What Does USNEI Do?
USNEI is an information service that provides answers and referrals to customer inquiries via appointment, telephone, fax, electronic mail, and internet. We publish an information brochure and plan to publish a series of useful reference guides in the future. We rely very much upon cooperation and collaboration from U.S. educational institutions, educational associations, and government agencies.
Our most important function is to serve the American people and education community, and overseas visitors, with information on where to go within our diverse education system to get answers to their questions and help with their problems. USNEI relies on electronic means to provide much of our service, and we work closely with national and state associations and institutional representatives, including the members of the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials.
USNEI also supports the work of the U.S. Overseas Educational Advising Centers sponsored and conducted by the United States Information Agency (USIA), as well as the work of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education and International and Territorial Affairs Staff.
Among the functions of USNEI is to serve as the U.S. National Education Information Center (NEIC) as a member organization of the European Network of Information Centers ENIC Network. This international network is co-sponsored by the Council of Europe and UNESCO. The United States holds observer status with both organizations and is a signatory party to the 1996 Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region
The legal authority for USNEI to exist and provide service is based on five fundamental sources.
- The Constitutional power of the United States Government to conduct foreign policy;
- The legal authority granted to the U.S. Department of Education in matters concerning international educational affairs at the federal level;
- The legal authority granted to the National Library of Education to provide education information services to the federal government and the public in collaboration with, and through, national networks of education information providers;
- The agreements entered into between and among the organizations and agencies cooperating to operate USNEI; and
- The obligations undertaken by the United States to satisfy the terms of the Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Credentials Concerning Higher Education in the European Region and any other international agreements involving the provision of education information that may involve USNEI.
- To provide the best information available on education systems, structures, procedures, and policies in order to promote international educational exchanges.
- To provide referral links as necessary in order to put people in touch with those who can answer specific questions, provide direct assistance, or make appropriate policy decisions.
- To effectively represent the U.S. education community in public international education information networks in cooperation with recognized policymaking bodies in the public and private sectors.
- To honor the diversity and autonomy of the U.S. education system, and the spirit and letter of international educational agreements to which the United States is a party, by serving exclusively as an information center and not as a policymaking body on credential recognition, admissions, or mobility issues, which by U.S. law and practice are reserved to other competent authorities.