Gateway
School of Record

Let Gateway be your partner in establishing and managing your School of Record relationship.

Education abroad programs attended by international students are often organized by independent educational organizations or program providers.  However many of these organizations are not recognized by national or regional higher education accrediting commissions. To award credit for work completed off campus, most institutions require that students produce an official transcript from an accredited institution. So that their courses might be recognized by a student’s institution, non-accredited host organizations may enter into a legal contract with an accredited institution to establish what is called a School of Record relationship.

 

A School of Record (SOR) relationship is premised upon extending the principles and practices of quality assurance of an accredited institution over the academic operations of a non-accredited institution or provider organization. As such, a School of Record enables students to transfer academic credit easily from abroad, even when the educational program they are attending is not itself accredited by a national or regional body. For program providers, the ease of transferring credit increases enrollment and enhances both visibility and credibility. For accredited institutions serving as a School of Record and providing transcripts for academic work completed abroad, there are multiple benefits: greater access to education abroad programs, increased experience in education abroad operations, enhanced visibility of their commitment to internationalization, and new revenue streams. Students, non-accredited providers, and accredited universities all benefit from School of Record relationships.

 

Let Gateway be your partner in establishing and managing your School of Record relationship. At Gateway, we support educational organizations seeking to establish an SOR relationship and accredited institutions seeking to provide SOR services.

On Establishing a School of Record

It is increasingly common for students to take courses abroad at educational institutions or independent providers that are not accredited. In doing so, and in order to earn credit toward their major or degree, students often need to transfer that coursework to their home institution. The School of Record facilitates that transfer and thus solves a simple but vexing matter in education abroad—many institutions do not recognize as credit-worthy, instruction offered at non-accredited organizations whose quality assurance practices may be unfamiliar to them. However, those institutions generally will accept as transfer or resident credit, courses transcripted by “peer” institutions, particularly in the same country as the credit-receiving institution. 

 

Per the Forum on Education Abroad’s Guidance on School of Record Relationships for Education Abroad, “A School of Record relationship is when an accredited institution of higher learning documents and awards credit for programs or institutions that are not accredited.” As an example, if an accredited institution transcripts and awards credit to students for courses or programs taken abroad via a non-accredited educational organization, the accredited institution acts as a School of Record. Moreover, and as a consequence of awarding academic credit, it is the responsibility of the SOR to verify the academic integrity of such courses or programs and to validate their quality before awarding credit.

Educational organizations that generally require an SOR include:

Benefits of a School of Record Relationship

SOR relationships provides benefits to all involved: the organization providing instruction to international students, the institution providing the School of Record transcript, and most importantly the student, who can more readily receive academic credit for work completed abroad.

By establishing an SOR relationship, educational organizations can expand their access to international students through credit transfer that is as easy for most students as domestic transfer.

Accredited institutions serving as a School of Record gain privileged access for their own students to high-quality programs while simultaneously exercising significant oversight over the academic integrity of those programs. By gaining access to provider organizations, along with the oversight experience that comes with it, the School of Record extends its efforts and ambitions in comprehensive internationalization.

While both the provider organization and the Schools of Record derive benefit in a well-designed SOR relationship, it is the students—gaining expanded access to new opportunities in education abroad—who benefit most. SOR relationships are highly advantageous for ensuring consistent and excellent academic standards in education abroad as well as increased student access to a greater variety of approved and rigorous programs.

How a School of Record Works

Students enroll in courses at a non-accredited organization abroad operating within an SOR relationship. They or their education abroad advisers find those courses through the usual means in the industry. Gateway can help assure course visibility to education abroad constituencies.

The School of Record periodically reviews instructor credentials, course content, mode of delivery, facilities, and administrative practice, and through a systematic process, exerts quality control and deems the courses worthy of the SOR transcript.

Depending upon the protocols negotiated between the SOR partners, grades are assigned to students directly on-site or the SOR assigns home-country grades on the basis of an assessment of student performance conveyed to the SOR grades. In either case, the grades are reported on the SOR transcript.

Transcripts are sent by the SOR to the student’s home institution. Because the SOR is an institution accredited by a national or regional body, home institutions generally accept the credits on the transcript as they would accept domestic transfer credit. Ideally a home institution’s practices regarding transfer credit are known in advance by students and their education abroad advisers. Gateway can advise for idiosyncratic situations.

Program/instruction provider organizations are paid their fees by students or their institutions as they normally would be. Organizations pay service fees as stipulated in the SOR contract to the SOR for all quality assurance services. Transcript fees to the SOR may be included in these fees or may be enumerated separately. The cost of transcripts may be included in the program fee that students pay or it may be an added cost payable by the student (i.e., transcript fees may be obligatory or optional). Gateway can advise on varying approaches.

Entering into a School of Record relationship requires a level of legal, administrative, academic, and technical expertise—on both sides—that colleges, universities, and provider organizations may lack. And that is where Gateway comes in.

Our Services

Gateway International Group is distinguished by its expertise in international higher education and its understanding of the principles and processes that go into the creation and management of School of Record relationships. Through our team of experienced professionals, Gateway can bring expertise to all aspects of School of Record relationships such as: contractual foundations, credit equivalency, building quality assurance and academic oversight structures, establishing equitable costs and fees, impact on student financial aid, implications for institutional accreditation, and more. In short, we offer assurances of best practices in SOR management.

 

We understand what is needed, how to initiate new SOR relationships, how to administer existing relationships, and how to use SOR relationships more innovatively to increase student and faculty mobility, campus internationalization, and institutional effectiveness. The landscape of international education is undergoing tectonic change and, as the Covid-19 pandemic has so painfully shown, the contours of change remain wholly unpredictable. But colleges and universities can thrive in this new environment by establishing innovative, nimble and future-proof international relationships. Let Gateway be your guide in successfully navigating the School of Record relationship.

 

Gateway provides services that span the full spectrum of School of Record relationships.

Referrals & Recommendations

For non-accredited organizations providing instruction, the Gateway team will assist in identifying and engaging accredited institutions to serve as a School of Record. For accredited institutions seeking to gain the advantages of becoming a School of Record, e.g., for revenue generation, opportunity, and reputation, Gateway will help find suitable partner organizations.

Contract Negotiations

Contracts for SOR relationships must cover many legal and practical contingencies and provisions, whether for the SOR or the non-accredited organization. Gateway has the experience to advise on these issues. We shall assure that your SOR relationship aligns with standards of good practice as defined by, for example, the Forum on Education Abroad and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO).

Developing Academic & Operational Protocols

Academic and operational protocols must be drafted in detail as supplements to the SOR contract. The protocols govern reciprocal responsibilities in areas such as academic standards, curricular review and course approvals, faculty credentialing and approvals, transcript processing, transcript fee processing, reporting, and periodic onsite assessment and evaluation.

Transcripts & Credit Transfer Processing

At the heart of any SOR relationship is the attribution of academic credit for work completed at the partner organization. Gateway can provide guidance on the technical matters of recognizing, converting, tracking, reporting, and validating academic credits earned by students as well as the corresponding tasks of validating, generating, conveying, and billing transcripts.

Assessment Reporting & Onsite Evaluations

Gateway can assist in preparing for and managing the assessment processes inherent in any SOR relationship. From generating self-study assessment reports to preparing for or conducting onsite assessment visits by SOR administrative and faculty leaders, Gateway provides the academic and administrative expertise necessary for successful implementation of SOR self-assessment, quality control, and onsite evaluation.

Communications & External Relations

Gateway can provide professional guidance on implementing effective marketing and communication strategies so that students and their institutions will know that the coursework on offer is vetted and easily credited and transcripted.

Training & Professional Development

Gateway can also provide the training and professional development needed to manage the School of Record relationship. Such training provides technical expertise to both the SOR and the onsite organization. For the former, Gateway focuses on the training needed by institutional and academic leadership, the Office of the Registrar, the Education Abroad Office, and the faculty and academic staff charged with managing the relationship. For the latter, Gateway provides training in the many monitoring, reporting, and academic oversight responsibilities that are necessary to sustain quality, reputation, and a positive working relationship with the SOR.

Getting Started

Gateway’s School of Record services fall in two distinct categories. We support: 1.) Non-accredited organizations seeking to establish an SOR relationship, and 2.) Accredited institutions seeking to provide SOR services. 

  1.  

Gateway will assign a team of knowledgeable professionals to each client. The team will initially review our client’s international programming and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of pursuing an SOR relationship. For organizations, our initial focus will be on assessing the impact an SOR relationship will have on student enrolment, academic offerings, and reputation. For potential SOR institutions, our initial focus will be on assessing the institution’s capacity to offer SOR transcripts. In all cases, Gateway will advise toward maximizing opportunities for international learning and engagement.

 

We understand that each institution is unique and has its own needs, and that is why Gateway’s services are customized for each of our clients to accommodate differences in institutional culture, size, and scope. The process is straightforward. Simply select among Gateway’s three service options to find the one that best meets the needs of your circumstances and we will propose a tailored packaged. Whatever your international engagement profile, we will become experts on your policies, procedures, and systems to offer you peace of mind regarding your future School of Record relationship.

OPTION A: Referral Services
Gateway can act as a referral service, leveraging our wide network of college and university contacts from which organizations can build a School of Record relationship, or our network of program and instructional provider organizations for potential Schools of Record seeking a partner. Gateway will prioritize introductions where academic alignment is clear and shared interests drive collaboration. Contracts are typically fixed term and based on a one-time fee.
OPTION B:  Development Services
Gateway can assist in designing, building, and launching your SOR relationship. Gateway can provide direct support in building a sustainable SOR relationship, to include relationship negotiation and the development of essential systems and structures to ensure smooth implementation. Services are tailored specifically to the needs of our clients. Referral services may or may not be needed, depending on whether a potential partner institution has already been secured. Contracts are typically fixed term and based on a one-time fee.

OPTION C: Management Services

Upon development, Gateway will become a full partner in initiating, building, and managing your School of Record relationship. This includes assisting with continuous oversight and evaluation processes. Contracts are typically fixed-term and based on an annual fee. The annual fee is calculated on a base fee that is supplemented by per-student usage.

Our Expertise

Gateway International Group offers experienced international professionals who bring extensive knowledge of School of Record relationships. Led by Drs. Scott Blair and Jeremy Geller, and supported by a team of industry professionals, Gateway will assign a team of specialists as needed to meet your goals. Gateway operates in accordance with established best practices, including those set forth by, for example, the Forum on Education Abroad, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO), and the six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Dr. Scott Blair​

Senior Consultant

Based in Paris, Dr. Scott G. Blair has over 30 years of onsite professional experience as instructor, experiential educator, faculty trainer, academic dean, director of assessment, and resident director. He exercised leadership positions and academic oversight responsibilities vis-à-vis the implementation of the School of Record protocols governing education abroad providers.

Dr. Jeremy Geller

Senior Consultant

Dr. Jeremy R. Geller is a senior leader in international education with broad expertise and experience in education abroad design, delivery, and assessment, as well as international student and scholar services. He has held senior leadership positions at the University of New Haven, Ramapo College, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has successful management experience with SOR relationships.

Dr. Dimeji Togunde

Advisory Consultant

A respected leader with over twenty years of experience in international education, Dr. ‘Dimeji R. Togunde is currently Vice Provost for Global Education and Professor of International Studies at Spelman College, where he leads the campus internationalization and its assessment.

Ms. Daniela Ascarelli

Advisory Consultant

Ms. Daniela Ascarelli is a higher education leader with over 20 years developing global strategies for universities including creating meaningful mutually beneficial partnerships.

Our Costs

Gateway understands the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on institutions and organizations around the world and as such, prioritizes efficiency and affordability in our pricing. Our prices are flexible and tailored, generally determined on project scope and expectations. Gateway is prepared to navigate future uncertainties in higher education and be as flexible as possible in the best interests of our client partnerships.

Let's get started

Gateway stands ready to work with you on providing affordable, cost-effective solutions to meet your international regulatory compliance needs. Contact us today to start the conversation.

The Gateway Pledge

Gateway International Group has made the commitment to allocate 5% of all revenue to support traditionally underrepresented student participation in international learning and engagement. We have designated the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) as a recipient of funds gathered through Gateway Education Abroad. FEA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides scholarships and ongoing support to students who are underrepresented in U.S. education abroad.

Scott G. Blair

AFFILIATE

Scott G. Blair, PhD, is a seasoned scholar-practitioner in the design, delivery, and assessment of experiential learning programs in education abroad. Based in Paris, his professional life spans some 30+ years as instructor, Academic Director, Director of Assessment, and consultant for US study abroad providers. He recently served as Resident Director at Boston College Paris; Director of Assessment & Sustainability at TEAN; Research & Scholarship Network Leader for the Teaching, Learning & Scholarship Knowledge Community of NAFSA; and member of the Board of Directors at NSEE (National Society for Experiential Education).

With a special focus on designing and delivering programs that foster sustainability literacy in today’s anxious students, he advocates for assessing student learning outcomes in terms of climate sustainability, biodiversity, global health, and human equity. His research on assessing experiential learning, intercultural competence, global learning, and sustainability literacy has appeared in Frontiers, Routledge, Stylus, EAIE Forum, and CAPA publications and he is a frequent speaker at NAFSA, Forum, and EAIE conferences on learning outcomes assessment and study abroad program design aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

He served on the faculties of the University of New Haven, the Institut National des Sciences Politiques, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, and the American University of Paris. Scott Blair holds a doctorate in history from the Sorbonne, an MA in European history from Georgetown University, and a BA in English from Miami of Ohio.

Jeremy Geller

AFFILIATE

Dr. Jeremy R. Geller is a senior leader in international education with broad expertise and experience in education abroad design, delivery, and assessment, as well as international student and scholar services and experiential learning. He has held senior leadership positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and the University of New Haven. Among duties at New Haven was management and improvement of a successful School of Record partnership, leading faculty in review of partner credentials, infrastructure, and curriculum, and working closely with university registrar, finance, executive, and other structures, while assuring fairness and goodwill with partner leadership and on-site personnel. He began his career in international education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where he was lead author on a successful U.S. DoE UISFL grant, managed a five-college consortium for study in India, and led international student services. With a bachelor’s degree cum laude in anthropology from Vassar College and masters and doctorate in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, he has taught anthropology, archaeology, and work-based learning. The bulk of his archaeological fieldwork was conducted at Hierakonpolis, an early seat of Egyptian kingship, where he discovered and identified through collaboration with palaeochemists the (then) oldest known brewery in the world.

’Dimeji R. Togunde

AFFILIATE

‘Dimeji R. Togunde, PhD, is vice provost for global education & professor of international studies at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he leads the campus internationalization and its assessment. He has over 20 years of strategic leadership experience in developing global studies curriculum, expanding access to international education, student learning outcomes, faculty development, accreditation and strategic initiatives for diversity and inclusion in global education. He directed the recently concluded and successful Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Spelman College, known as Spelman Going Global! which was the centerpiece of the College’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). His leadership has produced reputational gains for Spelman College as a hub for global learning through several awards and recognitions that include the 2017 Senator Paul Simon award for campus internationalization; Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in international education from Diversity Abroad in 2018; and the IIE’s Generation Study Abroad Seal of Excellence in 2019. He received his PhD in development sociology from Cornell University.

Daniela Ascarelli

AFFILIATE

Daniela Ascarelli is an experienced higher education professional with strong budgetary experience, strong communication skills and strong people skills. She enjoys working with diverse stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, donors, and other funding agencies in order to find both opportunities and solutions that will allow institutions to articulate and impliment their global strategy.  She has worked with both undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, including law schools and colleges of medicine

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Stephen Appiah-Padi​

AFFILIATE

Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

Areas of Specialization:

– Education Abroad
– International Education Leadership Development
– Intercultural Education and Engagement
– International Partnership & Linkage, particularly with African HEIs

Rosa Almoguera

AFFILIATE

Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.