Bay Area school slammed as ‘visa mill’ gets OK to continue operating

A controversial Bay Area school with strikingly high numbers of foreign students has received permission from its controversial accrediting agency to continue operating.

Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont has repeatedly denied it’s a “visa mill” that churns out graduates able to stay and work in the U.S. under the Optional Practical Training program for people on student visas. Its accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, was stripped of its U.S. Department of Education recognition before gaining it back under the administration of President Donald Trump.

The accrediting agency warned the university in April that it would lose accreditation if it didn’t produce information about student demographics and satisfaction levels among students and employers who hire its students and graduates.

Now, the school has had its accreditation renewed by the agency for four years.

Founded in 1984, Northwestern Polytechnic was targeted in a March letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in which Grassley, an Iowa Republican and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred to “multiple credible reports” that the school was a visa mill.

Northwestern Polytechnic was the subject of a 2016 Buzzfeed investigation that concluded the school used “a system of fake grades” and barred professors from issuing failing grades.

The school, a registered non-profit, and the accrediting council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier this year, Pew Research in a report on use of the Optional Practical Training program — which provides a work permit to foreign students and graduates for up to three years — ranked Northwestern Polytechnic first among all colleges of its type in the number of students receiving OPT work permits. In a 12-year period, 11,700 Northwestern Polytechnic students and recent graduates were granted the OPT, Pew

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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