Become an Au Pair in the United States
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    book-transparentEducational Requirement   book-transparent 

         

The United States Department of State (DOS) requires that each au pair participant register and attend classes offered by an accredited U.S. post secondary institution for not less than six (6) semester hours of academic credit (72 classroom hours).

Taking a post-secondary class is not only a requirement, but a great opportunity for au pairs to pursue a new interest, improve English, experience student life, add to their resume/CV, meet new people and make new friends. Au Pairs have the flexibility to choose from a wide variety of subjects, and to attend a traditional college or university.  The host family will pay up to $500 for the educational component and assist the au pair in registering and attending classes.


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Regulations

resources per state - seperate page

Education verification form - download

esl

non credit, audit, etc

faq

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The US Department of State Education Requirement

What is the educational requirement?
The United States Department of State (DOS) requires that each au pair participant register and attend classes offered by an accredited U.S. post secondary institution for not less than six (6) semester hours of "academic credit, or the equivalent" during his/her 12-month au pair program. The educational requirement is, as it states, a requirement for participating in the au pair program and spending a year in the US under a J-1 au pair visa. By participating in the au pair program, you have agreed to complete the educational requirement.

Can I choose to not complete the educational requirement?
No. The educational component is a requirement by the United States Department of State and is an important part of the au pair program. If the educational requirement is not met, you may forfeit your deposit and be required to pay your home flight ticket. Also, the host family may be ineligible for future participation in Au Pair International’s program. Education is an important part of your year in America. At the end of your au pair year, you must provide proof of having completed your educational requirement. In order to extend your visa, you must have completed your educational requirement for the first year.

What is an accredited educational institution?
An accredited institution is one that has been granted accreditation by a regional or national accrediting commission of schools and colleges. Being "accredited" means the school reached a standard level of educational quality. This means that you must enroll in classes at an approved school or program. Classes taken at a church, health club, library or other non-accredited educational institution will not be approved.
 
What is meant by post-secondary?
Post-secondary literally means "after secondary". Post-secondary means the institution offers at least a one-year program of college-level studies. In America, secondary school ends after grade 12, usually when a person is 18 years old (grades 9-12 are often referred to as "high school"). Most au pairs attend a community college. Some enroll in technical or junior college, or college or university.

How do I find out if it is an accredited U.S. post secondary institution?
Ask: The easiest is to ask the school to sign the Proof of Attendance form before attending classes.

Search:  Some, but not all, accredited U.S. post secondary institutions are listed at this search. Double-check all schools that you find to make sure that the school you choose is post-secondary accredited.  To do this, have the proof of attendance form filled out prior to the start of class.  There are many major approved schools that do not show up on this list despite that they are approved and others that are on the list, but do not have the right accreditation: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.asp

What is meant by an "academic credit or the equivalent"?
An academic credit is generally equal to 12 hours of class time. A class which meets for 3 hours each week for approximately 4 weeks (a total of 12 hours) would be the equivalent of one (1) credit course.
To complete the requirement six (6) semester hours of "academic credit, or the equivalent", you must at a minimum complete 72 hours of class time.  However, please note that the number of hours needed to complete an academic credit may vary from one school to another, one class to another and to between states. If your school is not able to provide you with the hours required per credit, please use 12 hours of in-class lecture time per credit.

Which classes/subjects can I take?
You can choose a subject of your choice as long as it is offered by a post-secondary educational institution. If you are not fluent in English, we recommend that you start with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

Proof of enrollment - How do I document the education I am taking?
All au pairs are required to get the Proof of Attendance form (attach) signed at the top before they start classes.  This is to make sure that the class is accredited as a post-secondary institution from the beginning.  Once they have completed the class, the au pair will then have the teacher sign the bottom of the form documenting the number or credits or hours.

 
What is the educational requirement if I extend my visa for 6, 9 or 12 months?
Au pairs who extend their visa are expected to take an additional 3 credits for a 6 month extension and 6 credits for a 9 or 12 month extension. Host families will pay up to $250 towards education for a 6 month stay and $500 for a 9 or 12 month extension.

2. Choosing my Education – What are the Options?

 

3. Other Information about the Educational Requirement

Paying for the education, books and transportation to classes.
Host families will reimburse tuition costs and costs of related materials (books and supplies) up to $500 for the first year. The money is not owed to the au pair should the educational costs total to less than $500. The host family must provide transportation to and from classes. In order to complete the required 6 credits (or equivalent) within the budget, you might want to try to save some money:
• Discounts: Many educational institutions will give discounts to au pairs, so be sure to ask.
• In-state tuition: Au pairs are exchange participants that live as part of an in-state host family, in some states they qualify for in-state tuition. Be sure to ask. In some states au pairs do not qualify as they are in the US under a J-1 visa. However, in most states the au pair will qualify for the in-state tuition after a year in the US. Therefore, if the au pair decides to extend her stay she will normally qualify for the in-state tuition for the extension period.
• Taking non-credit or auditing classes instead of taking "for-credit" classes will save you money.
• Buying textbooks used and online can be much less expensive.

Do I qualify for "in –state" tuition?
Au pairs are exchange participants that live as part of an in-state host family, and in some states they qualify for in-state tuition.  However, this may vary from one state to another and from one educational institution to another. Be sure to ask.

What documents and skills do I need to enroll for classes?
Documents needed for signing up for classes vary greatly from one educational institution to another. When signing up for classes, you might be asked to show some or all of the following documents:
• Passport.
• I-94.
• Visa.
• Social Security Number (or a letter from SSA indicating that SSA did not make a decision yet or SSA rejection letter).
• Written verification showing proof of employment (letter from Au Pair International).
• DS-2019.
Some English as a Second Language (ESL) classes have placement exams. These are used to determine which your skills level and are designed to place you at the appropriate class level. Some schools may require other placement tests at the time of registration for other courses as.

Transferring credits to your home country
Transfer of credits: If the au pair is taking a course for academic credit ("for-credit") and wants to transfer credits home, it would be the decision of the university in the au pair’s home country if they would accept that credit or not. It is the responsibility of the au pair to contact her university to find out if it is possible to transfer the credits.
Recognition: If the au pair is taking a course for academic credit, she will receive a grade and an official transcript. If she is auditing or taking a non-credit course, it is at the discretion of the instructor to give the au pair an official transcript.

Local Educational Opportunities
To find local education institutions, go to the following links and look at the institutions listed under your state. You will need to review their current course offerings, schedules, prices and audit policies to determine whether they currently offer a program that will work for you. You should also take the initiative to contact any other educational institutions in your area to check for courses that may work for you.

Community College and Universities
Many au pairs complete their educational requirement at their local Community College because of the lower cost.  Community Colleges and Universities are accredited U.S. post secondary institutions. To find a college or university near you, go to:

Community Colleges: For an updated list of community colleges in your area, you might look at the following web site: http://www.utexas.edu/world/comcol/state/: For an updated list of universities in your area, you might look at the following web site: http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ/state/ are accredited U.S. post secondary institutions: Some, but not all, accredited U.S. post secondary institutions are listed at this search. Double-check all schools that you find to make sure that the school you choose is post-secondary accredited.  To do this, have the proof of attendance form filled out prior to the start of class.  There are many major approved schools that do not show up on this list despite that they are approved and others that are on the list, but do not have the right accreditation: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.asp

 

Taking classes

Au pairs can fulfill the educational component in different ways. The choice you make will depend largely on your budget (over the $500 covered by your host family) and schedule. If you choose to take classes at a local school (ex. a community college), you have several options. You can:

• Take academic "for-credit" classes. For- credit classes are often more expensive than the options listed below.
• Audit classes. "Auditing" allows a student to attend a class with limited in-class participation, ungraded assignments and no final grade. If auditing is available, the cost may be less than that of a "for-credit" class. Each individual college or university decides if it allows auditing.
• Take non-credit classes. Non-credit classes are designed for a purpose other than toward a degree. They are usually taken for personal enrichment or career specific skills. Taking non-credit classes is often less expensive then taking for-credit classes.
You can take day, evening and/or weekend classes, depending on what best fits your schedule and interests. Schools vary in what they offer, but most offer a wide range of choices. As long as the class is taken through an accredited post-secondary institution you can choose and class or subject. The subject choice is up to the au pair!

 

Documents and skills needed to enroll
Documents needed for signing up for classes vary greatly from one educational institution to another. When signing up for classes, you might be asked to show some or all of the following documents:
• Passport.
• I-94.
• Visa.
• Social Security Number (or a letter from SSA indicating that SSA did not make a decision yet or SSA rejection letter).
• Written verification showing proof of employment (letter from Au Pair International).
• DS-2019.
Some English as a Second Language (ESL) classes have placement exams. These are used to determine which your skills level and are designed to place you at the appropriate class level. Some schools may require other placement tests at the time of registration for other courses as.

Local Educational Opportunities
To find local education institutions, go to the following links and look at the institutions listed under your state. You will need to review their current course offerings, schedules, prices and audit policies to determine whether they currently offer a program that will work for you. You should also take the initiative to contact any other educational institutions in your area to check for courses that may work for you.

Community College and Universities
Many au pairs complete their educational requirement at their local Community College because of the lower cost.  Community Colleges and Universities are accredited U.S. post secondary institutions. To find a college or university near you, go to:

Community Colleges: For an updated list of community colleges in your area, you might look at the following web site: http://www.utexas.edu/world/comcol/state/: For an updated list of universities in your area, you might look at the following web site: http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ/state/ are accredited U.S. post secondary institutions: Some, but not all, accredited U.S. post secondary institutions are listed at this search. Double-check all schools that you find to make sure that the school you choose is post-secondary accredited.  To do this, have the proof of attendance form filled out prior to the start of class.  There are many major approved schools that do not show up on this list despite that they are approved and others that are on the list, but do not have the right accreditation: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.asp

 

 

 

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