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How OPT Became a Flash Point in the Immigration Debate

January 20, 2016 (1 min read)

Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 20, 2016 - "Thousands of foreign students could be forced to leave the United States if a challenge to an obscure federal program is not resolved in the next few weeks.  The program, Optional Practical Training, has become the latest flash point in the contentious debate over immigration.  It just might be the biggest controversy you’ve never heard of — even if you’re on a college campus.  Here’s a quick rundown of the program, and why colleges ought to care if it is curtailed: Optional Practical Training, or OPT, allows some students and recent graduates of American colleges who are in the United States on student visas to extend their stay temporarily in order to gain work experience related to their field of study.  And while most Americans might not be aware of it, the program is popular with international students.  In fact, 12 percent of the nearly one million student-visa holders aren’t studying at all; they’re on OPT."