When Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched Study in the States in September 2011, one goal was “to encourage the ‘best and brightest’ international students to study and … (learn about expanded post-graduate opportunities) in the United States.” International students benefit local and national economies as well as overall classroom experience and learning opportunities on campuses across the country. Choosing a university, as well as deciding to go to a different country, is complicated. New information from the U.S. government will now begin to simplify this complex process.
According to the Washington Post, the “Wage Records Interchange System”, an effort between the U.S. Department of Labor and individual states, will now provide more information for students to compare degrees from different schools in terms of post-graduate employment opportunities and estimated salary. The U.S. Department of Education will also release “Gainful Employment Reports” with data on “employment and earnings levels for students who graduate from the most popular technical certificate programs at colleges all across the country.”
This information may also prove helpful to international students interested in remaining in the United States through optional practical training (OPT). OPT is available to students who qualify for a period of up to 12 months. As a presidential priority, programs and graduates of programs with a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code are important to the United States. An F student who has earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in a STEM designated-degree program can now be eligible to remain in the United States for an additional 17 months of OPT. The Department of Homeland Security also recently announced an expanded list of STEM programs whose graduates are eligible for this extension.
Choosing a college for the job that comes after; Washington Post