1 and J-1 programs.  This software may be purchased from a vendor or developed in house.  Since reporting will be continuous and time deadlines established by federal statute and regulation, reports on data changes should be produced and evaluated on a daily basis.

 

ISSO
Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office