“Indian Embassy in Washington Warns Students of Fake University Traps”

indica News Bureau-

The Indian Embassy in Washington has issued an advisory urging Indian students to exercise due diligence while seeking admission to United States universities.

The advisory was released early this week after the Indian government saw hundreds of international students on F-1 Visa (The visa which allows students to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college), were victims of the “fake” universities set up by US law enforcement agencies in recent years. The advisory was issued in an attempt to prevent students from falling into such “traps.”

According to the advisory, the Indian government warns students that even if the educational institution is listed as an accredited university and is included in relevant US authorities such as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), it is not an assurance in itself about the legitimacy of a university.

The US law enforcement says these Universities are run by undercover law enforcement agents of the US, who pose as owners and employees of the university.

The sole objective of such operations is to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud in the US.

The most recent examples of such universities are the University of Northern New Jersey set up in 2013 and Farmington University established in 2015 by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the Department of Homeland Security of the United States. In both cases, a number of Indian students enrolled into these Universities, paid the required tuition fee and were granted an F-1 visa as well as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) permission.

These Indian students, many of whom claimed later that they were unaware of the illegitimacy of these universities, were subsequently detained by US law enforcement agencies and subjected to deportation proceedings. They were accused of having violated the US immigration laws and of knowingly remaining enrolled in a “fake” university for the sole purpose of continuing their stay in the United States without the intention of pursuing any academic activity.

As a result of this, students are advised to take several other factors into account before seeking admission to a university, some of which are outlined below:

Does the university function from campus or does it merely maintain a website and has administrative premises only? Such universities are not to be regarded as legitimate educational institutions and admission to such universities should be avoided.  

Does the university have faculty and regular instructors/educators? If not, admissions to such universities should be avoided. It may be noted that such universities typically employ only administrative staff and their websites have no information in respect of faculty.

Does the university have a proper curriculum, hold regular classes, and actively implement academic or educational activity? If not, admissions to such universities should be avoided. Students admitted to such universities, even if in possession of regular student visa, may be tried for violation of visa norms and subjected to detention and subsequent deportation from the US.

This advisory is not exhaustive and intended only to provide general guidance to the students in taking the proper steps and making the right decision while seeking admission to US universities.

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