Tri-Valley University

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Tri-Valley University
TypeChristian distance education/not accredited
PresidentSusan Xiao-Ping Su[1]
405 Boulder Ct #800
, , ,

Tri-Valley University (TVU) was an unaccredited university located in Pleasanton, California, United States. According to its website, the school "is a Christian higher education institution offering quality academic programs in Engineering, Business, Ministry, Law and Medicine at a Christian learning environment". Most of the classes for the school were offered online.[1] The school was shut down after being raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement due to possible visa fraud.

Legal problems[edit]

It is under investigation by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department for allegedly operating as a front for illegal immigration.[2] The ICE claims the school issued F-1 visas to students who lived outside California.[3] From May 2009 to May 2010, the school went from having 11 students with F1 visas to 939 students with F1 visas. The number went to 1555 in December 2010. 89 percent of the students were from India.[4] Students paid up to $2,700 per semester for tuition. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security claims students who were enrolled were paid if they referred another student to the school.[5] Susan Su, operator of the school specifically blamed two student workers, one of whom runs a consulting company, for operating the visa fraud scheme.[6] The school was shut down after a raid by ICE on January 19, 2011. The US Attorney filed suit to forfeit five properties owned by Susan Su relating to the school.[7]

Foreign students, mostly from India, were interrogated by the ICE. Some were radio-tagged to monitor their movements, a move the Indian government protested as treating the students who had been tricked by TVU's promoters like common criminals.[8] ICE has set up a web page for former TVU students, instructing them to call SEVP to discuss the students' options.[9]

In March 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an investigation into the practices of TVU and other American for-profit higher education institutions that are virtually unknown within the United States, lack accreditation, and specialize in enrolling foreign students.[10]

On May 2, 2011, TVU's founder and owner, Susan Su, was arrested on indictments by a Federal Grand Jury on 33 counts.[11][12]

On October 12, 2011, four students, Vishal Dasa, Tushar Tambe, Ramakrishna Reddy Karra, and Anji Reddy Dirisinala who worked in campus jobs offered by the TVU president were charged in relation to the same case.[13]

On July 11, 2014, Vishal Dasa was sentenced to 30 days' probation, Anji Reddy Dirisinala to one day's probation, Karra to six months' probation and a $2,000 fine, and Tushar Tambe to three years' probation with 200 hours of community service. On October 31, 2014, Ms. Su was sentenced to 16 years in prison, forfeiture of $5.6 million, and over $900,000 restitution.[14][15]

While the case against Ms. Su was pending, she was listed as president of a new unaccredited university called Global TV University, based in the same office complex where TVU was located.[16] The State Attorney-General denied the application for a new university at that site, citing, among other issues, the use of a proxy in the application.[17]

On March 24, 2014, Ms. Su was found guilty on 31 counts in the federal case against her.[18] Prosecutors said Su netted $5.9 million through mail fraud, visa fraud and money laundering and used the money to buy luxury cars and real estate.[19] Ms. Su's appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit was denied on December 7, 2015, and on March 24, 2016, her lawyer filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court, which he later withdrew.[20] On April 1, 2016, Ms. Su filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court pro se, which was denied on May 16, 2016.[21]


The university started operating in 2008. They were able to operate under a religious exemption from California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. However, that ended in 2010 when California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education handled these issues. The university did file for a religious exemption, but the request was denied. As a result, the school could no longer accept new students starting in January 2010. The school was certified by Department of Homeland Security to offer F1 Visas. One rule to qualify for issuing student visas to foreigners is that the school's credits be accepted by three different established universities. However, a review of the affidavits' files found two of the schools did not accept credits offered by the University, which started the investigation. Several students were interrogated throughout the investigation.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dr.Susan Xiao-Ping Su Tri-Valley University
  2. ^ "Feds probe Calif. 'sham university' for visa fraud". CBS News. January 31, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Kazmi, Sophia (January 20, 2011). "Tri-Valley University called 'sham,' accused of immigration fraud". Mercury News. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Alya Mishra (February 6, 2011). "INDIA: Outrage over student treatment in US visa case". University World News. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  5. ^ 'Sham university' board chair faced allegations before Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Tri Valley University blames Indian-origin staffer for immigration fraud". The Economic Times. February 1, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  7. ^ United States of America v. Real Property Located at 405 Boulder Court, suite 800, Pleasanton, California (APN 946-4547-297) et al
  8. ^ "Indian government protests radio-tagging of Tri-Valley University Students". International Business Times. January 31, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Attention Former Tri-Valley University Students". Archived from the original on August 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Tom Bartlett, Karin Fischer, and Josh Keller, Little-Known Colleges Exploit Visa Loopholes to Make Millions Off Foreign Students, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2011
  11. ^ "ICE Press Release: Bay Area university president indicted for student visa fraud scheme". U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. May 2, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  12. ^ "Head Of Pleasanton 'Sham University' Accused Of Fraud". KPIX-TV. May 2, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Kazmi, Sophia (October 12, 2011). "Four more charged in alleged university scam". Mercury News. Contra Costa Times. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  14. ^ "Operator of fake Bay Area university gets 16 years in prison". The Press Democrat. Associated Press. November 4, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "East Bay college founder sentenced to 16 years for fraud, harboring undocumented people". Contra Costa Times. November 3, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "Global TV University Administration". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  17. ^ Wohltmann, Glenn (September 6, 2013). "'University' founder facing federal charges blocked from opening new Pleasanton campus". Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  18. ^ Howard Mintz (March 24, 2014). "Founder of bogus Pleasanton college is guilty in 'visa mill' case". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "President of US Tri Valley University which duped Indians convicted". IANS. March 27, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "Supreme Court of the United States". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  21. ^ "Supreme Court of the United States". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  22. ^ 'Sham university' board chair faced allegations before Archived February 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine