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India warns students about fake US universities

Farmington University and University of Northern New Jersey are bogus universities

The Embassy of India Washington has issued an alert about the fake universities in United States of America.

The authorities said the fake US 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.

Citing the examples of fake universities, the Embassy authorities said one of the fake universities is University of Northern New Jersey which was set-up in 2013. Farmington University was another bogus 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 requisite tuition fee and were granted F1 visa as well as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) permission,” Embassy Spokesperson said.

The Indian authorities said that Indian students, many of whom claimed later that they were caught unawares, 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” he said.

The Spokesperson said that in order to ensure that Indian students do not fall into such “traps”, it is advised that due diligence be exercised while seeking admission in US Universities.

“The fact that a University is duly accredited by relevant US authorities such as its inclusion in the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVIS), is not an assurance in itself about the bonafides of a University” he said.

The officials said before seeking admission in a University, students are advised to take into account several other factors, some of which are outlined below:

  • Does the University function from a campus or merely maintains a website and has administrative premises only? If not, such Universities are not to be regarded as a bonafide educational institution and admission into such Universities should be avoided.
  • Does the University have a 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 may 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.

Note: This advisory is not exhaustive and intended only to provide general guidance to the students in taking the right decision while seeking admission in US Universities.

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