29 Jul 11: University of North Virginia’s Annadale campus, an unaccredited private university, situated in the suburb of Washington DC has been raided by US authorities from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Beaureau of Investigation (FBI). The university is accused of issuing illegal visas to foreign students for admissions in to campus. It is supposed to issue only 50 I-20 forms, but is accused of issuing more than that. If this fraud is proved then the university may have to face heavy penalties.
According to the officials, the total strength of students in the university is 2,400 of which 90 percent are from India, of them majority being from Andhra Pradesh. The federal authorities have already seized all the documents and computer hard drives from the administrative section. The authorities from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) have issued Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NIOW) UNVA’a authorization to admit foreign students. The university is not allowed to take any foreign admissions till the case gets cleared.
Indian foreign Ministry has made it cleared to the US authorities that the Indian students from this university should not detained nor electronically monitored causing any sort of inconvenience, keeping in view the experience of Tri-valley university’s case. The US department has responded positively to the above objections made by the Indian government and said that the focus is on institution and not on students.
Keeping in view the students academic future, the university is not shut down immediately and there will be no mass termination of students from the SEVIS records. The university has declared that students can attend classes as usual or they have the option of changing their university to any other SEVP institution in case they wish to, failing to comply to any of the above suggestions the students should immediately depart from the country.
The students have three options: they can remain in the same university till it is functional or shift to other university or can seek voluntary return to their country. The good news is that, the visa status of the students will not be terminated and will be valid for their present duration.