Post Farmington University scandal, here's what Indian students need to do before studying in the US
Apprehensions about a US education has set in with the ‘pay-to-stay’ scam at Farmington Univ, that was exposed recently. AP's Representative in North America, Jayaram Komati speaks on it.
In recent years, Indian students have found an easy way of staying back in the US. "The Farmington University case is not the first such incident. We had the California-based Tri-Valley University case in 2011, too,” said Jayaram Komati, Special Representative for North America for the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking on the sidelines at the ThinkEdu Conclave 2019, Komati elaborated on how the students who enroll at Farmington and other such ‘fake’ institutions, land themselves in trouble. “Students from Telugu states who want to come abroad and study don’t do enough research, they don’t go through the right channels and some mom and pop universities in the US offer admission to them. The courses provided are cheaper and they only have to attend a few classes. Parents and students have to think: how good will the education at this college be if there are only two classes weekly?”, he cautioned.
He added that not all students could be tarred with the same brush, “More than 60,000 Indian kids come to the US for higher studies but not all of them face this issue. Why? Loopholes are found, accreditation is created. And students go through some consultancy and find such institutes, to help them shift to H1 visas from their F1 status easily. Lack of research and an easy way to come to the US is what is creating these problems.”
Having been in the US for over 4 decades now, he suggested that one needs to do thorough homework, check institutions of high credibility that are reputed in their desired field of study, for one’s marketability after graduation. “Otherwise, you will find it tough to get a job at a quality firm. Students who follow proper methods will not face any problem,” he said.
When asked if he would call the students involved in the Farmington case ‘victims’, Komati felt it was debatable as the student could claim he would not have taken admission had such a university not existed. He believed most of the students were fully aware of what they were doing and had joined universities with relaxed courses and rules to protect their status and extend their period of stay in the US. He said, “Your studies are done, you have to come back to India. Yes, you have the right to take another admission, another MS. But you did not choose to do it at a proper institution.”
Komati added that being an Indian, he could not say if the US officials (who set up the university as part of their sting) were entirely right but admitted that “we have mistakes on our side.”
Speaking on the tightening visa and immigration norms, Komati said that President Trump is looking out for his people just the way Prime Minister Modi does in India. “Trump has to protect the border, look for loopholes in the visa system and more. He is just checking how people are bypassing their rules,
it is not ‘tightening’. He assured that the US continues to be a largely tolerant country and that it wasn’t anti-immigrant.
He added, “Indians are not taking the Americans’ jobs away. It is not true. There is a huge market. We are technically qualified, we are eligible for white collar jobs. There is no cause for concern.”
In a nutshell
About 600 foreign students, 90 per cent of them Indians, had enrolled themselves with a fake University of Farmington floated by the US authorities under a sting operation. More than 80 per cent of these students were from the two Telugu states. While eight students, who worked as recruiters, were arrested, 129 were kept under administrative detention at different places. They are being sent back to India.
The students in question are international students trying to transition from F-1 student status to H1B work visas on route to a green card.
Jayaram Komati’s tips for students aspiring to study in the US:
"Do your homework, take all the tests. Even if it means another year of waiting. Don’t go to these scam consultancies which mislead you. Even if friends recommend other universities, do your own research."
"One needs the right school, right mind, right channel with a passion to learn; not just a desire to come to the US."
(This story originally appeared on edexlive.com)