New system helps onboard international students and scholars

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) introduced a new vendor-based system, called International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in July. OISS and other departments will use ISSS to issue visa documents, administer student and scholar data, communicate with students and scholars, and maintain compliance with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE)/ the US Department of Homeland Security.

The new cloud-based system eliminates the need for in-house maintenance and ensures that regulatory changes to forms and government database fields are made quickly. With its robust features, ISSS can be configured per Yale’s business requirements – including student and scholar self-service functionality, automated email communications, and workflows. There is a download/real-time sync feature with the government system and a reporting module. In addition, a published roadmap of future releases is in place that will continue to enhance the user interface for ISSS administrators, students, scholars, and faculty. Lastly, the security design review found no issues.

Potentially the biggest functional improvement is the ability to scrape and return data from the government systems. This eliminates manually completing hundreds of records each year, allows OISS to analyze data previously not available in the old system, and maintains more accurate records than ever before. A real time connection to the government system allows OISS to make changes there that automatically save to the ISSS system, reducing case processing time.  

The implementation of the new ISSS program has two phases – first focusing on the student module and then the scholar module. The first phase, now complete, resulted in providing students online access for requests and reporting requirements, eliminating multiple PDF forms and Qualtrics surveys. The second phase, covering the scholar module, will enable departments to initiate the visa document process for international scholars, such as postdocs, visiting faculty, etc. by the end of the calendar year.