Photo: Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su, founder and president of Tri-Valley University
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been cracking down on the number of so-called “sham universities”, which have been using their status as schools accepting international students as a way to charge immigrant students of them thousands of dollars each in return for students
Schools like Tri-Valley University in California are suspected of preying on those willing to pay for a better life, trusting that school officials promising to provide them with student visas will do just that. However, these visas are usually illegally obtained, and by the time the students realize this their stuck, many afraid to go to law enforcement for fear of being punished for being in the country illegally.
Tri-Valley was shut down by federal authorities after an initial investigation led investigators to believe it was using foreign students to make millions of dollars, while falsifying documentation to provide them with documentation to stay in the country as students.
Many of the students were from India, and Indian officials claimed those receiving the illegally obtained visas were mislead and said the university was at fault, not the students.
Officials have since revamped their investigation and have begun targeting the schools and not the students.
While officials investigate another suspected sham university, the University of Northern Virginia (UNVA), they have given the students three options. They can continue at the university for the month it has been allowed to remain open, transfer to another school, or return to their home country. The students’ visas will not be terminated and will remain valid for the amount of time they were initially allotted and they will be given the opportunity to transfer to another school.