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Foreign Exchange and Non-Immigrant Foreign Students

Foreign exchange students carry a J-1 visa and are “adolescent cultural exchange visitors” and may request entry to Albuquerque Public Schools.  No specific academic standards apply other than the students must be enrolled full-time and attend the neighborhood school of the host family.  If a program has multiple family placements for one student, the program must make every attempt to ensure that all host families live within the same high school boundary area.  It is strongly recommended that foreign exchange students have a demonstrated proficiency in the English language.  Their stay in the United States is limited to one year and a federally approved exchange program must sponsor them.   Foreign exchange students must complete their placement during one APS school year.  They will not be permitted to overlap their exchange from one school year to the next.  Students planning to stay for only one semester should make arrangements to do their exchange during the Fall Semester.  We will not hold spaces for Spring Semester only.

Foreign exchange students have special regulations regarding working while they are in the United States.  Violation of these regulations can result in the student being deported and severe financial penalties for employers.   Schools are cautioned to exercise care regarding work-study and “work for credit”.

The Student, School and Community Service Center (Student Service Center) will coordinate all foreign exchange student programs and exchange program placements in the Albuquerque Public Schools.  Authorized foreign exchange programs operation in the District must register with the Student Service Center; individual students and host families must also register with the Student Service Center.

Each school accepting one or more foreign exchange students will designate a staff member to serve as liaison for foreign exchange students attending that school.

Criteria for Acceptance and Placement of Foreign Exchange Students

Foreign exchange programs will be expected to comply with the Department of State regulations for exchange visitor programs 22 CFR 62.   The local area representative of foreign exchange programs, host families, and exchange students must agree to register with and provide necessary data to the District, abide by all School and District rules, regulations and procedures and have a full listing with the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET).  All foreign exchange students and families will be required to sign an agreement with the District stating that they will abide with the State testing requirements at their school. 

Foreign exchange students will be accepted and placed only in high schools in grades 9 to 11.  Grade 11 is the preferred placement as the standard curriculum/course sequence provides the maximum exposure to United States history and American literature at this grade level. 

The student should not come to an APS high school with the expectation of graduating, as they are primarily here for a cultural exchange and most students do not satisfy our District and State requirements.   Those students who are attempting to graduate must provide an official transcript from their home school district.  The District will only grant diplomas to foreign exchange students who have met all graduation requirements as defined by the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Albuquerque Public Schools. 

Process and Time Lines

Each school in conjunction with the appropriate Associate Superintendent will determine whether it will accept foreign exchange students and how many will be accepted each year.  By February 15 of each school year, high schools will report to the Student Service Center the number of foreign exchange students to be accepted for the following school year.  In no school will the population be allowed to exceed one percent (1%) of the school’s population.  The designee of the Student Service Center will compile the reported available spaces on schools, and forward this information to registered agency representatives by February 25 each year.

Agency requests for foreign exchange student enrollment, as documented by the host family application/profile, for the upcoming school year will be received beginning February 25, at which time processing of host family application/profile will begin.   Enrollment applications will not be accepted before February 25.  Notification will be made within ten working days to the agency representative regarding verification of space. 

Beginning February 25, the enrollment permission will be granted according to the available school space.  Enrollment requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis with a waiting list when necessary.   If more than one application is received in one day for a particular school where space is limited, a random selection process will be implemented for that day to establish a waiting list position. 

Foreign exchange programs must identify students to the District by July 15. A space will be held for a student if the original host family withdraws their application after the student has been identified and assigned to the family provided that another family is found for that student in the same attendance area.  Space assignment will be dropped if the student withdraws his/her application after the July 15 deadline.   It is strongly recommended that foreign exchange students arrive in Albuquerque ten (10) calendar days before school registration.  Foreign exchange students will not be placed after the first day of the school year, except in extenuating circumstances as determined by the District designee in consultation with the high school principal or through the school liaison.

The high school principal shall have the final authority regarding acceptance and placement of an individual foreign exchange student and/or host family.

Additional Placement Stipulations

  • Placement requests must be made by working through an authorized foreign exchange program.  Placements may not be made by an individual or prospective host family not associated with an authorized program.
  • Local program coordinators must conduct all placements through the Foreign Exchange Office, housed at the Student Service Center, and may not work directly with the school principal.
  • Welcome Family Profiles, or variations of such, will not be accepted by the Albuquerque Public Schools. 
  • Students must not be moved from one APS school to another without prior approval from the Foreign Exchange Office.
  • Placements made at Charter Schools or neighboring school districts are not necessarily transferable to an APS school, unless space is available and all other requirements are satisfied.
  • APS will not grant a placement of a female student with a single male adult and in most cases will not allow placement of a male student with a single female adult.

Foreign Exchange Programs that bypass APS procedures and policies, or become problematic with a school or with the District, run the risk of being placed on notice or may lose their opportunity of continuing their partnership with the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Cross Ref.:

  • Board Policy J.11
  • Information Sheet for Foreign Exchange Student Programs Operating in the Albuquerque Public Schools form
  • Information Sheet for Foreign Exchange Student Attending the Albuquerque Public Schools form

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JFABB

Revised: May 1995
April 1996
June 1997
  January 2003
  December 2007