`Lower fees, work permit lured students to Sham Univ`

Lower fee structure and work permit from the first day lured many students from India to opt for the California-based Tri-valley University.

Updated: Feb 03, 2011, 16:10 PM IST

Hyderabad: Lower fee structure and work
permit from the first day lured many students from India to
opt for the California-based Tri-valley University (TVU),
which was shut down by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE), say education consultants.

The university was shut down on charges of a massive
immigration scam by the ICE recently leaving the Indian
students to face the prospect of deportation from the US.

Ninety-five per cent of the students at TVU, dubbed a
"sham university" by US immigration officials, were reported
to be Indian, most of them from Andhra Pradesh.

According to IAEC Consultants, a city-based overseas
educational consultants, the university was chosen by most of
the Indian students because of its fee structure, which is
lesser as compared to other universities.

"TVU`s fee structure is very less when compared to other
universities in USA which charge in the range of USD 15,000 to
USD 20,000 per annum. Also the university basically offers
on-line courses which allow the students to stay at a place
other than the location," IAEC Managing Director, Madhukar
Reddy, told PTI.

Incidentally, IAEC Consultancy has been named as
Tri-valley`s representatives for South Asia region in the
varsity`s website.

However, Reddy denied any links with the university and
said IAEC Consultancy has not sent even a single student to
the institution.

"As per (media) reports, as many as 1500 students (in the
university) are from India. The US government will never issue
visas in such large scale to one single university," he said. Meanwhile, R Ramesh, manager (operations) of Valmiki
Group, which sends between 300-400 students to USA and other
countries every year, said the option of changing universities
after landing in US could also have attracted the students.

"Any international student once landed in USA with a
valid visa can change the university any time. So many
students would have opted Tri-Valley for work permit or low
fee structure," he said.

As per the university website, the fee structure for all
TVU programs was less than USD 1,000.

The university has been offering on-site and online
courses in law, medicine, art, business and engineering to
students since 2008, and boasted a faculty list of over 50
educated professionals in its website.

According to US media reports, the institution had
received approval to issue visas in February 2009 for about 30
students.

In May 2009, the institution had 11 active students, who
had received F-1 visas, and 939 by May 2010, the reports said.

"We had no idea about the university. My sister realised
her mistake only when she visited the university. She
questioned the university authorities and they assured her
that everything would be alright. But the damage has been
done," a relative of a student of the university said.

PTI