The eight cases involve Education First Foundation for Foreign Study and its Fayetteville coordinators, Gerald D. and Sherry A. Drummond, said Stanley Colvin, director of the State Department's office of exchange coordination and designation.
The others attended schools in Northwest Arkansas but now live in Camden or Kentucky, Colvin
The complaints center on the nonprofit firm's failure to find appropriate homes for some students before they arrive, as well as on how and where the Drummonds place the students.
"This is sloppy work," Colvin
said of the foundation's operation in Arkansas.
The State Department
is investigating whether Cambridge, Mass.-based Education First
, better known as EF Foundation
, violated a federal regulation by allowing some students to live in the Drummond home without assigning another EF employee as a supervisor, Colvin
Federal regulations require foreign-exchange companies to "ensure that no organizational representative act as both host family and area supervisor for any exchange student participant."
"If there was an emergency and she
had to remove a child from a home and keep the student for a one-night kind of thing, that's not a violation," Colvin
also looking into complaints that foreign-exchange students sat at tables at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market and in front of a Wal-Mart
trying to convince shoppers to allow other students into their homes.
"It's not appropriate, but it's not a violation of the law," Colvin
Around 30, 000 exchange students come to America annually, said Colvin of the State Department's exchange coordination office, adding the State Department investigates about 200 complaints each year.
About 20 percent involve students brought to the United States by EF Foundation
As part of its investigation in Arkansas, Colvin
said the State Department
could reprimand the company and require it to write a corrective-action plan to ensure it doesn't violate federal regulations.
A more severe penalty could involve shutting down the corporation or limiting how many students it can bring to the United States.
sent a letter Thursday to the EF Foundation
describing five media accounts and complaints last week regarding the organization.
"This is not a pretty picture," he
concluded in the letter.
program down, period," said Stanley Colvin, acting director of the Federal
why Mr. Colvin
is not keeping his
word and instead decides to look the other