Hyderabad: Officials handling Study Abroad programmes in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are now a red-faced, worried lot in the wake of the University of Farmington row, after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials detained 129 students, most of them belonging to two Telugu states.
According to sources, the TS Backward Classes (BC) and Scheduled Classes (SC) welfare departments, TS Brahmin Corporation, and Minorities’ welfare departments have been sanctioning scholarships under the Study Abroad Scheme (SAS) to eligible students keen on pursuing their higher studies in the USA and in any of the European countries.
Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, students are availing of the Barathi Scheme for Overseas Education for PG and above for Brahmin students, Ambedkar Overseas Vidya Nidhi for SCs and STs, and NTR Videshi Vidyadharana Scheme for BC students.
Speaking to The Hans India, a senior official from the TS BC welfare department said, “Though the stringent visa regulations in the US have made several students turn to other countries like Canada, Australia, Singapore etc, in the case of certain subjects, USA remains the dream destination for students.”
It is against this backdrop that annually scholarships are granted by the State Level Committee (SLC) after a stringent process and selections are made after due verification of the admission letters, visa documents and the like obtained by students.
But, considering the recent episode of fake US University providing required documents and students getting visas based on such documents, the current process, deemed flawed on hindsight, has become a major cause of worry for the TS government.
Interestingly, it is on the basis of admission letters and visas given by the US consulates in Chennai and Hyderabad that the scholarships for students are sanctioned.”
The officials are now wondering how the US consulates in the country were processing student visas for fake universities? The fake Farmington University, set up by the ICE officials, had even claimed to have national accreditation. How come the US consulates at Chennai and Hyderabad did not know whether the university in question is accredited? Did the US ICE officials take US consulates in India for a ride?
Similar views were expressed by officials from the SC and BC welfare departments from Andhra Pradesh. In the wake of these developments, the officials are now contemplating to review the entire selection process so that students do not face any trouble henceforth.