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Schools File Amicus Brief to Support Optional Practical Training

About 100 higher education institutions across the country have joined hands to defend Optional Practical Training (OPT).

The program which is also called STEM OPT benefits foreign students enrolled in colleges and universities allowing them to work for at least 12 months after graduation and 24 additional months in STEM fields.

The colleges have filed an amicus brief in the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers V. Department Of Homeland Security et al explaining the value of these programs to student success and international education on campuses.

“[OPT] is a longstanding government program that permits international students to continue, and deepen, their education by applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the classroom to a professional setting,” the brief states.

“OPT provides untold benefits for these international students. But, just as critical, being able to provide international students with the opportunities facilitated by OPT gives American institutions of higher education an edge in an increasingly competitive global education market.”

A decade ago, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers had filed lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arguing that the latter does not have the authority to grant work authorization to F-1 students for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Various schools fear that the Trump administration would not defend the program.

Amir Reza, Dean of the Babson Academy & Global Education at the Babson Colleges which is one of the schools that filed brief called for continuing the program as it has provided opportunities to “international students who have made unique contributions to their employers or started their own businesses.”

“Therefore, we see the importance of OPT for our students’ learning and for future employers looking for the top talent from the US and abroad,” he added.

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