Another Make-Work Job for ICE

Visa document logo close up of the United States of America.
Source:  University World News

Set thine house in order... 2 Kings 20: 1

It’s as if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has nothing better to do than to create yet another faux university to entrap more people like so many flies to honey.  Enter the University of Farmington in Michigan.  (The last fake university created with the same purpose in mind was the University of Northern New Jersey.) 

It’s not like there aren’t already enough “approved” and “accredited” US universities (and I use that term loosely) doing exactly the same thing, some of which have been in the media but are still in business, thanks to the current business-friendly MAGA regime.  They tarnish the good reputation of legitimate US higher education.  Why not investigate them first?  Hell, for that matter, why not NOT allow unaccredited universities to issue I-20s?  You know the an$wer.  This is not likely to change during the current administration.  

Shalom (שלום), MAA

 

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Fake News: “Australia ‘first choice’ for overseas Vietnamese students”

australian dept of ed and training

This is presumably an editor’s mistake.  Fact-checking is important and really easy these days.  Is Australia the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students, meaning their “first choice”?  

As of 10-18, there were 23,803 young Vietnamese studying in Australia at all levels out of a total of 673,296 international students, according to the Australia’s Department of Education and Training

Here are the top five (5) host countries:

  1.  Japan (61,671, 2017);
  2. USA (29,788, 8-18)
  3. South Korea (27,061, 4-18)
  4. Australia (23,803, 10-18) ; and
  5. Canada (14,095, 12-17 – a one-year increase of 89%).

Claiming that Australia is the “first choice” for Vietnamese students is not only wishful thinking; it’s just plain wrong.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

Viet Nam Once Again Ranks 5th in US International Student Enrollment

logo

According to the August 2018 SEVIS by the Numbers update, Viet Nam once again ranks 5th among places of origin with 29,788 active students at all levels and in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, inching past Canada, which had displaced it in June 2018.  (One always has to take summer statistics with a grain of salt, since there’s always a dip that coincides with the end of the academic year.)  

1) China: 378,003
2) India: 227,199
3) South Korea: 64,022
4) Saudi Arabia: 43,413
5) Viet Nam: 29,788
6) Canada: 29,496
7) Brazil: 26,846
8) Taiwan: 24,429
9) Japan: 23,088
10) Nigeria: 16,042

That’s the good news in these troubled times.  The bad news is that the number of student visas issued in FY18, which ended on 30 September 2018, was down from last year.  (I’ll provide more information in a forthcoming blog post.) 

My ballpark estimate is a 5-6% decrease, which is line with the decrease in overall numbers.  This assumes that the US Mission in Viet Nam (Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate in HCMC) issued the same number of F-1s in September 2018 that it did in the same month last year.  That information will be out soon.  

Keep in mind that there were 31,389 young Vietnamese studying in the US, as of December 2017.  This means that there are now 1,601 fewer students from Viet Nam, a 5.1% decrease.  One obvious reason is the shift to Canada, which hosted nearly 15,000 Vietnamese students last year and recorded an unprecedented one-year increase of 89%.    

Peace, MAA  

Postscript:  There are currently 27,061 young Vietnamese studying in South Korea, which means the top five host countries for Vietnamese students worldwide are 1) Japan (61,671, 2017); 2) the USA (29,788, 8-18); 3) South Korea (27,061, 4-18); 4) Australia (22,565, 7-18); and 5) Canada (14,095, 2017).  This means that there are  155,180 in the top five countries alone, 57% of them in East Asia.  

 

Happy 9th Birthday, Capstone Vietnam!

birthday cake capstone

This week, Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company that I co-founded in 2009 and of which I am managing director, celebrated its 9th birthday.  It has been a helluva ride, one I’ve found to be deeply rewarding on many levels. 

Logo Recruit in vietnam final-01As I mentioned to a colleague the other day, the best situation is when you are able to exploit your own labor rather than have to sell it to someone else and allow them to exploit it (you), to paraphrase Karl Marx.  More about that in this 2017 interview.  

10thLooking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary and 10 years of Reaching New Heights in September 2019!  

Peace, MAA

“(US) American Ex-Pats Explain Why They Quit the USA”

The work/life balance sucks, there are too many guns, and thanks to a certain someone now in charge, things are likely to get worse.

vice.png
Image by Lia Kantrowitz for VICE

This oldie but goodie from 2017 is the tip of the iceberg.  One could write a book about this topic.  There are many other US Americans living outside of the US who did not “quit the USA” but simply chose to live elsewhere for personal and professional reasons.  Most are objective about what the US has to offer, its strengths and its positives, but also realize that it is not the “greatest nation on Earth.”  They see the US is not “an exceptional city on a hill, but as a mortal among other nations,” in the words of Anatol Lieven (2004).  Those who believe that it is either or both are either US nationalists and/or don’t travel overseas very often, if at all.  

Jim Rogers, a US billionaire who lives with his family in Singapore, had this to say about his home country a few years ago in an article in which he sang the praises of…  Singapore:  “I can tell you that when you fly into a New York airport, you are flying into a third world airport.” — Jim Rogers.  (If you’ve ever been to Changi Airport in Singapore, you know exactly what he’s talking about – in spades.)  In a 2015 Wall Street Journal article entitled Expat Investor Jim Rogers on Why He Loves Singapore And Doesn’t Miss the U.S. Rogers also referred to “third world” taxis driving on “third world” roads.   

Peace, MAA

Lessons From the UT Tyler Scandal

The scandal concerning students from Nepal should prompt a long-overdue conversation about institutional priorities surrounding international students in higher education, write Laura A. Kaub and James Linville.

uttyler
Photo courtesy of IHE

A number of questions came to mind after reading this 16 July 2018 Inside Higher Ed article written by well-intentioned colleagues.  Below are the questions and my responses.  

What is the precise definition of  “high achieving, low income” (HALI) students?  This would be helpful in thinking about the type of student the authors are discussing in Nepal, the African countries that their organization serves, and elsewhere.  

Do the authors know how many of the 60 Nepali students offered scholarships by UT Tyler fall into this category?  Young people are one of Nepal’s major exports in the form of adopted children and students.  Needless to say, many from the latter category are drawn from that country’s upper classes.

How do institutions verify need?  Even if you trust, for whatever reason, you must always verify.  I know of a number of cases in which children from families of considerable means gamed the system and received need-based need.  I know one US colleague who wanted to give all Vietnamese applicants need-based aid, as if all Vietnamese students are poor.  Moral of the story:  even rich people want need-based aid.  It’s up to those who run the system to close any existing loopholes and not open any new ones.  

Instead of loans, why not guarantee on-campus jobs for these students?  Who would make the loans?  What would the interest rate be?  How would you guarantee repayment, e.g., withhold the diploma until the outstanding balance is paid?  What are the visa implications of these loans?  

Finally, the notion that scholarships are (or should be) taxed is absurd but something that is beyond the control of the authors.  

Peace, MAA