CPT stands for Curricular Practical Training. CPT authorization must be approved by the University’s Designated School Official (DSO) and the work or internship must be related to the program of study.
There are a very large number of institutions within the United States that allow students to obtain CPT authorization from the first day of enrollment, allowing students to intern/work off-campus while maintaining full time study status. Programs that support Day 1 CPT must meet the following requirements.
Yes, based on the following three authoritative statements.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states that “CPT is approved in advance of completion of at least one academic year of study in a lawful, full-time capacity, unless the student’s graduate level program requires the student to obtain relevant internship/work experience in advance”.Official Sources
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) is more direct in its statement regarding CPT: “When you enter graduate school, the school’s DSO may approve a CPT work application during the first semester if your professional program requires relevant internship/work experience.Official Sources
In the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 8/Chapter I/Subchapter B/Part 214/§ 214.2 Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status, there is a clear statement for CPT “Exceptions to the one academic year requirements are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement. “This fine print of federal regulations clearly states that master’s and doctoral programs Students can be granted a CPT work permit on the day of admission without having to wait until the completion of their first year of study.Official Sources
The Day 1 CPT programs are primarily delivered in a hybrid format, with a large proportion of online courses and a small number of offline courses.
Compared to traditional programs, the Day 1 CPT program has a much smaller course load, making it ideal for working professionals to pursue further education. A large number of international students choose to attend Day 1 CPT schools to continue learning and practicing in a work-related field.
In particular, students whose OPT is coming to an end can give priority to Day 1 CPT universities to broaden their knowledge and get more job opportunities for themselves; those involved in legal status conversion in the U.S. can also consider Day 1 CPT schools, which can keep their legal status at a lower financial cost; domestic IT practitioners who have gone to the U.S. for gold can apply to Day 1 CPT schools to study in the U.S. At the same time, they can use their rich work experience and CPT work permit to seek off-campus internship/job opportunities.
According to incomplete statistics, approximately 20,000 students enter Day 1 CPT schools each academic year, and more than 50,000 students are enrolled in Day 1 CPT universities. A growing number of schools are considering or are already preparing to start new Day 1 CPT programs for international students.
Risk 1: Some Day 1 CPT universities may be non-accredited universities for making a profit or officially established universities for entrapment. They have a short history of establishment, extremely poor teaching facilities or even no school buildings, lack of or falsified teaching qualifications, extremely low tuition fees, and no record of class attendance or even no need to attend classes.
Risk 2: Even with a compliant Day 1 CPT program, USCIS may suspect that some international students are simply affiliated with the school, not actually attending classes, completing assignments and taking exams, and therefore violating the F-1 requirement that they must maintain status.
Risk 3: If an international student enrolls in a Day 1 CPT program with an equivalent degree or even the same major after OPT ends, USCIS may suspect that some international students are enrolling in the Day 1 CPT program solely for the purpose of obtaining a work permit rather than studying.
Risk 4: Established Day 1 CPT schools fail to pass the teaching credentialing agency or SEVP, resulting in the accreditation being revoked or even the program being cancelled.
Silicon Valley University was founded in 1997 with a focus on computer science and engineering. The founders are Taiwanese couple Feng-Ming Hsiao and Mei-Shin Cheng.
From 2008 to 2014, the university had an average annual enrollment of 300 students; from 2015, enrollment soared to nearly 4,000, and the student body was largely international, with 97% enrolled in graduate programs with a focus on computer science.
In December 2017, the school was not accredited by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Universities (ACICS) due to a financial scandal involving the founder’s divorce.
In March 2018, Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, recently sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in which he listed Silicon Valley University as a violation of immigration regulations In his letter, he listed Silicon Valley University as a “suspect school” for immigration violations and said the schools had “little or no educational resources” available to students.
In April 2018, Silicon Valley University announced its closure after California authorities revoked the school’s license.
In early 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested hundreds of international students and eight agency admissions officers associated with University of Farmington, located in the suburb of Detroit, Michigan.
University of Farmington was established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to entrap not only international students seeking employment authorization while studying in the United States, but also agency personnel who recommended the school to international students. In total, hundreds of foreign nationals have been prosecuted and detained in immigration courts, and eight agency admissions officers have been criminally charged.
In early 2021, ITU in Santa Clara, N.C., will pay $1.17 million to put visa fraud allegations to rest. The fraud was reported by none other than Dr. Concepcion Saenz-Cambra, the university’s acting president for academic advising services.
Dr. Saenz-Cambra filed a complaint in October 2015 under the federal Federal False Claims Act (FCA) after she was hired at ITU in 2014 and expressed concerns about the school’s practices and proposed corrective measures that were rejected by ITU executives.
Dr. Saenz-Cambra’s complaint alleges that ITU is guilty of ignoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations regarding F-1 students – including admitting international students who are not proficient in English; waiving class requirements; giving high grades to students who do not complete assignments or do not do them at all; and refusing to punish students for plagiarism or cheating. Many ITU students hold full-time positions in high-tech companies, which she sees as a reversal of the full-time employment rules for aliens (H-1B) visas.
Then evocatively the U.S. government chose to quash the whistleblowing with a fine, the school tightened its CPT approval policy, and the latest screenshot of the school’s website shows that the whistleblower, Dr. Saenz-Cambra, is still a member of the ITU administration.