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Where Not to Go to College

Vision Statement

Wondering where not to go to college? Looking to discover what kind of college or university programs will not enhance your career prospects? Recent news about Tri-Valley University highlights the prevalence of businesses calling themselves colleges and universities that students in search of educational advancement would do well to avoid.

Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, Cal. in January, calling it a sham and a front for providing immigration documents to foreigners. This alleged fraud started like many others with a proprietor gaining federal approval for a small enterprise and then expanding it in short order to a mammoth operation.

Tri-Valley received approval to issue F-1 visas in May 2009 for 30 students; its student body was 11 strong at the time. By May 2010, the number soared to 939, according to the complaint issued against Tri-Valley. More than half of those students were reported to reside in a single apartment. The apartment manager said no students had lived in that apartment since Aug. 2009.

It’s easy to look at Tri-Valley’s illiterate website in hindsight and wonder how anyone was deluded into believing that a so-called university so steeped in illiteracy was going to provide a credible education. But the shocking fact is that Tri-State is not alone.

Alhambra Beauty College, has been Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)-authorized since Feb. 2009 and is eligible to provide federal student financial assistance as well, according to its website. It is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences. While it purports to be a postsecondary level educational institution, quotes from its website suggest otherwise:

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” Interview is required prior to be accpeted for admission.”

At ABC, hands-on practice at our great location significantly strengthen our students’ ability to adapt into real-world envrionment for employment in the beauty industry…”

As for federal student financial assistance, it says: ” The purpose of the financial aid programs is to make it possible for students who qualify and would normally be deprived of an opportunity for education due to funding problem.”

Alhambra apparently also offers what it calls financial aid via installment contract: “We offer our students to make installment payments zero interest and without third party garantee or collateral within the period of study.

The Tri-Valley case shows how vulnerable foreigners seeking admission to the United States are when an organization calling itself a university dangles a visa as bait. Here’s a quick look at some other so-called colleges and universities that received SEVIS I-20 authorization to issue visas by ICE and appear to lack basic competency:

Agape International Leadership Institute is advertised on the internet as an I-20 school. Rather than advertise its educational merits, it advertises its ability to get foreign students into the country. Isn’t that a little suspect?

The Diploma for Associate of Practical Ministry offered by Agape is “For who are actively involved in church services, have experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, desire training in spiritual gifts and biblical truth.”

Agape’s course content includes Prophetics, in which the student receives “training and equipping in prophetic ministries includes dreams, visions, words of knowledge, and hearing God’s voice. Learn how to receive, to interpret as well as using the gift to serve others.

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And, you bet it offers visas: “To qualified full time international students, AILI will issue an I-20 that visa type is M-1.”

Most universities publish a vision statement, and this is the vision statement of California Takshila University, SEVIS-approved since Feb. 2010:

To achieve perfection in education making each student module for social change and perfectionist to the changing facets of the society. Each or our students will be a hall bearer of our mettle to the betterment of society.”

Say what? Is this another one of those so-called colleges a student interested in literacy might want to avoid?

California Takshila says it offers a biopreneur program ” for the people who wish to learn more about biotech business, start their own, increase their wealth by investing in biotech business and simply enjoy being part of a highly intellect driven industry.”

The website says about the man who coined the term biopreneur: “Later he made the term more familiarize through his yearlong column in a magazine Called Bioventure…”

One of the loftier goals of this program is this one: “Develop means for the individual and institutional investors have access to true understanding of triple-bottom line return concept and opportunities that a biotech business can offer for their life and their grand children lives.”

California Takshila suggests its bio programs are needed because: “Bio- business comprises over $10 trillion or 30 percent of global economic activity that globally.

This “university” purports to offer a post-baccalaureate MBA degree: “Offers a comprehensive program designed for the professionals who are pressed with time and need wider flexibility. Programs has allows students to best use of technologies, mentorship and practical street-learning that they can bring to their professional for individual growth as well as corporate productivity.”

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Caveat Emptor (“let the buyer beware”) is a phrase that used to apply in the consumer context. These days, it applies in the educational context as well.