Tri-Valley University International Students

What do you do when the university you attend loses accreditation? If you are a US citizen, you go to another university or college, without any hiccups. But, guess what happens to the international student studying at the now defunct university? This is what happened to Tri-Valley University. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cancelled the university’s accreditation. A school needs to be accredited by ICE in order to admit international students to study at their college. The demand for study in the United States is so enormous that there is seemingly ample scope for fraud. Allegedly, over 300 students were enrolled at the University using the same local address. International students need to maintain their status or follow conditions of their visa. They cannot work without authorization; take less than a full course of study; quit school without informing the school; enroll in more than 3 credit hours of online courses; be expelled from school; be suspended; or otherwise fail to follow student regulations. This is rther a broad list of events that can trigger falling out of status.

I also get asked questions about students working. Students can work, but with limits and with permission. In general, the student cannot work the first year. Students can work on campus and off campus. On campus, the student can work the first year, as soon as they are admitted to the school. Students can work in the cafeteria, library or at the bookstore. The place of work must be educationally affiliated to the university. During the school year, only 20 hours of work is permitted during the school year; only full time work is allowed during holidays. International students cannot work on campus if they have finished their coursework. Summer work by international students is allowed provided if they have the required paperwork from their school. Off campus employment is allowed only if the student experiences severe economic hardship and the work is authorized by the school. No off campus employment is allowed in the first year. Other types of employment are curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT). CPT is available after one year of study, which is about 8 to 9 months. The work is related to the course of study and is practical training. There is no CPT to learn English. So CPT is really work study, internship or practical training. The university has to authorize the training with the employer. OPT can be exercised during summer vacation or after completing the coursework. OPT can be full or part time. Unauthorized work will put the student out of status.

Most universities that admit international students follow the rules. Foreign students are required to contact the Designated School Official (DSO) with changes in work, study and permission to leave the country or take fewer hours.

See you in my next blog.

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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