Washington/New Delhi: Another US educational
institution with hundreds of Indian students has come under the
scanner with dozens of agents raiding offices at the University of
Northern Virginia. This prompted the US embassy in New Delhi to
urge prospective Indian students to thoroughly research
educational institutes based in US.
Based in Annandale, a Washington suburb, it is an unaccredited,
for-profit private university that calls itself the "most popular
American university for students from India".
Some 2,400 students of which 90 percent are from India, mostly
from Andhra Pradesh, are registered at three locations in northern
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Thursday removed boxes
of documents from a building on Little River Turnpike where the
university leases two suites.
However, unlike in the case of "sham" Tri-Valley University in
California, US authorities have assured that the interests of
Indian students would be protected.
Given the experience of TVU, the focus of investigations here is
not the students, but the school, officials said making it clear
that there would be no arrest, detention or electronic monitoring
They also said that the university would not be immediately shut
down as it has been given a months' notice to explain.
The students have three options: continue at the university while
it functions, seek transfer to another university or seek
voluntary return to India.
The university temporarily can't accept any foreign students,
reads a notice posted on the door of the offices. UNVA students
must leave the country immediately if they are unable "to continue
to attend classes and maintain their active status in a manner
required by federal government regulations", the notice reads.
"Today, officials from ICE's Student and Exchange Visitor
Programme (SEVP) served University of Northern Virginia officials
with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) UNVA's authorization to
admit foreign students," ICE spokeswoman Cori W. Bassett said in a
The school was told it can no longer participate in that
programme, but no specific reason was disclosed.
No charges have been filed nor people arrested but the school is
being investigated to see whether it conforms to federal
regulations for the administration of student visas. The school is
not closed, and students can attend classes.
If the investigation discovers the school improperly handled
student visas, the school could face severe penalties.
In New Delhi, the US embassy urged prospective Indian students to
thoroughly research educational institute based in US before
taking admission in a bid to prevent any fraud.
"The US government urges all prospective students to fully
research their chosen educational institutes and have a firm grasp
of what is and is not permitted under a student visa," a statement
released by the embassy here said.
"All students must be aware that lack of physical attendance at
classes (taking only online courses is not acceptable), failure to
maintain a full course load and unauthorized employment will
result in an immediate violation of status," the statement added.
According to the embassy, the number of Indian students who have
applied for visas to study in US increased by 20 percent over the
same period last year.
It went on to say that violating the terms of a visa can result in
deportation, arrest and even a bar on future travel to the
According to the embassy, over 100,000 Indian students are
currently studying at universities across the US, and thousands
more will join them in the coming academic year.
(Arun Kumar can be
contacted at email@example.com)