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LOL Silicon Valley University

Post by 8DonCo on Tue May 01, 2018 12:14 pm

State regulators have abruptly shut down a nonprofit college in San Jose that until recently enrolled nearly 4,000 students, mainly from other countries, after Chronicle reporters showed that the school had lost its accreditation months ago.


Silicon Valley University was seen by some strivers abroad as a ticket into one of America’s hottest job markets, through its ability to back student and work visas. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently asked if it might be a “visa mill” — a term used for sham operations where students get visas but a poor education, if any.

The university’s closure is more than a story of a private school’s failure. It raises questions about who benefited from its tax-exempt status and whether state and federal regulators exercised adequate oversight during its 20 years in business.
The founders of Silicon Valley University, Feng-Min “Jerry” Shiao and Mei Hsin “Seiko” Cheng, a husband-and-wife team who have divorced, are accusing each other of using the university’s funds for personal gain. Shiao was ousted after misappropriating nearly $35 million, the school says in a lawsuit. He has responded with claims that Cheng bought real estate with university funds.
Court papers indicate the Internal Revenue Service and the state Attorney General’s Office have looked into the situation. Both agencies declined to comment. A state agency cited the school for 15 violations ranging from faulty record-keeping to illegal recruiting.
The school collected tens of millions of dollars in tuition, some of which it has said in court filings it can’t account for. Students have raised concerns about the quality of education: One said he didn’t get the well-paying tech job he expected, while another complained that instruction was haphazard.
Silicon Valley University lost its accreditation Dec. 7 for failing to provide audited financial statements. The body that pulled its approval, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, is itself under federal scrutiny for its oversight of similar private colleges. Without accreditation, a school cannot offer degrees in California.
“Their operation is not good,” said Dang Nguyen, a Vietnamese student who earned a master of business administration degree at SVU before leaving last year. “The students just want to get the visas and get a job.”
Apparently unaware of the accrediting council’s move, the state filed a complaint against the school on Dec. 27. Through the state Attorney General’s Office, California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, which regulates private colleges, accused the school of improperly using paid recruiters in Taiwan, letting students who couldn’t pass an English test take classes in English, and failing to keep student records, among 15 violations that alleged no financial misdealings.
Hearings on the accusations are scheduled for June.
On April 3, noticing that the state’s complaint called Silicon Valley University an accredited institution, The Chronicle inquired about its status. Two days later, the state said SVU could no longer operate in California.
The bureau’s April 5 order requires SVU to provide a closure plan, give remaining students a list of schools they might transfer to, and refund their money within 45 days.
That order might seem to close the books on Silicon Valley University. But public records show that a tangled web of alleged financial misdealings, infighting and lawsuits persists at the school.
Reached by phone, Shiao declined to comment, and Seiko Cheng could not be reached. No lawyers representing them or the school agreed to speak with The Chronicle.


Shiao and Cheng, both from Taiwan, opened Silicon Valley University in 1997.
“SVU was a labor of love for Dr. Shiao,” his lawyer, David C. Lee, told a judge in March 2017 at a hearing on one of the lawsuits roiling the school. “He opened this university for purposes of being able to offer a gateway to foreign students to have access to high technology jobs in Silicon Valley.”
The school remained small until 2015, when Shiao and Cheng expanded recruitment efforts to countries throughout Asia and moved into a much larger, 17,000-square-foot building in a San Jose office park.

Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle


Silicon Valley University began expanding in 2015, when it moved into a 17,000-square-foot building on Fortune Drive in San Jose.

From 2008 to 2014, enrollment averaged 300 students a year, according to court filings. In 2015, enrollment soared tenfold to more than 3,600 students, nearly all from abroad. Revenue topped $20 million, up from less than $4 million the year before, IRS records show.
In 2016, SVU reported an enrollment of 3,983 students to the state, with 97 percent of them enrolled in its graduate program — mainly in computer science. A bachelor’s degree cost $45,175; a shorter master’s program cost $16,600.
That year, SVU took in nearly $30.5 million in revenue but spent only $11 million on salaries and other expenses — including $186,743 used to recruit students in Taiwan, an IRS document shows. As a nonprofit, it paid no tax on the $19 million surplus. Shiao, listed as chairman, earned an annual salary of $180,000. Cheng, listed as chief financial officer, was paid $98,000. Her younger brother, Kevin Cheng, earned $119,145 as the school’s registrar.


Venu Madhav Polimerasetty told The Chronicle that he attended the school from 2011 to 2013 and earned a master’s degree in computer science. But he hadn’t been able to land the kind of full-time, high-paying job he believed he would get after graduating from Silicon Valley University.
Polimerasetty filed a complaint in summer 2015 with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. In it, he compared SVU to the “sham Tri-Valley University” in Pleasanton. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shut down Tri-Valley in 2010 on grounds that it served as a front for international students hoping to work in the United States — a visa mill. The school’s owner, Susan Su, was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for accepting money from international applicants purportedly for payment of tuition and fees. Su used proceeds to buy commercial real estate, a Mercedes-Benz and numerous homes.
Nguyen, who got an MBA from Silicon Valley University in 2015 and continued studying there until 2017, said he chose SVU because it was relatively inexpensive. He wants to return to Vietnam and become a professor, he told The Chronicle.
Nguyen said he knew several SVU students who got good jobs at banks and accounting firms after graduating, but they were in the minority.
He said the school suffered after it expanded in 2015, and classes became overcrowded.

Photo: Nanette Asimov / The Chronicle


In a recent letter, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked whether Silicon Valley University might be a “visa mill” — a sham operation that exists to facilitate visas rather than provide a high-quality education.

Since 2014, SVU has never employed more than 28 faculty members, according to Internet Archive captures of its website over the years — even as its enrollment ballooned to nearly 4,000 students. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that private nonprofit institutions spent an average of $17,567 per student on instruction in 2014-15; SVU spent far less.
“There were too many students, and (professors) could not control them,” Nguyen said. By growing, the college “made more money, but they made things worse.”
As for Polimerasetty, he returned to his native India. But his complaint began making its way through California’s college regulatory system.


As their operation and income grew, Shiao and Cheng’s marriage began falling apart. By 2014, the couple had separated; in 2016, Cheng filed for a divorce, which was granted the next year.
In February 2016, SVU’s board voted to remove Shiao as president, according to court documents, and named Cheng’s brother Kevin interim president. But Shiao refused to step down. The board didn’t press the issue because it was busy dealing with audits by the IRS and state attorney general in 2016, a lawyer for the university said in a March 2017 court hearing.
In November, Kevin Cheng found that Shiao had understated the university’s 2015 revenue by 20 to 25 percent, the school’s attorney said in a complaint. A school representative said Kevin Cheng was unavailable for comment.
Court papers show December 2016 as a low point for SVU.
At a board meeting on Dec. 22, the board again tried to oust Shiao and locked him out of the school office. On Dec. 29, Shiao showed up at SVU to gather his things.
According to the university’s suit against Shiao, he tried to kick down the doors, so the school called San Jose police. Two officers escorted Shiao to a “secret office” that contained latex gloves and machines to count cash and vacuum-seal plastic bags, the school’s suit said. In court papers, Shiao denied that the office was secret.
What neither side disputes is that on the same day he went to the school, Shiao transferred $12.4 million from the school’s account at East West Bank to his personal account at the same bank. Shiao told the court he did so because he feared that the Chengs “and possibly others would raid and deplete these funds.” He stated that he considered the funds as still belonging to SVU.
Days later, in January 2017, the Chengs hired a locksmith to open an office in an unused wing of the second floor, the school’s lawsuit says. In the presence of school employees and two IRS agents, they said they discovered a safe with an estimated $356,000 in cash that had not been reported to the trustees.
On Feb. 14, 2017, the university sued Shiao in Superior Court in San Jose, saying he engaged in a scheme to embezzle $22.4 million of the university’s cash tuition payments, on top of the December bank transfer.
Another complaint filed by the school alleges that Shiao falsified corporate records and submitted them to the IRS and the California Attorney General’s office.
In all, the university is accusing Shiao of misappropriating $34.8 million, according to a Jan. 25 court filing. In its IRS filing for 2016, the university characterized the $12.4 million bank transfer as a “loan to related party” and said it was trying to recover the funds.
Shiao filed suit against the university on Feb. 17, 2017, saying the board had no authority to remove him. He said the $356,000 found in the safe may have been “planted in that office after he was removed from the premises,” his attorney told the court. Shiao’s suit also asked for a temporary restraining order to stop anyone from diverting university assets for personal use.

The court granted the order, but the parties are still fighting over whether the order is being followed.

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LOL Re: Silicon Valley University

Post by 8DonCo on Tue May 01, 2018 12:15 pm

nghe tên ngầu quá mà thật ra là chỉ mua bán visa Laugh

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LOL Re: Silicon Valley University

Post by vietnam4all on Tue May 01, 2018 12:18 pm

Tui thấy cái building này mỗi ngày mà chẳng thấy students ở đâu. Còn thêm 1 cái ở đường warm spring nữa. .....hình như dân ấn độ ở đó nhiều hơn


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LOL Re: Silicon Valley University

Post by 8DonCo on Tue May 01, 2018 12:19 pm

nó bị đóng cửa rồi, chủ yếu là mua bán visa cho tụi nước ngoài

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LOL Re: Silicon Valley University

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