Language and Cultural Education 

Foreign Student Services

Evaluation of the Foreign Secondary Credentials

It is the policy of the Chicago Public Schools to recognize and grant credit for high school studies completed elsewhere on a year-by-year equivalent basis. Credit granted should be comparable to the number of credits obtainable in one academic year at a Chicago public high school.

All school records (grades 8-12) from students arriving from foreign countries must be evaluated by the Department of Educational Policy and Procedures, Foreign Student Services. Student arriving from a foreign country should contact the department at 773-553-1936 for appointment for evaluation.

Original documents must be submitted for review. This includes:

Report cards/transcripts listing subjects and final grades
Birth Certificate or Passport

High school shall record transfer credits, course grades and course level designations based on the Evaluation of the Foreign Secondary School Credentials provided by the Department of Educational Policy and Procedures, Foreign Student Services.

The State's prescribed screener must be administered to verify the student's English Language proficiency. The results of this assessment will determine English course placement.

Information for Parents

For the evaluation of secondary credentials from a foreign country:

First, call for an appointment at 773/553-1936
Then bring documents to:

Mrs. Beata E. Arceo
Chicago Public Schools
Foreign Student Services
42 W. Madison Street, Garden Level
Chicago, IL 60602

Bring the following documents:

Original documents (report card/transcript) listing subjects and final grades for each year of high school level education
Birth Certificate and/or Passport

Admission of F-1 Foreign Students

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) accepts qualified F-1 foreign students for secondary education. I-20 documents issued by CPS allow foreign students to apply for F-1 visas in their home country. Students must complete the required documents before applying to CPS for an I-20. F-1 Foreign Visa Students must pay the non-resident tuition to Chicago Public Schools. Non-resident tuition for school year 2014-2015 is $11,453.21. Students can only attend public schools for 12 months but may continue their visa if they transfer to a private school or college.

  • The principal or designee of the prospective school must agree in writing to accept the F-1 student and submit it to Beata E. Arceo, Department of Education Policy and Procedures, Foreign Student Services (42 W Madison St., Garden Level, GSR#125, barceo@cps.edu).
  • A school may deny enrollment for lack of available space.
  • F-1 students may be enrolled in grades 9-12 and attend school full-time.
  • Students must comply with district policies regarding attendance, academic standards, discipline and graduation.
  • Students must be under 19 years of age at the time of enrollment.
  • In accordance with federal law, F-1 students are limited to 12 months of study in public schools.
  • Foreign visa students must not have already completed high school or a high school equivalent.
  • Language proficiency test is administered in order to access the need for ESL classes for students, based on need.
  • High school diplomas are not guaranteed. Students must meet all CPS graduation requirements to graduate. Prior coursework may be accepted and CPS classes assigned based of the Evaluation of Foreign Secondary Credentials provided by Foreign Student Services (tel. 773-553-1936, email: barceo@cps.edu)
  • CPS is not responsible for locating or placing homestays and facilitating of host guardians.
  • Host guardians:
    • Must live within the CPS boundaries and be 21-years of age or older.
    • Are responsible to come to CPS in person to discuss and process I-20 documents.
    • May be a relative to the F-1 student.
    • Shall meet with the requested school official to obtain acceptance letter, advice when student arrives and starts school.
    • Provide any enrollment documents/forms/verifications requested by the CPS.
    • Provide CPS with copy of the student's entry-departure record and visa page of the student's passport.
    • Provide any enrollment documents/forms/verifications requested by the school.
    • Must advise CPS and the school prior to any change of residence or emergency information.
    • Attend all meetings requested by school officials.

Admission of J-1 Exchange Students

Chicago Public Schools accept qualified J-1 foreign students for secondary education. J-1 Exchange Students come for the purpose of cultural exchange. Students are exempted from tuition fee, and are required to be proficient in English.

J-1 agencies sponsoring their stay must be approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. List of agencies (approved by U.S. Department of State) recommended by the Illinois High School Association could be found at: www.ihsa.org/Schools/ApprovedForeignExchangePrograms.aspx

  • The principal or designee of the prospective school must agree in writing to accept the J-1 student.
  • A school may deny enrollment for lack of available space.
  • J-1 students may be enrolled in grades 9-12 and attend school full-time.
  • Students must be between 15-18.5 years at time of enrollment.
  • In accordance with federal law, J-1 students are limited to 12 months of study.
  • Foreign visa students must not have already completed high school or a high school equivalent.
  • High school diplomas are not guaranteed. Students must meet all CPS graduation requirements to graduate. Prior coursework may be accepted and CPS classes assigned based of the Evaluation of Foreign Secondary Credentials provided by Foreign Student Services, Department of Education Policy and Procedures (tel. 773.553.1936, email: barceo@cps.edu)
  • CPS is not responsible for locating or placing homestays and facilitating of host guardians.
  • Host guardians:
    • Must live within the CPS boundaries.
    • Be 21-years of age or older.
    • May not be a relative to the student.
    • Shall meet with the requested school official to obtain acceptance letter.
    • Advice when student arrives and starts school.
    • Provide the school with copy of the student's entry-departure record and visa page of the student's passport.
    • Provide any enrollment documents/forms/verifications requested by the school.
    • Advise the agency and the school prior to any change of residence or emergency information.
    • Attend all meetings requested by school officials.

Study Abroad Experience for CPS Secondary Students

Study abroad experience is a unique educational and cultural opportunity for all students. Exchange programs focus primarily on secondary schools and promote mutual understanding, leadership development, educational transformation and democratic ideals. Experiencing a new culture can help students better understand themselves and the world around them.

CPS supports high school students in participation in exchange programs and strongly encourages students to be a part of State Department sponsored programs or programs organized by agencies approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. State Department sponsored programs hold pre-departure orientations for students and families.

Participation in exchange programs requires proper planning regarding travel, money, local conditions, hosting families, and the academic program. CPS strongly encourages students to make sure, that during their study abroad experience; they will attend officially recognized schools and take a full course of study in the program aligned as much as possible with CPS graduation requirements. Placement and programming in the hosting country should be set up ahead of time. CPS will recognize an official report card from the hosting country, and grant credits toward graduation in Chicago's public secondary school. Students returning to CPS with official report cards from their study abroad should contact Foreign Student Services (Beata E. Arceo, 42 W Madison St., Garden Level, Chicago, IL 606002, tel. 773.553.1936, barceo@cps.edu) to evaluate their foreign secondary transcripts.

Additionally, CPS students who are planning to study abroad should consult with the organization that administers the exchange program regarding the following important details:

  • The school year in the hosting country matches the U.S. school calendar.
  • The student participation dates allow him/her to complete a full semester or school year in the hosting country.
  • The student will be placed in the appropriate grade level and programmed with the full course of study to be able to complete a full semester and receive final grades.
  • The student is linguistically ready to fully participate and perform in all assigned classes in the hosting country.

Page Last Modified on Monday, June 13, 2016