In February, the government began requiring colleges and universities to keep track of foreign students as mandated by the USA Patriot Act, which was enacted by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The federal program--Student Exchange Visitor Information System, known as Sevis--requires colleges and universities to track and report the whereabouts of students with F and M visas, the documents granted to non-immigrant students studying in the United States. PeopleSoft's Patriot Act Sevis Solution package, introduced last December, lets colleges and universities track holders of F and M visas; they new enhancement, which will be available in June, will also let them monitor and report on foreigners with J visas--a group that includes student exchange visitors, international research scholars, and visiting professors.
Each year, more than 500,000 foreign nationals enter the United States on student and exchange visas; many of them are unaccounted for by the government. As part of the Patriot Act, colleges and universities must immediately report any changes to the status of foreign nationals with F, M, and J visas attending their schools to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
PeopleSoft offers its Sevis package free to its existing student administration customers. One customer, the University of Michigan, has an enrollment of 4,600 international students. Adding the new module to its PeopleSoft administration system will let the university track 1,400 visiting professors and research scholars who visit its main Ann Arbor campus and other campuses annually, says Laura Patterson, the university's associate VP of administrative information services.