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First on the west coast, and now on the east, the feds are fucking up the perfect entrepreneurial synergy of cutting edge educational technology and a vast sellers’ market.

Unaccredited for-profit universities take in tons of foreign students, give them a visa, set up bogus online courses for them, and send them on their merry way hither and yon throughout these vast United States.

Yes – it’s yet another in the long list of distance ed’s advantages over inconvenient old-fashioned face to face university teaching: You can come over here from, say, India, grab your visa documentation at the office park with I’m a University scrawled on a piece of paper in Tower B, Suite 630 East, and then get to the job in Akron you were going to in the first place! Does any other technology allow you to do this? No – only online.

Naturally the feds are on to this, so they’ve got this rule:

[F]oreign students must be physically present on campus and can take no more than a single course per semester online.

But how rule-bound, in general, are these institutions? (Some in Congress want the government to come up with a “list of warning signs for colleges breaking visa rule[s].” Based on the Tri-Valley University story, UD proposes this handy rule of thumb: If the university president’s private residence is larger than the entire campus, consider this a warning sign.) Can we trust them to follow this online rule?

Well, let’s look at how they’re doing in terms of accreditation rules. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on Northern Virginia University:

[UNV is accredited by the] American University Accreditation Council, which is not recognized by the Department of Education. The address listed as the council’s headquarters is an auto-body repair shop owned by the chairman of Northern Virginia’s board. A caller to the number listed on the accreditor’s Web site was greeted with the following message Thursday evening: “This is D’Angelo, so get at me back.”

Yes, the flourishing visa mills of America are getting at us back.

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5 Responses to “Note to Luddite Federal Government: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.”

  1. MattF Says:

    Love it. “Founder and majority owner says ‘In my mind, yes, we obey all the rules’.'” Rulz, man, RULZ.

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