Overseas students with Masters Degree outnumbered all other degree holders in US OPT with 840,800 or 57% of all the graduates in the program during 2004 and 2016. There was a staggering 337% increase in the growth of US OPT Masters Degree Students in the period. It increased to 172, 900 in 2016 from 39,500 in 2004.
On the other hand, the percentage of US OPT approvals increased by 187% for Doctoral Degree students. For Bachelor’s degree students, it increased by 115% and by mere 21% for Associate Degree holders, as quoted by the Pew Global Org.
The swift increase in the numbers of Masters Degree students was exclusively due to a revision in the US OPT in 2008. This enabled the graduates in the STEM fields to work for an extra 17 months in the US.
The difference in the number of PG Overseas Students in OPT prior and later to the revision after the Bush era is stark. During 2004 and 2007, the percentage of PG Degree students enrolled in OPT decreased by 7%. On the other hand, during the period 2006 and 2018, the figures increased by 322%.
Around 56% of the overseas graduates who participated in the OPT program during 2004 and 2016 availed their degree from a public university or college. 41% were from private colleges and universities. Out of these, 38% were from non-profit schools and 3% were from for-profit institutions.
Less than 3% of the students enrolled in the OPT program passed out from schools that were not categorized as per the Institutions of Higher Education Carnegie Classification or CCIHE. In spite of these figures, top 3 sources of students enrolled in the OPT program during 2004 and 2016 were from all nonprofit, private colleges.
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