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TCC grade tampering investigation expands

KOTV first told you about possible grade tampering at Tulsa Community College early this month. The school's investigation has revealed yet another problem. KOTV's Tami Marler has been looking into the scandal.

Someone at TCC tampered with admission records for international students. Students who may not have been granted a visa, without their records being changed. Mohammad Khawaja came from the United Arab Emirates to study chemical engineering at the University of Tulsa. He has a special student visa to study here and a strong foundation. "Coming to the United States, going through immigration, going through all of that, English - or if you go to any country - you need to have at least a basic foundation in that language." To prove he had that foundation, Khawaja took the Test of English as a First Language, or TOEFL. "TOEFL is the primary indicator to see how well you speak English. And coming from the United States, it's very important that you have a good grasp of English. Just for communication and understanding."

The US State Department requires all foreign student applicants to have a student visa, which takes a valid passport, a completed visa application, and a form I-20 from a US college or university. At Tulsa Community College, police and school officials are saying some students may have obtained student visas without meeting TOEFL requirements. TCC students are required to meet minimum English proficiency - measured by TOEFL - before receiving the form I-20. Tulsa Police say an undisclosed number of international students became friendly with at least two employees in TCC's International Student Services. They say admissions records were altered as a result of those relationships, and students may have been accepted without a basic understanding of English.

Mohammad Khawaja went through all the right channels. He says college is tough enough without a strong foundation. "Culture shock, you'll be dealing with not having your family beside you. You'll be dealing with new friends, new environment, new options to take." Two international counseling employees are reportedly on leave of absence while the school's internal inquiry continues.

Tulsa Police say "cyber-tampering" is a felony under the Computer Crimes Act.
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