Washington: A visa scam at Tri Valley
University in California, that has affected hundreds of Indian
students, is just the tip of an iceberg and a large number of
such institutes exit in the US, a probe report here has said.
"Other colleges most of them unaccredited exploit
byzantine federal regulations, enrolling almost exclusively
foreign students and charging them upward of USD 3,000 for a
chance to work legally in the US," said the report released by
Chronicle of Higher Education.
Such educational institute flourish in California and
Virginia, where regulations are lax, and many of their
practises for instance, holding some classes on only three
weekends per semester are unconventional, to say the least,
the report added.
"These colleges usher in thousands of foreign students
and generate millions of dollars in profits because they have
the power, bestowed by the US government, to help students get
visas," it said, adding while these institutions are
well-known among Indian students looking to work full time,
they have managed to go mostly unnoticed in the US.
In more than a dozen interviews to Chronicle, students
at these institutions say that an American degree, any
American degree, will help them get a better job or earn a
promotion back home, the report said.
"They say they choose these unaccredited colleges for
their flexibility, their low cost, academic quality and
because of the recommendations of other students from their
home region. In online forums, students are blunter: What
they actually talk about is who will let them work `from Day
1`," it said.
According to the report, Homeland-security officials
say they are not blind to the existence of other Tri-Valleys,
although they wouldn`t comment on, or even confirm, current
"They concede that regulations governing
foreign-student employment are vulnerable to exploitation.
These areas are ripe for abuse," said a top administrator with
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which monitors 10,300
schools and colleges that grant visa documents.
"We look very closely," it said. "Officials say that
the agency is doing the best it can, given its resources and
authority. An increase in Sevis fees the system is entirely
self-financed will support the creation of a new enforcement
unit focused solely on school and college violations and allow
for the creation of a 60-person team of regionally based
liaisons to act as contacts and more closely monitor colleges
on the ground," the report said.
According to a federal complaint filed in a California
court in January, the TVU had helped foreign nationals, mostly
Indians, illegally acquire immigration status.
The university is said to have 1,555 students. As many
as 95 per cent of these students are Indian nationals. The
university was closed on charges of massive visa fraud.