Reporter: 2 Schools Are "Massive Academic Rip-Off" for Foreign Students

By David North, December 28, 2015

Related: Chinese-Run U.S. School for Indian Foreign Students Reaps Profits of $30 Million a Year

Some would-be F-1 students from India have been shipped home, and others barred from taking flights to the U.S., in what may be another visa mill scandal in California's Bay Area.

The two educational institutions involved are Silicon Valley University (SVU), and the somewhat bigger Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU). Both institutions are run largely by Chinese Americans, and both are largely attracting students from India – the same basic pattern as was found a couple of years ago in the ICE-closed Tri-Valley University and in Herguan University, whose founder, owner and former CEO has been sent to jail for immigration fraud.

Tri-Valley and Herguan are also in the Bay Area. Yet another Chinese-run, Indian-attended visa mill, the University of Northern Virginia, was closed by state authorities and subsequently de-listed by the slow-moving Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a subset of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to The Indian Express:

Nineteen students . . . were prevented by Air India staff from boarding a flight bound to San Francisco as officials said two universities in which they had taken admission had been blacklisted by the U.S. government . . . Two batches of students who had traveled earlier were detained for several hours at airports in the U.S., their student visas revoked and they deported.

Federal authorities, according to Indian press accounts, would only say that the two universities were under review. Meanwhile both institutions (as of December 28) remain on the SEVP-issued list of entities entitled to issue the I-20, the document that leads to an F (foreign student) visa, and both have proclaimed that they are in the good graces of DHS.

Meanwhile, a U.S.-based reporter for The Times of India, Chidanand Raighatta, visited the two campuses and reported under the headline "In Silicon Valley a dodgy Chinese-Telugu alliance":

"The schools have issued statements denying they have been blacklisted and maintain they are legitimate institutions. Technically, they are correct. They have a campus, a faculty, classroom instruction, and valid accreditation. But they are sketchy in the extreme and seem to just about make the cut in terms of legitimacy.

Even a cursory tour of the institutions and interviews with students points to a massive academic rip-off where getting a good education and earning a degree is secondary to immigration. These are basically education warehouses, diploma mills that are acting as turnstiles for hopeful immigrants.

Telugu is one of the main Indian languages and prevails in much of the southeastern part of the nation. The writer said that the lingua franca of the two California campuses was Telugu.

A review of the two universities' websites shows that NPU is the older and larger of the two institutions and has a more detailed description of itself. The SVU websites lists 21 faculty members and in only seven instances does it have a photo of the teacher. The NPU site shows the academic resumes of the faculty, and SVU one does not. Of the three faculty members bearing the title of professor at SVU, two of them are also on the faculty of the nearby Santa Clara University, a Jesuit entity. The two secured unimpressive ratings from their Santa Clara students.

Both NPU and SVU are nonprofit entities, and each filed forms 990 (these are annual financial reports) with IRS in recent years. Herguan, Tri-Valley, and the University of Northern Virginia are, or were, for-profit entities. The remarkable financial report of NPU will be covered in a subsequent blog.