It was interesting to see a recent US News & World Report article about the benefits for international students who study at US high schools, which are well-known to those of us who work in the field.
1. English language training
2. Pre-college navigation
3. College readiness
4. Social acculturation
There has been a dramatic upswing in the number of Vietnamese high school students leaving, in some cases, some of the finest high schools in the country (e.g., talented and gifted schools) to complete their education at a US high school. Many wealthy Vietnamese choose to send their sons and daughters to boarding schools that range from $40,000-50,000 a year.
Other options include public high schools that accept international students and arrange homestays and high school completion programs, mainly in Washington (WA) state, that enable students to earn a WA high school diploma and an associate’s degree in two (2) years, assuming their English proficiency meets the admission requirement. Most high school completion programs are around $20,000 per year, all-inclusive. The cost of attending a public high school is considerably less than a private day school or boarding school.
As a Study in the States summary of the article points out, an international student can apply for an F-1 visa to attend a public secondary school (grades 9 -12) that is Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified. Regulations require that an F student may only attend public school for a maximum period of 12 months and that the student must reimburse the full, per-capita cost of attending.
An international student also has the option of attending an SEVP-certified private school as an F student. Unlike when attending a public school, an F student who attends a private school may attend for longer than 12 months.
The points described in the article, the general dissatisfaction with upper secondary education in Vietnam and the lack of international-standard high schools, combined with the growing ability to pay in recent years, are the driving forces behind this growth trend for Vietnamese students.