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Day 1 CPT

What is CPT?

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.

  • CPT internships/jobs are directly related to the area of professional study.
  • The DSO authorizes CPT in the SEVIS system and must print the authorization on the student’s Form I-20.
  • Occurs prior to the student’s program end date on the I-20 form.
  • CPT authorization is employer-specific and for a specific time period.
  • The student must obtain an internship/job offer prior to obtaining CPT authorization.
  • CPT must be authorized before the student begins the internship/job.
  • Students may have multiple CPT authorizations at the same time.
  • Students who use full-time CPT for more than one year automatically lose their OPT status.

What is Day 1 CPT?

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.

  • The school must obtain SEVP through inspection and accreditation.
  • The student’s internship/work must be related to the content of the program in which they are enrolled.
  • The internship/work experience is an integral part of the school’s established curriculum.
  • The school DSO must approve and authorize CPT in SEVIS.
  • Students must maintain full-time study status and take 6 to 9 graduate credit courses per semester, depending on that Day 1 CPT university policy.

Is Day 1 CPT legal?

Yes, based on the following three authoritative statements.

  1. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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

  1. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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

  1. U.S. Federal Regulations

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

Who is Day 1 CPT suitable for?

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.

What are the risks of entering Day 1 CPT University studies?

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.

What violations or scandals have occurred at Day 1 CPT Schools?

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.

What are the well-known Day 1 CPT schools?

  • Westcliff University – Irvine, California
  • Trine University – Detroit, Michigan &, Indiana
  • Monroe College – New Rochelle, New York
  • Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Ottawa University – Phoenix, Arizona & Ottawa, Kansas
  • Fresno Pacific University – Fresno, California
  • American National University – Salem, Virginia
  • University of Fairfax – Fairfax, Virginia
  • Lewis University – Romeoville, Illinois
  • Saint Peters University – Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Sofia University – Palo Alto & Costa Mesa, California
  • United States University – Chula Vista, California
  • California Institute of Advanced Management(CiAM) – Alhambra, California
  • Campbellsville University – Campbellsville, Kentucky
  • Sullivan University – Louisville & Lexington, Kentucky
  • University of the Cumberlands – Williamsburg, Kentucky
  • University of North America – Vienna, Virginia
  • Stratford University – Falls Church, Virginia
  • New England College – Henniker, New Hampshire
  • McDaniel College – Westminster, Maryland
  • Goldey-Beacom College – Pike Creek Valley, Delaware
  • Pillar College – Newark, New Jersey

How to avoid the risk caused by using Day 1 CPT?

 

  • Check whether the school’s qualifications are officially accredited.
  • Check if the particular program is accredited by an accrediting body.
  • Do not let your guard down with schools that are highly recommended by study abroad agents.
  • Learn about the school’s original intent and vision, examine its history and the speed and direction of its development.
  • Examine the school’s infrastructure.
  • Search the internet for a lot of negative news about the school.
  • Find out if the school is really imparting knowledge to students and if it has a strict teaching and attendance system.
  • Check the strength and size of the school’s faculty.
  • Write a Personal Statement with an emphasis on learning new things and broadening your knowledge, and include a study plan.
  • Maintain a high GPA by actively attending school and working hard on assignments.
  • Keep evidence of attendance (transportation receipts, meal and hotel receipts), student ID, tuition payment receipts, textbooks, syllabi, I-20s, transcripts, etc.
  • Confirm whether the school will provide evidence and materials for a possible RFE.

How do I apply for CPT?

Having a job is a prerequisite to applying for CPT. After communicating with the employer about the job, you can ask them to make you a written offer of employment on company letterhead with the name of the company, location, contact information and the student’s name, a detailed description of the job duties (so that the school can check if they are related to your major), weekly hours and specific start dates, and other important information.
The documents required to submit an application generally include: a job offer letter from the employer, CPT application form, CPT agreement, proof of employment, etc. The DSO will confirm the relevance of the CPT internship/job to the student’s field of study and make recommendations for applications that do not pass muster.
After the CPT application is approved, the school issues a new I-20 form with a note on the second page of the form indicating the type of work, employer, full or part-time, and start and end dates of the CPT.
After receiving the I-20, students should carefully review the information on the form, especially the CPT-related information. If the information is incorrect, explain the incorrect information to the school and ask the school to reissue it immediately.
Submit a copy of the Form I-20 to the employer’s HR department for reporting, confirm the period of employment, and ask HR to remind you to renew CPT before it expires or terminate your employment in a timely manner. You can officially work for the employer when the CPT requirement date arrives. * Communicate with the school in advance about the CPT application because it takes time for the school to process the student’s CPT application. * Most schools require students to submit CPT applications once per semester or per academic year * If there is a change in the hours, duration, or employer of the CPT job, the school must be notified in order to update the I-20. * The physical address of the job must be the same as the CPT job address on the I-20.