Washington, DC - The fate of hundreds of Indian students at Herguan University in Sunnyvale, California became uncertain on Tuesday (Sept 18) after the school failed to respond to a notice from Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On September 18, SEVP issued, Herguan University a “Withdrawal on Notice” after the school failed to respond to a “Notice of Intent to Withdraw,” issued by SEVP on August 2, .
“The school failed to respond to this notice within the 30-day time period allowed by regulation,” said the communique from the SEVP, which monitors and reviews SEVP-certified schools adding, “Because the school failed to respond to the Notice of Intent to Withdraw within the 30-day time period, the school does not have appeal rights.”
Herguan University ran into trouble when its CEO was arrested in August and charged with 15 counts of visa fraud, while the students were issued advisories by the SEVP and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the DHS.
“As a result of the Withdrawal on Notice, Herguan University is no longer certified by SEVP to enroll nonimmigrant students and all nonimmigrant students have had their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records terminated,” said the SEVP communique.
Moreover, the students on a work authorization are cautioned to stop working immediately as the notice read: “Herguan University nonimmigrant students participating in Optional Practical Training (OPT); science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training; or Optional Practical Training Cap-Gap will have their records terminated and will lose their work authorization. When this happens, the impacted students must immediately stop working.”
According to the official notification, the current Herguan University nonimmigrant students, “can transfer to a new school that is willing to accept the student.” In addition the school accepting the transfer must be willing to recommend re-instatement for the student and should contact the SEVIS Help Desk to have the student's SEVIS record transferred, stated the notice.
“Once the student's SEVIS record is transferred, the new school must issue the student a new Form I-20 populated with the school's information and issue the document for the reason of "reinstatement." The student must then file a Form I-539 for reinstatement with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),” it said.
The other option is, “If the student is unable or unwilling to transfer, the student must depart the country within seven calendar days.”
The notification gave clear directions to nonimmigrant students who have questions about their options to call the SEVP Response Center at (703) 603-3400. This number is staffed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, it noted.
Students who call the SEVP Response Center should be prepared to provide the following information to the SEVP staff:
First and last name
SEVIS ID number
Telephone number where you can be reached
Dates of attendance at Herguan University
Educational level and major of study at Herguan University
In a continuation of the efforts to crack down on fraudulent schools, federal authorities in August arrested CEO Jerry Wang, 32, at his home in Santa Clara, and filed federal charges in a 15 count indictment. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 23 years in prison and over $1 million in fines.
According to court documents in possession of India America Today, Wang allegedly lured Indian students to his unaccredited school by using fraudulent documents to obtain visas.
The indictment alleged “four counts of visa fraud, four false document counts, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of unauthorized access to a government computer and forfeiture.” (IATNS)