Another marginal college with hundreds of F-1 students (most of them alien workers as well) is facing closure because of low standards and a perceptive accrediting agency that noticed what was happening.
This time it is ASA College, with campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Hialeah, Florida; the Florida campus will close next spring, and the two in New York face closure in the near future. (ASA stands for Advanced Software Analysis, though the school lists a variety of majors beyond the computer field.)
The organization denying accreditation is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It has ordered the for-profit institution to stop accepting new students which is a major blow to the finances of colleges such as this one which, typically, get a high percentage of their incomes from new students.
It is not clear just how many foreign students are involved, but we do know that the entity had about 3,000 students at its three operations, and that 22% of them on the Brooklyn campus were reported to be of “non-resident races".
ASA’s problems were also discussed in depth by Documented, an immigration-focused website in New York, which reported:
"...Monday’s announcement is only the latest of a long trail of lawsuits and complaints that have plagued the college for years. Just last year, the college was placed under probation and was in danger of losing its accreditation for failing to keep up with educational standards. The college founder, Alex Shchegol, was fired in 2019 when at least 10 women accused him of sexual harassment and rape. In 2021, Shchegol briefly regained control of the college and fired the entire board of directors, only to resign a few months later. [He remains the owner, however.]
“It’s also not the first time the college has been accused of engaging in false advertisements. In 2014, the New York Legal Assistance Group filed a class action lawsuit against ASA, accusing the college of systematically lying to prospective students by engaging in such practices as inflating the job placement rates, manipulative pricing structures, and misrepresenting the availability of financial aid. ASA was forced to settle the case in 2016 and was required to no longer engage in deceptive advertising.”
It is also in trouble with Middle States for failing to file an ordered “teachout plan;” such a plan outlines how the entity’s current students can finish their educations if the school in question closes.
Despite the fact that the Hialeah campus announced some time ago its coming closure, the ever-alert part of ICE that controls foreign students, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) continued (as of November 14) to list all three ASA campuses as capable of issuing the document (the I-20) which creates a F-1 visa.
These troubled, often for-profit, schools are attractive to a group of not-very-talented alien students because of near-100-percent admissions policies, which gives them legal access to the States and then, for most of those admitted a chance to work – again legally – in this country. Since many of these are graduate students, they not only get an opportunity to work right away, but their employers are exempt from paying payroll taxes, resulting in an 8 percent subsidy at the expense of the Medicare, Social Security, and the Federal Unemployment Insurance programs.
The schools often squeeze the students financially. The Documented report quoted one of the alien students, “I basically didn’t learn anything when I was at that school,” he said. “They weren’t treating me as a human but as a wallet.”
The writer is grateful to Matthew Bonness for calling ASA to his attention.