Jan 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. adds new fields of study to STEM student visa program

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration is widening the scope on STEM student visas.

Why it matters: Higher education enrollment has continued to decline in the U.S. as the country looks to stay competitive in science and technology on the global stage. 

Driving the news: The Department of Homeland Security on Friday added 22 new fields of study to a specialized visa program for nonimmigrant students, the STEM Optional Practical Training program.

  • In addition, eligible undergraduate and graduate students can now stay in the country for up to three years after finishing — up from one year.

Be smart: The changes may not make a significant difference in getting more students to study in the U.S., the WSJ notes

  • Increases in the number of visas or expanding visa eligibility have to be made by Congress.

Details: Environmental science categories dominate the 22 new fields — bioenergy, general forestry, anthrozoology, climate science, Earth systems science, oceanic science, data visualization, as well as industrial and organizational psychology.

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