Ivy League uses Obama-era immigration tweak to broaden work visa eligibility
The University of Pennsylvania reclassified its economics department as a STEM field, which will help international students receive longer work visas after graduation.
Penn is the last Ivy League school to do so.
The University of Pennsylvania reclassified its economics department as a STEM field making it the last Ivy League school to do so in the interest of helping international students receive longer work visas after graduation.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded the list of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses that would let graduates gain an optional practical training (OPT) extension.
Attaining an OPT extension allows students to work in the United States for two years following graduation as an extension of their student visas.
International students who do not major in STEM fields usually receive a one year period.
According to a DHS press release, the expanded list reflected the “Obama administration's ongoing commitment to promote policies that embrace talented students from other countries, who come to study in our finest colleges and universities and enrich the nation by allowing highly skilled foreign graduates to extend their post-graduate training in the United States and work in their field of study upon graduation.”
Among the majors classified as STEM was “Econometrics and Quantitative Economics.”
Accordingly, the University of Pennsylvania classified its School of Arts and Sciences economics major as a STEM program, alongside the mathematical economics major and the Wharton School’s business economics and public policy (BEPP) concentration.
Roughly 14 percent of current Penn freshmen are international students. According to the University of Pennsylvania’s admissions statistics website, 41 percent of international Penn students hailed from Asia.
Every other Ivy League university has made similar moves since 2012.
Yale University, for instance, reclassified its basic economics major in 2018 from “Economics, General” to 'Econometric and Quantitative Economics.'"
Columbia University followed suit roughly one month later.
The Daily Pennsylvanian noted that it is the last Ivy League school to reclassify economics as a STEM major, meaning that Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, and Dartmouth have also done so.
Campus Reform reached out to Penn and the seven other Ivy League universities; this article will be updated accordingly.
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