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Universities or visa mills?

Interesting story in Mercury News.

With his new student visa, Prasanth Goinaka was on a path toward his dream: an MBA from an American university in the heart of Silicon Valley.

That's why his parents back in India were stunned when their 28-year-old son was killed while manning a cash register at a convenience store in Oklahoma City -- 1,500 miles from campus.

A Bay Area News Group investigation has found that Goinaka -- as well as thousands of other foreign students enrolled in schools here -- probably should not have been in the country at all. They're being lured by unaccredited universities that promise help getting a prized student visa. But it turns out that these universities' legal right to assist with visas is in question.

Little-known and less-watched, a group of schools -- including San Jose's ITU, Sunnyvale's Herguan University and until recently Pleasanton's now-shuttered Tri-Valley University -- are building lucrative businesses by assembling student bodies comprised almost entirely of student-visa holders. Yet, the newspaper's investigation found none of the schools meet the criteria necessary to assist foreign students to come here: They are neither accredited nor do their credits transfer to recognized universities.
Seems to be more the foreign student's dream: get a student visa for the US, and somehow manage to stay on (hopefully with an American qualification), get a job, get a Green Card. Hundreds of thousands have done this from the mid '60s onwards (i.e., from when Congress changed the immigration laws). The outstanding example of this is Citicorp's Vikram Pandit but I daresay people can cite other notable examples. But today it seems like a much dicier proposition. Employers are more reluctant to sponsor, even when H1Bs are available. And making the transition to a Green Card is harder -- you need to keep your job while your case wends its lengthy way through the bureaucratic maze, and that's not easy anymore. If you manage to traverse this successfully, you find that the "American dream" has become more elusive than ever, a will 'o the wisp, a chimera. Maybe Canada or Australia are better propositions.
I don't think this is solely an American issue. I believe for quite a while over the last few years, I've been reading in our newspapers on the general decline in quality of higher education in Australia, and because of the higher fees they pay, a number of dodgy educational institutions have sprung up to scam the unsuspecting. Add that it was easier to become an Australian citizen with a hairdressing qualification than as an engineer, and the entire student industry got heavily skewed towards hospitality, and away from hard skills that Australia will need if we're ever going to move beyond our current role as Black Belt Hole Diggers Extraordinaire....
You are right. And something similar has been happening in Britain in terms of decline in quality. The scams directed at foreign students came under the spotlight about a year and a half back and quite a few got closed. Don't know what's happening now, though.

Maybe some latter-day Spengler could come up with a revised version of "Decline of the West."