Effective July 1, 2023, ECA (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) at the State Department is ending its policy that permitted temporary modifications of exchange visitor programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All program participants are expected to comply with the regulations and return to predominantly in-person program activities, including in-person classes for the education requirement. More information about the return to in-person activities can be found here.
Can I still take online classes?
Online courses generally do not meet the educational requirement for au pairs. However, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognizes that there are rare, extenuating circumstances that may be beyond the control of program participants. In such cases, au pairs may take a maximum of one (1) online course per program year only when circumstances justify doing so (e.g., long commute to school). Au pairs should not be required by host families, sponsors, agents, and/or third parties to take online courses. Be advised that this exception is subject to change per ECA directives. Please check back here for updates before enrolling.
What about hybrid classes?
Au pairs can take in-person classes with virtual components (known as hybrid classes) that predominantly require in-person student attendance. To be considered in-person, remote participation may account for no more than 40% of the course. At least 60% of course participation must be in-person.
Why are in-person classes important?
All au pairs should be strongly encouraged to prioritize in-person classes, as exchange programs are expected to be predominantly in person. The educational program component provides au pairs with a valuable opportunity to interact with American peers in a classroom setting, enhancing their educational and cultural experience.
What about au pairs who are currently enrolled in online classes?
Au pairs in active status on or before June 30, 2023, may continue hybrid educational programs up to December 31, 2023. New au pairs with a program begin date on July 1, 2023, or thereafter are expected to adhere to this Guidance Directive.
Can Agent Au Pair make an exception for me?
Agent Au Pair does not have the authority to change or modify program regulations. We empathize with those of you who may find this adjustment challenging. We encourage all program participants to maintain a positive outlook and embrace the opportunity to be in-person again.
As part of the J-1 visa program, au pairs are required to complete an educational requirement:
Au Pairs are required to take at least 6 semester credits or 72 hours at an accredited post-secondary university in the United States. TutorCare Au Pairs are required to take 12 semester credits at an accredited post-secondary university. Au pairs who extend their visa are required to take additional credits. If the au pair extends 6 months, they are required to take an additional 3 credits. If the au pair extends 9 or 12 months, they are required to take an additional 6 credits.
You are able to take ESL courses to improve your English skills, test preparation classes to help prepare you for further education, enrichment courses to learn more about American culture and more.
Au pairs can take their classes at a post-secondary university:
Generally any course that is offered to a full-time student for which a school has assigned a set credit value that the student will receive upon completion. We will count the credits that the school assigned to the course.
A non-credit course is a course that a school has not assigned a set credit value to. These are usually offered through the community or continuing education departments of colleges and universities. We will count the classroom hours of the course since no credits are assigned to the course and go by the educational standard that 12 hours = 1 credit. A noncredit course might also be offered for continuing education units (CEU1). We will count 1 CEU = 1 credit if it is offered through a post-secondary accredited institution.
Completion of Educational Requirement for Extending Au Pairs
Au pairs should have fully completed at least 3 credits or 36 classroom hours by the time they apply for extension,. If an au pair has not completed the full 6 credit hours or 72 classroom hours when they apply for extension (3-4 months before program end) they need to prove that they are enrolled and on track to complete the requirement before their current program ends. If the AP has not completed all requirements by 30 days before the end of her program she will not be allowed to extend.
Tuition and Transportation Expenses
Host families are responsible for paying up to $500 towards tuition costs and related material for au pairs to complete their educational requirement for the first year. TutorCare au pairs receive up to $1,000 for their educational requirements for the first year. If the educational expenses cost more, then the au pairs are required to pay for the additional expenses. Host families are required to pay for the transportation for au pairs to get to their classes, including gas, parking, or public transportation. The transportation cost is in addition to the $500/$1,000 allowance for tuition and related material.
Finding a School for Au Pair Educational Requirement
- U.S. Department of Education Office of Post-Secondary Education at: ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation at: www.chea.org/directories
- For a list of available universities and courses in your area, please click here to visit our state specific resources page.
Courses Across the United States
Learning Across America
The LEARNING ACROSS AMERICA program is the result of Borough of Manhattan Community College and Cultural Hi-Ways teaming up to help you meet your educational requirement! Their goal is simple: to provide you with fun, convenient and reasonably priced learning that takes you beyond the classroom as you travel to the very destinations you choose to study.
View Available Courses: learningacrossamerica.net/find-your-class
Experience Au Pair Weekend
Au Pair Weekend (APW) courses combine learning with fun activities, community engagement, and field trips, in a choice of nine major U.S. cities. These courses are offered through accredited schools of higher education and can satisfy the U.S. Department of State au pair education requirement. It’s easy to earn all of the educational hours required for one year by completing one or two of our weekend classes! Whichever city you choose, you will engage in exciting learning opportunities throughout that area with a combination of fun activities, community engagement, and field trips.
View Available Courses: www.aupairclasses.org
Au Pair Academy
Monroe College is an accredited degree-granting post-secondary academic institution that allows us to issue education hours /credits certificates to au pairs.
View Available Classes: monroecollege.edu/admissions-and-aid/how-apply/au-pair-academy
Classroom Au Pair
Weekend classes designed with au pairs in mind! All of their classes are offered through accredited post-secondary institutions. They offer classes in: Jersey City, NJ, New York City, NY, Orlando, FL, Oahu, HI, Las Vegas, NV, and Miami, FL.
Click here to find a list of courses available: classroomaupair.org
BMCC Au Pair Experience
BMCC Au Pair Experience is an educational program for au pairs, offering classes that focus on travel, cultural exchange, and cultural comparison. They also have classes to support au pairs with career preparation, stress management, and English as a Second Language
View Available Courses: www.campusce.net/aupair/category/category
PACE offer a wide range of interesting courses, many different times for you to take classes, and special pricing just for you! Courses are in both our New York City and White Plains locations.
Click here to find a list of courses available: www.pace.edu/eli/english-language-programs/au-pairs