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DHS Adds 22 Fields to STEM Degree Program

Jan 24, 2022

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In a win for noncitizen students at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as the U.S. economy in the wake of a massive labor shortage, the DHS just announced plans to add 22 fields to the STEM degree program list, allowing some foreign students to pursue practical training in the U.S. for a total of 3 years, which includes the initial 12 months plus a potential 24-month extension — after completing their degrees.

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The notice could impact F-1 nonimmigrant students and those with OPT work permits.

The fields to be added include:

  • Bioenergy
  • Forestry
  • Forest Resources Production and Management
  • Human-Centered Technology Design
  • Cloud Computing
  • Anthrozoology
  • Climate Science
  • Earth Systems Science
  • Economics and Computer Science
  • Environmental Geosciences
  • Geobiology
  • Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Mathematical Economics
  • Mathematics and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science
  • Data Science
  • Data Analytics
  • Business Analytics
  • Data Visualization
  • Financial Analytics
  • Data Analytics
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Social Sciences

The expansion shows the Biden administration recognizes the value foreign students bring to the U.S. and to the workforce after graduation via OPT and is a significant first step toward broadening requirements for H-1B’s. Expanding OPT shores up the pipeline of people who can work on H-1Bs in sectors where the U.S. needs the most help.

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