Homestay Policies: Families
The following policies are required for all PIA host families. Please review them to ensure that you are able to follow all of the program’s requirements.
1. All host families must complete and/or provide the following prior to hosting: 1) application and agreement; 2) background check (all persons in the household aged 18 or older); 3) photographs of family members, the home, and the student bedroom; 4) Form W-9; and 5) home visit by PIA staff.
2. Host families must maintain a safe, caring, and comfortable living environment. Common areas shall be clean, orderly, and free of strong odors.
3. Host families must provide students with the following: 1) a private bedroom with a door and storage for clothing and personal items; 2) access to private or shared bathroom facilities; 3) access to a study space in the bedroom or common area; 4) WiFi internet access in the student bedroom; 5) meals or food to prepare meals for three meals per day; and 6) access to household facilities and basic supplies. For high school programs, students may be placed in a double room when approved by PIA.
4. Host families may ask students to assist with daily chores. Host families cannot expect students to completely maintain their house or yard, babysit their children or cook all the family’s meals.
5. No smoking should be allowed inside the home. Host families may permit smoking outside.
6. Host families are responsible for paying all household utilities, such as electricity, water, internet, cable, and telephone. Students should have access to a telephone for local calls but must make their own arrangements for international or long distance calling.
7. Host families can require students to take public transportation to PIA as long as the total commute time to school is no longer than one hour and fifteen minutes, including wait times, transfers, and walking. If these conditions are not met, host families must provide daily transportation to and from the bus stop or to campus. Host families cannot charge students for transportation.
8. For high school programs, host families must drive students to and from campus daily. High school students are not permitted to independently take public transportation unless approved by PIA and the high school.
Stipend and Tax
9. Host families receive a monthly stipend. For periods shorter than one month, the stipend is paid at a pro-rated nightly rate.
10. The stipend is intended to cover the living costs for the student. This should be used toward all normal expenses. Host families are not permitted to require any additional payments from students. This includes shopping, dining out, etc., when it is a normal activity. For example, if a host family goes out for pizza instead of cooking, it is expected that the family pays for the student.
11. Students can be asked to pay for extra or special items that they choose to purchase. For example, a student may ask the host family to go shopping at an Asian market and could be asked to pay for their purchases.
12. PIA cannot guarantee student placements each term or replacements should a student move out. The stipend should be supplemental income and not relied upon for mortgage or other payments.
13. Homestay stipends for the first month are distributed within one week of the student’s arrival. Thereafter, homestay checks are distributed each month on the date of the student’s move in. PIA only issues homestay checks after payment is received from the student. PIA will notify host families of any delays due to non-payment. All homestay payments must be paid through PIA.
14. PIA must have a valid W-9 on file before any stipend payment is processed. Stipend payments are made by check issued to the host parent with the W-9 on file. Homestay checks can be picked up at PIA on the same date that the student moved into homestay (i.e. every 19th). If that date falls on a weekend or holiday, the check will be available the next business day. Any checks that have not been collected by noon each Friday will be mailed to the host family unless otherwise arranged.
15. A Form 1099-MISC will be provided at the end of each calendar year for host families that receive $600 or more in homestay stipends in accordance with government regulations. Host families are responsible for their own tax reporting and PIA cannot advise host families on their tax requirements.
Changes, Cancellation, and Refunds
16. Host families must inform PIA of any changes to the information provided on their application, especially regarding pets or changes in the family composition, as this can impact student placement. Any new adult member in the household is subject to a background check.
17. Host families are required to provide PIA with a Two Weeks’ Notice form signed by their student(s) if they are no longer able to host the student(s) or request that the student(s) be moved from their home. Failure to provide two weeks’ notice may affect a family’s eligibility to host future students. The two-week period may be waived for families that request for their student(s) to be moved due to policy violations by the student(s) or emergency situations as determined by PIA.
18. Host families must refund to PIA a pro-rated amount of the homestay stipend paid for the period after the student moves out. PIA will provide the host family with this calculation. The refund is due upon the student moving out.
Vacations or Leaving Temporarily
19. Host families are required to notify PIA at least one week in advance if they are going to be out of town for more than 3 days. Should a host family need to leave immediately for an urgent situation (i.e. family emergency), the host family must inform PIA promptly.
20. For high school programs, host families should not travel out of town during the students stay. In case of an emergency, host families must notify PIA immediately so that the students can be moved.
21. Host families are prohibited from arranging for PIA students to move directly into their home. All placements must be arranged through PIA.
22. PIA strives not to place students from the same country or who speak the same native language to be placed in the same host family, except for high school students who are often placed in pairs or groups. Host families must inform PIA if they are or will be hosting international students from other organizations before accepting a placement from PIA
23. Host families are not permitted to ask students to sign any contracts or leases. This includes any rental agreements for the apartment or residence. Host families are responsible for ensuring that they are permitted to host students under their rental agreements or leases.
24. A host family does not assume legal guardianship of a student, so it is not necessary or appropriate to sign any medical documentation as the students’ guardian. For students under the age of 18, contact PIA about the legal guardian. Host families should not sign any document assuming financial responsibility for medical care. PIA strongly encourages that all students purchase health insurance and keeps a copy of their policy, if available, on file.
25. Instances of damage occurring between the student and homestay participants should be settled between the parties involved. All involved parties are to be held accountable to applicable laws and regulations.