This is a summary of a longer article for consular officers listing data sources for troubled or unaccredited schools that are on the DHS list of institutions empowered to issue the I-20 form.
The six-step checklist, regarding entities seeking to bring foreign students to the United States, should be only part of the process for making F-1 or M-1 decisions. The fact that an applicant plans to attend an accredited, respectable, or non-marginal institution is not enough in and of itself to qualify that person for a student visa, and all applicants also must demonstrate sufficient financial support and other requirements of the law.
Step One. Is the school on the SEVP-approved list? Check that list, but be aware of the caveats in the longer memo.
Step Two. If the school is unknown to you, you may want to check to see if it is on the Department of Education's list of accredited schools. It's a good sign if it's on the DoE list, but not a conclusive one.
Step Three. If it is a flight school, it will not be on the DoE list, but it should be on the list of training schools approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Step Four. If it is a private, for-profit career college, such as one of the Corinthian College affiliates, you should check the Internet to see if the Department of Education has taken any action against it.
Step Five. If the organization sounds as if it may be marginal, despite the (nearly automatic) SEVP approval, you might check the college's website to see how well it handles the English language. If there are going to be problems in this regard, they usually show up quickly.
Step Six. The Center for Immigration Studies has developed a "Think Thrice" list of nine named educational institutions that are now, or recently have been, in documented trouble with a federal agency, but still have the power either to issue the I-20, or to hire foreign teachers through the H-1B program.
|School and Location||Program at Issue||Nature of Dispute and Source of More Information|
|Herguan University, Sunnyvale, Calif.||Student visas||Raided by ICE, I-20 power suspended and restored, owner on trial in federal court. See this CIS blog.|
|The Institute for Health Education, Jersey City, N.J. (IHE)||Student visas||Five officials on trial. See press release of U.S. Attorney for SDNY.|
|Micropower Career Institute, New York, N.Y.||Student visas||As above; it is an affiliate of IHE|
|Micropower Computer Institute, Linden, N.J.||Student visas||As above; it is an affiliate of IHE|
|International Institute of Health, Beauty and Technology, Lauderhill, Fla.||Student visas||Again, an affiliate of IHE.|
|Dayton Public Schools, Dayton, Ohio||Hiring H-1B teachers||Debarred by U.S. Department of Labor in 2007, but no longer; no additional information is available.|
|East Baton Rouge Parish Public Schools, La.||Hiring H-1B teachers||The schools’ recruitment contractor was sued successfully in federal court. See this Boston Globe article.|
|Garland Independent School District, Texas||Hiring H-1B teachers||Federal agencies are investigating the apparent mis-use of the H-1B program. See this Wall Street Journal article.|
|New Age Training, New York, N.Y.||Pell Grants||This appears to be the only I-20 institution on the DoE Official Cohort Default Rate List.|
Source: Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, D.C., July 2014.
Note: These agencies, as of July 18, 2014, were not debarred from the foreign student or H-1B programs.