Another Shaky College that Takes Foreign Students Is in Danger of Closing

By David North on February 25, 2019

Another school — a for-profit turned into a non-profit and licensed to teach foreign students — is in danger of closing.

This time it is Argosy University. It has one location in my hometown (Arlington, Va.) and other campuses as well. My sense is that the school is primarily dependent on federal funds from American students, rather than tuition from foreign students, but the local campus's webpage has detailed instructions on how aliens can apply for admission.

News coverage, including by the Washington Post, focuses on how the university may have been holding up funds from the Pell Grant program that are owed to the citizen students; the coverage has not dealt with foreign students, who are not eligible for that program.

As is often the case, the federal government is playing no role in these proceedings.

I called the local unit of Argosy, and asked if it was taking applications from foreign students, and the answer was: "No, not until the question of receivership is resolved."

That's exactly how they should respond, I should add. But they should also edit their webpage to eliminate any reference to international students, which they have not done.

Though the local campus is not accepting foreign students, it remains on the Department of Homeland Security's list of institutions empowered to issue the paper (the Form I-20) that is required for prospective foreign students to apply for a visa. Further, the DHS list includes 19 Argosy campuses, while the Washington Post article cited above says that Argosy has 11 locations. I suspect the Post is right.

The main force in play, other than the sinking economics of these borderline institutions, is the accreditor in this case, WASC Senior College and University Commission, which has issued a show-cause order regarding the financial condition of Argosy's parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings.

Some months from now, if Argosy remains closed to foreign students, the sleepy Student and Exchange Visitor Program, SEVP, an arm of DHS, will take the university off its list of approved schools, but in the meantime it will be carrying out-of-date information for our consular officials abroad who are faced with aliens seeking F-1 visas. If such a student arrives at one of our embassies today bearing an I-20 from Argosy, that alien is likely to get a visa, and on arrival in the United States will become an instant illegal alien.

It is ever thus.