Washington University in St. Louis joined 150 other higher education institutions June 21 in signing onto an amicus brief in ongoing litigation in federal court, supporting the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and the international students who benefit from it.
The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and NAFSA: Association of International Educators filed the amicus brief in the case Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. Department of Homeland Security et al. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether the program may continue. OPT provides temporary employment authorization to international students so they can gain practical training in the U.S. in their field of study.
The brief highlights the importance of international students and OPT in U.S. higher education institutions.
“Optional Practical Training enables international students on our campus to gain valuable work experience beyond the classroom,” Provost Beverly Wendland said. “Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, attracting and retaining international students is more important than ever, and this is a key component of their educational experience.
“The university’s role as a global enterprise is one of the key pillars guiding our strategic planning process, which is currently underway,” Wendland added. “An environment of open collaboration and engagement with scholarship, challenges and viewpoints from around the world is a critical component in the success of our institution.”