Hundreds of Indian students may face deportation after getting ripped off for thousands of dollars, in one of the biggest immigration frauds to hit the U.S. Tri-Valley University (TVU), a shadowy “Diploma Mill” in Pleasanton, California, was recently shut down by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for immigration fraud.
TVU, which enrolls mostly students from Andhra Pradesh, India, was accused of issuing visas expressly so students could work illegally in the U.S. while pretending to go to school.TVU also defrauded students by forcing them to pay their tuition directly into the personal bank account of Ram Krista Karra, an Andhra Pradesh consulting firm owner. Students paid up to $2,800 per semester, with some paying as much as $16,000 up front to obtain a bogus visa and a nonexistent degree.
TVU exploited the scarcity of U.S. visas and their ability to provide F-1 education visas. India was already leading the world in obtaining F-1 visas, sending between 10,000 and 15,000 students per year to U.S. schools. TVU was one of several bogus universities that waived entrance requirements, like GREs, in exchange for up-front bribes (called “fees” by the universities). These schools also sped up the pathway toward legal employment and obtaining a Green Card, allowing students to start working at the same time they started college, when the usual process requires a year in college first.
TVU was founded by Susan Xiao-Ping Su and run by Chinese Christians, with a mission of making “Christian scientists, engineers, business leaders and lawyers for the glory of God.” TVU has never been accredited and students cannot earn a degree. Despite this, they managed to enroll more than 1500 students, and place many in companies across the U.S. Once ICE caught on to the scam in early 2010, they began interrogating students, with some having their passports confiscated, and others being forced to wear tracking devices on their ankles.