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History of EnglishUSA 























2012 and beyond



Click here for 30th Anniversary Reflections, 1986 - 2016


The history of EnglishUSA dates back to 1986, when the directors of several intensive English programs met during the annual NAFSA convention. In short order, a mission statement and goals were drafted for a new membership organization that would serve the needs and interests of intensive English programs, students, teachers, and administrators. One year later, the group elected pro tem officers and appointed a bylaws committee.

At the 1988 NAFSA convention, 65 directors from intensive English as a second language programs across the United States, representing both university-operated and independent IEPs, agreed to charter an official organization.

In 1990, a set of standards for post-secondary intensive English programs was adopted and by 1991, AAIEP had become a respected professional organization with a robust agenda including standards of quality for English language education, liaison with overseas advisors, and interaction with other professional organizations.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, AAIEP undertook the important role of providing its members with reliable and up-to-date information on the laws, regulations and policies regarding the admission of international students to intensive English programs in the United States. AAIEP maintained close contact with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to assist members in implementing a government-mandated student tracking system, called SEVIS.

In concurrence with implementation of security legislation such as the Patriot Act, international student enrollment in IEPs dropped precipitously, so AAIEP supported its members by actively lobbying the US government to increase student visa issuance in key sending countries and improve access to US English programs for short-term English language students.

In 2005, AAIEP instituted the game-changing requirement that all member programs be accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), be accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), or be under the governance of a regionally accredited institution (such as college or university.) Thus, anyone searching for information about IEPs using our website is assured that all of our member programs are accredited.

Since 2005, AAIEP has continued to increase its advocacy efforts on behalf of our members. For example, in 2006, AAIEP engaged a lobbying firm to address issues of importance to its membership in Congress, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and with the US State Department.

The EnglishUSA brand and logo were formally introduced in 2012 with a website redesign in 2013.  And, in Spring 2017, we integrated our website and database to serve our members better. The site provides increased access to membership information, the most recent and relevant news affecting IEPs in the USA, and information about immigration, visas, accreditation, and more.

We'd love to hear from you -- just contact us to let us know what you think!