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Another US varsity comes under scanner

Barely six months after the Tri-Valley University in California was declared a “sham university”, United States authorities on Wednesday raided the University of Northern Virginia's Annandale (UNVA) on charges of fraud.

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2011 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent

Barely six months after the Tri-Valley University in California was declared a “sham university”, United States authorities on Wednesday raided the University of Northern Virginia's Annandale (UNVA) on charges of fraud.

In a day-long exercise, dozens of officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation, raided offices the campus in the suburbs of Washington. They took away with them a large number of boxes full of documents and computer hard drives from its administrative division. The university, believed to be unaccredited, has about 2,400 students of which 90% are from India --- with an overwhelming majority from Andhra Pradesh.

India has asked the US government to ensure students are not victimised in any manner. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/30_07_11-metro10c.jpg

Sources said the UNVA was authorised to issue I-20 forms to about 50 students, but had issued and enrolled a larger number of students. I-20 is a document required in order to obtain a student visa or status.

"ICE has served the UNVA a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) its authorisation to admit foreign students," said spokeswoman Cori W Bassett.

The university declined to comment, neither did it communicate with students and staff. It, however, posted a notice at the entrance informing that the university was still open, but students had the choice to move to other varsities.

The university temporarily can't accept any foreign students, read the notice.

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 read.

"We have been told that the focus of investigations is not on the students but on the UNVA," said an official from the ministry of external affairs.

US officials have assured the Indian embassy that no arrest, detention or electronic monitoring of students would happen. They also said the university would not be shut down immediately, and would be given a month’s notice for an explanation.

(With agency inputs)