Foreign Program Approval - Schools
In order to apply for approval of a program of education, the information
listed below must be submitted by an official authorized to commit the school
to an agreement with VA. VA will
evaluate the information and provide the school with an approval determination
on the program of education.
information should be submitted to:
Foreign School Approval Group (22-ESU)
VA Regional Office
130 S. Elmwood Avenue Suite 601
Buffalo, NY 14202
study (distance learning) courses must be accredited by a nationally
recognized accrediting association.
Contact us by using our Ask
a Question and Find Answers link on the left of this page.
Click HERE for
instructions on how to set up a secure email account for School Officials.
VA does not have an "Official" form for requesting approval of a program at an institution outside of the United States . At a minimum, VA requires the foreign school submit a written request on letterhead stationary containing an embossed school seal and signed by an official authorized to commit the school to an agreement with VA. The letter MUST also contain the information listed below. Please be sure to include a copy of the school’s catalog and certify it as "true and correct in content and policy." If the catalog does not contain a current school calendar, please enclose a separate copy of the school calendar. VA will not be able to approve a program unless all of this information is provided.
Please submit all information in English or include an English translation of the submitted information.
VA requires the following information be included in your request for program approval:
- Full legal name of the institution, local alternative name(s), and the English equivalent, as appropriate.
- Address of the institution.
- Full name and title of the person or person(s) authorized to certify VA forms for your institution.
- Language or languages used in conducting classes.
- Sponsorship, such as Ministry of Education, province, state, canton, municipality, specific church organization, or religious order.
- Is your Facility considered to be a public or private Institution?
- Does the Ministry, Department, or Office of Education, etc., officially classify the school as an institution of higher learning? (i.e., as a college, university, or similar establishment offering postsecondary level academic instruction leading to the conferring of a degree). If so, what type of degree?
- Provide the name of the program of study and the name of the student for which you are requesting approval. Only programs that eligible persons are enrolled in, or are thinking of enrolling in, should be requested.
- Be sure to include the academic prerequisites for enrollment (for example, is High School graduation a requirement?).
- Please indicate the total length of the program.
- Reference to a specific program by name and page number in the college catalog or direct web link address will be sufficient.
- Will the institution agree to accept students found to be eligible for VA benefits (United States veterans, servicepersons, reservists, and eligible dependents enrolled under title 38, United States Code or title 10, United States Code), at the student’s expense, in accordance with the provisions of the law, and at rates for tuition, related instructional fees, and expenses not greater than those required of other students similarly circumstanced?
- Will the institution agree to maintain sufficient records to show the progress of each VA student and to promptly inform the VA when the conduct or progress of any VA student is not satisfactory in accordance with the regularly prescribed standards and practices of the institution?
- Will the institution agree to complete the enrollment certifications and agree not to include any courses that are audited (no credit applied toward program requirements)? Will the institution also agree to promptly inform the VA when it comes to the school’s attention that any VA student:
Will the institution give appropriate credit for previous education and training of VA students, shorten the training period proportionately, and reflect the credit granted on the enrollment certifications?
Will the institution, if and when requested by VA, make all appropriate records pertaining to the enrollment of VA students available for examination by VA or its representatives?
Will the institution routinely furnish VA with current publications concerning the courses and programs of study which are approved under the law?
The application should be dated and subscribed by an official authorized to commit the institution to an agreement with VA, showing his or her title or position.
- Has changes in hours of credit or attendance, or
- Has interrupted or discontinued a course or program of study, giving the date(s) of withdrawal and the reason(s), if known, or
- Receives grade(s) for any course(s) that will not be used when computing graduation requirements.
In addition to meeting all of the criteria listed above, a program offered at a foreign medical school must also meet the following criteria:
- The school must satisfy the criteria for listing as a medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools published by the World health Organization (WHO).,
- In order for a program at a medical school to be approved by VA, the U. S. Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) must have evaluated the standards used to accredit medical schools in the country where the school is located and have reached a determination that the country’s standards are comparable to those used to accredit medical schools in the United States. NCFMEA lists “Decisions of Comparability” for foreign medical schools’ standards at their web page: http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/ncfmea.html
Foreign medical schools in these countries are eligible to apply for participation in the U. S. Department of Education’s Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) program.
- While foreign medical schools are not required to have been accepted for participation in FFEL for their programs to be approved by VA, significant weight will be given during consideration by VA to those schools that have already been found eligible for FFEL by the U. S. Department of Education.
- The school must provide, and in the normal course of the program, require its students to complete a program of clinical and classroom instruction at least 32 months long. The program must be supervised closely by members of the school’s faculty and be provided either outside of the United States in facilities adequately equipped and staffed to afford students comprehensive clinical and classroom medical instruction, or inside the United States through a training program for foreign medical students which has been approved by all of the medical licensing boards and evaluating bodies whose views are considered relevant by VA.
- The school must have graduated classes during each of the two 12-month periods immediately preceding the date on which the VA receives the school’s application for approval of its courses.