By Isaac Aregbesola
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it is working towards unveiling new tools to clampdown fraudulent activities in the U.S. international education sector.
Rachel Canty, Deputy Assistant Director Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) of the Department said this during a presentation at the Foreign Press Centre International Reporting Tour of the U.S. Community Colleges and Workforce Development programme in Washington D.C.
The tour was organised by the Foreign Press Centre, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State to provide foreign journalists with information on opportunity available to foreign students in community college in U.S.
She explained that SEVP was part of Homeland Security Investigations within U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to her, SEVP monitors schools for red flags that may indicate fraudulent activities. Red flag may include certain trends in the schools international population.
“SEVP has been working to unveil new tools to crack down on fraud in the U.S. international education industry.
“SEVP provides integrity to the U.S. immigration system by collecting, maintaining and analysing information to enable legitimate nonimmigrant students or exchange visitors gain entry into the U.S.
“SEVP ensures that the institutions accepting nonimmigrant students are certified and follow the federal rules and regulations that govern them,” she said
The official said that students should maintain their primary purpose for coming to the U.S. which must be to engage in learning through a full course of study.
She said that students must maintain their nonimmigrant status while in the U.S.
She added that student must fulfill their Department of State-issued visa and follow regulations associated with that purpose.
Also speaking on the community colleges in the U.S, Mathew Washburn, Programme Officer, EducationUSA, U.S. Department of State said that the colleges offered amazing opportunities for Nigerian and other international students.
Washburn explained that community colleges were two-year schools that provide affordable post-secondary education and are often a path to a four-year degree.
“It is not well known internationally, but it offers amazing opportunity in education and training, it offer helps for course of study.
“Community colleges in the U.S. offer an amazing opportunity to receive a high-quality education and solid hands-on training in a large number of fields.
“Community colleges provide students from Nigeria and other countries with a supportive, dynamic environment in which to study, learn more about the United States, and prepare for a future career,” he said.
He said that articulation agreements between many community colleges and four-year accredited colleges and universities allow community college students to complete a two year Associate’s degree at the community college and then transfer to a four-year institution to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
Washburn said that many community colleges had low tuition rates, making it an affordable option for international students and significantly lowering the total cost of earning the B.A. degree if a student transfers to a four-year institution.