SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The sudden shutdown of a South Bay college has crushed the dreams of many foreign students looking for a ticket to Silicon Valley.
The education they hoped would lead to a career in tech is now in limbo after Silicon Valley University abruptly closed down.
It is not the first time the school has been under scrutiny.
The school has been under investigation and at risk of shutting down for some time, but the loss of its accreditation late last year was the first domino to fall. That is what allowed state regulators to move in to close the institution this week.
Students on campus were confronted with canceled classes and empty chairs Friday.
KPIX 5 cameras spotted a lone student in the library, pondering his future and future of the school he once proudly attended.
“My friends and I have suffered a lot because of this university,” said the student, who did not want to give his name.
It has been a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the university, which until recently boasted an international student body of nearly 4,000 men and women who had traveled halfway around the world for the promise of a quality education and for the potential to work in the valley’s tech industry.
“The students who comes here from other countries have so many dreams. They want acquire more knowledge. They want to study a master’s,” the student told KPIX 5.
But in December the university lost its accreditation.
The state should have been notified at the time, but was not, only learning about it months later.
So state regulators have shut the school down.
But it’s not the first time SVU has been under a cloud of suspicion.
Two years ago, KPIX 5 reported that several of the university’s students had been denied entry into the U.S. and sent back to their native India as the department of homeland security cracked down on so-called visa mills. That was an accusation the school denied.
“Our students are very upset with the whole thing, because they know this school is a legitimate university,” SVU Academic Dean Simon Au said about those accusations.
Friday, the university laid the blame at the feet of its co-founder Jerry Shiao, writing, “Silicon Valley University’s loss of accreditation is based on alleged acts and omissions that occurred during Dr. Shiao’s tenure as president. Dr. Shiao is no longer with the university. We are taking all actions necessary to regain our accreditation.”
But for current and former students, that promise seems as empty as the school’s hallways.
“They lost money and they lost time. They can’t get that back,” said the anonymous SVU student.
While university officials say they are working diligently to re-establish the school’s accreditation, no one was able to provide a timeline for when that might happen.
In addition to regaining accreditation, the school will additionally have to re-apply to the state for approval to operate in California.