Obscure Universities (One Now Closed) Got Far More OPTs than the Ivies

By David North on January 31, 2017

In a previous posting, we suggested that the new president could open up 180,000 jobs for U.S. resident by closing down the Optional Practical Training program, which gives recently graduated foreign students up to three years of legal working status after they finish their studies.

While most of the 180,000 jobs would be reasonably well paid, there are several thousand exceptions as the loosely-managed OPT program gave legal working status to many graduates of questionable institutions.

In the table below, we show some university-specific data on the award of the longest of the OPT working permits; they had 29-month durations at the time. These valuable permits went to alien alums with STEM degrees, i.e., in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Universities Number of
OPT/STEM Extensions,
2009-2013
Ownership
 
The Obscure Four    
 
Stratford University
Falls Church, Va.
1,697 For-profit, ownership is masked
 
Northwestern Polytechnic University
Fremont, Calif.
722 Nominal "non-profit"with 73%
profit rate in 2014;
also a former employer of
the jailed Jerry Wang (see below)
 
Silicon Valley University
San Jose, Calif.
623 Nominal "non-profit"
 
Herguan University
Sunnyvale, Calif.
383
Owned by family of jailed founder, Jerry Wang (since closed by DHS)
 
Total for Obscure Four 3,425  
 
The Ivy Three    
 
Harvard 159 Non-profit
 
Princeton 80 Non-profit
 
Yale 67 Non-profit
 
Total for Ivy Three 306  


Source: DHS data secured by the Center for Immigration Studies through a FOIA request.

During the five fiscal years 2009 to 2013, more than 3,400 of these permits went to graduates (or maybe "graduates") of four obscure universities, all of whom had been accredited by the American Council of Independent Schools and Colleges (ACICS), while only 306 of these permits were awarded to graduates of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

ACICS has since been disowned by the U.S. Department of Education (for its loose standards) and three of the four obscure entities are now struggling to find other accreditation.

One of the Obscure Four, which alone had more OPT-STEM extension permits than the three listed Ivy schools put together, Herguan University, has since been put out of business by the Department of Homeland Security. It took DHS well over four years to terminate Herguan, despite the fact that it had been raided by DHS agents, and its founder, former owner, and former president, Jerry Wang, was sentenced to a year in the federal penitentiary for his Herguan-related immigration crimes. After Wang was indicted, but before he went to jail, he was hired by Northwestern Polytechnic University in what can only be called a remarkable academic decision.

Only a minority of the OPT certificates are issued by questionable institutions; the vast majority come from fully credentialed institutions. These jobs in virtually every case could have been filled by U.S. residents but were not, partially because Uncle Sam, as described in the earlier posting, excuses OPT employers from paying the normal payroll taxes, making the aliens an apparent bargain.