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The Chronicle of Higher Education has done a very good investigation into shady diploma mills exploiting loopholes in the US student visa laws.
This stuff got some press recently due to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on a particularly brazen diploma mill, Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, CA.
Some excerpt from the Chronicle article:
But a Chronicle investigation suggests that Tri-Valley is only the beginning. Other colleges—most of them unaccredited—exploit byzantine federal regulations, enrolling almost exclusively foreign students and charging them upward of $3,000 for a chance to work legally in the United States. They flourish in California and Virginia, where regulations are lax, and many of their practices—for instance, holding some classes on only three weekends per semester—are unconventional, to say the least. These colleges usher in thousands of foreign students and generate millions of dollars in profits because they have the power, bestowed by the U.S. government, to help students get visas.
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