The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) has just released two policy briefs on the value of STEM OPT (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Optional Practical Training). Today, 81 percent of the full-time graduate students at U.S. universities in electrical engineering and 79 percent in computer science are international students, but the Trump administration may soon eliminate the primary way such students work in the United States after graduation. NFAP concludes that eliminating STEM OPT via regulation would encourage U.S. companies to hire and place many more international student graduates of U.S. universities outside the United States, which would threaten America’s role as a center of innovation, harm U.S. universities, and limit available jobs for U.S. workers by pushing more investment abroad.
The NFAP report noted that an analysis by Glassdoor shows that nine of the ten highest paying majors five years out of college are in STEM. Moreover, there is no correlation between an inability to find work in a STEM field and the presence of foreign nationals in that field in the United States. Nearly three times as many individuals with degrees in the social sciences, a field in which relatively few H-1B visa holders receive a degree, report working involuntarily outside of their field as those with degrees in computer and mathematical sciences and engineering, according to the National Science Foundation. The Conference Board reported in August 2017 almost five times as many online ads for positions in computer and mathematical science occupations as individuals listed as unemployed in those occupations.
Below are links to the policy briefs and related materials: