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APLU Statement on Obama Administration’s New Rule Extending the Duration of STEM Optional Practical Training

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s new rule for the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.

“The administration’s new STEM Optional Practical Training rule will help U.S. universities more effectively attract the brightest international students to their campuses, which, in turn, will bring profound economic and cultural benefits to the nation at large. All students at our universities benefit in the short and long-term by having international students on their campuses where they can learn and better understand different cultures prior to entering the global economic workforce.

“In addition to being drawn to U.S. universities because they are among the greatest higher education institutions in the world, international students understand that a key part of their education is experiential learning. This education happens while in school and also post-completion as they enter the workforce and receive training. By enabling international students in STEM fields to remain in the U.S. for three years upon graduation to train in their field of study, the new OPT rule is providing a significant incentive for top tier students from around the world to come to the U.S.

“By expanding the STEM OPT to three years, the administration is also aligning post-graduate work with the lifespan of many federal grants that support research projects on which these graduates will be working.

“This rule will ensure the continued success of the STEM OPT program and contribute to global competitiveness of the United States. The administration appropriately is preventing significant disruption to the STEM OPT program and improving it by extending it further. However, by no means should these steps be considered a substitute for the bipartisan legislative action needed to fix our broken immigration system.”

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