Obscure DHS Statistical Set Reveals Decline of Marginal Colleges

By David North on January 31, 2020

We at CIS report from time to time on the marginal colleges that major in foreign students, creating little education, but a large number of government-subsidized Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permits, thus needlessly taking jobs from citizens and green card holders. We call them compromised colleges.

While the agency in charge of licensing schools that cause the issuance of the F-1 student visas, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a segment of ICE, is a remarkably sleepy one, it does issue some potentially interesting statistics, but you have to look through them as if searching for the proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack.

The haystack in this case is the annual listing of the top 100 schools issuing "Pre+Post OPT Authorizations" in CY 2018. The table below includes data for the 13th through the 19th largest authorizers in that year.

School Alumni and
Students Working
UC Los Angeles 2,643 1,335
UC San Diego 2,415 1,254
Purdue University 2,353 1,191
Northwestern Polytechnic University 2,344 58
University of Florida 2,306 1,183
Illinois Institute of Technology 2,195 1,064
San Jose State University 2,138 1,044

Source: "Top 100 School Campuses with OPT (Pre+Post) Authorizations
by Active SEVIS Records, Calendar Year 2018", SEVP, DHS. In the original,
the heading is "Students Employed". That is misleading as those working
are a combination of "pre" actual students and "post" alumni.

The reader will notice that something is different with Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU) in Fremont, Calif. While the other six institutions had about two students and alumni working for every authorization, the ratio with NPU is 40:1. Why these differing ratios?

The second column is a population figure representing OPT authorizations issued, in some cases several years earlier; the third column is the number of authorizations issued in 2018; that is, within a single year. Thus the comparison of the two figures for NPU represents a substantially reduced number of students at NPU with the passage of time, while the other six appear to have steady student populations.

While NPU is shrinking as an educational institution, it is not as a financial one, with its most recent report to the IRS (the Form 990) showing it with more than a quarter of a billion dollars in reserves, and thus, according to one little-used measure, richer than Harvard, as we noted earlier.

Does the statistical comparison between the columns indicate other schools that appear to be faltering? Yes.

The most obvious one is the now closed Silicon Valley University, which had 1,483 students and alumni using OPT in 2018, but had only 10 authorizations that year, the year that it went bankrupt and was de-licensed by California state regulators.

One school that I know nothing about sticks out with a 4.7:1 authorization ratio, not as bad as NPU, but considerably different from the 2:1 norm. This is the Missouri Innovation Campus of the University of Central Missouri. It is a public institution.

One other university that has been shedding students, Virginia International University, in the D.C. suburbs, was 85th on the list in 2017, but does not appear at all in 2018.