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Day 1 CPT Universities: Unraveling the Blacklist Controversy

6 min read


At a Glance: Recently, rumors emerged suggesting the existence of a blacklist of Day 1 CPT universities, alleging that USCIS specifically targets graduates from these institutions for RFEs during their OPT applications or H1B visa approvals. Swiftly responding to these claims, one of the mentioned Day 1 CPT universities debunked the rumor. This article aims to dissect the rumor, trace its origins, and highlight its lack of factual basis. We are currently reaching out to all universities on the purported "blacklist" and will provide updates with firsthand information and their RFE data as we receive it.

Internet rumor about day 1 cpt universities


In the ever-evolving landscape of Day 1 CPT universities, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction. Recently, a rumor surfaced on social media suggesting that Campbellsville University, a notable name among Day 1 CPT universities, had been blacklisted and was a target for RFEs by USCIS.

 

Setting the Record Straight

The International Student Service Department at Campbellsville University promptly addressed these concerns (see picture below). They clarified that such a blacklist does not exist, debunking the rumor as false. This clarification is a testament to the transparency and credibility of Day 1 CPT universities like Campbellsville. In a show of their commitment to international students, Campbellsville University reported that just this year, their students received approvals for over 500 OPT applications. Furthermore, 170 of these students successfully transitioned to H1B, with only a minimal number encountering RFEs.

Campesville University's respond to the rumor
 

The Broader Context of Day 1 CPT Universities

The concept of Day 1 CPT has been a beacon of hope for international students in the U.S., allowing them to gain practical work experience right from the start of their academic journey. However, with the rise of such programs, there have been incidents in the past that have cast shadows of doubt. For instance, the 2019 ICE operation against the fictitious University of Farmington highlighted the vulnerabilities of some programs. Yet, it's essential to differentiate between such schemes and legitimate Day 1 CPT universities that genuinely cater to the academic and professional needs of international students.

Let’s start from the beginning:

In the late 2010s, there was a noticeable decline in the number of international students across the U.S. Despite this trend, Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands experienced a significant surge in enrollment, making them outliers among higher education institutions. These two universities played a pivotal role in attracting international students to Kentucky. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, they collectively drew in 84% of the state's international master's students, largely due to their affordable tuition and flexible on-site program requirements.

However, if you check the data from ICE (see picture below), you’ll notice that their intake of international students drastically declined by nearly 35% in the past 2 years. What happened?

day 1 cpt universities enrollment numbers
 

The 2019 ICE Operation and Its Implications

In 2019, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a significant operation resulting in the arrest of numerous foreign students. These students were all enrolled at the non-existent University of Farmington, a fictitious institution created as part of an elaborate sting organized by ICE back in 2015. The primary objective of this undercover operation was to dismantle and counteract the widespread “pay-to-stay” immigration schemes that had been exploiting the system.

Shadowed by the “University of Farmington case”, many international students started to worry that with a similar Curricular Practical Training (CPT) setup, Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands, though being real accredited universities, might still become the next target for ICE, resulting in the decreasing enrollment in the coming years.

To be specific, there's a particular article that has been frequently cited and recirculated, which mentions all three universities. Without careful reading, one might mistakenly believe they are all the same. This could be the origin of the rumors surrounding Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands.

Terry Jarboe, the then associate vice president of enrollment at the University of the Cumberlands, once stated, "The Day 1 CPT program is an improved version of higher education." Incorporating CPT into higher education programs is an excellent and entirely legal idea. However, it's the misuse of such designs that ICE and USCIS target.

Despite already being legit, to combat the negative impact caused by the incidents, both Campesville University and the University of the Cumberlands implemented minor reforms to further ensure the legitimacy of their programs, including but not limited to increasing the on-site frequency; opening new campuses near big companies; and collaborating with big enterprises like IBM to boost STEM students’ legitimate employment rate; raising the bar for F1 status maintenance; being strict on CPT renewal requirements, etc. In short, even though these two universities were frequently brought up when mentioning the “University of Farmington case”, they are safe choices for international students now.

So, a more interesting and often-asked question associated with the above cases is:

 

Is There an Official Blacklist of Day 1 CPT Universities?

Contrary to the existence of an official blacklist like the Debarred Companies list for H1B sponsors, there is no such designated list published by USCIS, SEVP, or the US Department of State for F1 students. While incidents such as the Tri-Valley State University raids in 2011 impacted 1555 international students, prompting concerns, there is no officially recognized compilation of blacklisted schools.

In the absence of an official list, students have taken matters into their own hands, creating their own lists based on parameters like lack of accreditation or other factors. However, it’s important to note that such lists are not officially recognized or endorsed by any government agency. Therefore, when individuals come across a list of blacklisted universities in the US, it is essentially a compilation made by aspirants according to their own criteria, labeling certain schools as unfavorable.

 

Identifying Blacklisted Universities: What Traits to Watch Out For

1.     Accepting Low-Profile Students without Standard Requirements

A common feature of blacklisted Day 1 CPT schools is their acceptance of students with significantly low academic profiles. For example, although it is common to waive language requirements for transfer F1 students, some unaccredited Day 1 CPT universities even try to waive language requirements for those who have never been educated in an English-speaking country.

2.     Lack of Proper Accreditation

Lack of accreditation or accreditations awarded by unrecognized entities (Accreditation Mills) should be a red flag for students. Regional accreditation is more important than national accreditation in the U.S. 


3.     Involvement in Illegal Activities and Violating Rules

Day 1 CPT universities engaged in illegal activities, such as visa fraud, come under scrutiny and can find themselves blacklisted. A prominent example is the Tri-Valley State University, which faced consequences due to visa fraud and a subsequent ICE raid that affected approximately 1555 students.

4.     Super low on-site study requirements

Some Day 1 CPT universities might tell their students that they don’t have to come to campus ever. All courses are conducted on Zoom. Students can fully focus on their internship. It sounds wonderful; however, it is in violation of USCIS regulations. Be extra cautious if you run into a school that does not have a physical campus and says they do not require you to be physically present on campus. Day 1 CPT or not, F1 is granted to full-time students. To keep your F1 valid, you need to fulfill all responsibilities of an F1 student, including attending on-site classes no less than 8 hours/semester, and an overall GPA of no less than 3.0, etc.  

If you are interested in learning more about the risk factors of enrolling in Day 1 CPT universities, read our comprehensive guide here: Day 1 CPT – Explore the Potential Risks

To protect themselves, students are advised to thoroughly research the schools they are considering. Checking the US Department of Education's website for accredited institutions is essential. It is noteworthy that the so-called “blacklisted universities” list circulating on the internet is essentially the same as the list of unaccredited schools available on Wikipedia. Staying informed about recognized accreditations is crucial in making informed decisions about pursuing higher education.

 

Conclusion

As the landscape of Day 1 CPT universities continues to evolve, it's paramount for students and stakeholders to stay informed and vigilant. While rumors can create unnecessary panic, institutions like Campbellsville University stand as pillars of credibility, showcasing the positive impact and opportunities that Day 1 CPT universities can offer to international students.


If you cannot be sure about the Day 1 CPT universities you choose, call our expert for an evaluation or let them provide you with a personalized Day 1 CPT program list.

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Hi there!

I'm Shyla, the Content Manager at day1cpt.org

 

Our mission is to connect immigration experts with international students. We offer the latest advice, free consultations, and expert insights to help guide your journey in the U.S.

 

We're official admission partners with all the day 1 CPT universities listed on our website. We work closely with schools to pre-screen applicants and streamline the offer process, saving valuable time.

For specific schools, we even offer post-enrollment assistance to ensure students obtain their CPT authorization promptly.

Your success is our priority!


 

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