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Too Little, Maybe Too Late: The Real Impact of Ending the STEM OPT Program

Is the United States on the verge of sending its best and brightest to foreign competitors?

For a majority of Americans, the term "STEM OPT" means very little, and they are likely to be unmoved by a current threat to end an extension program that only affects foreign students studying in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Unfortunately they are missing the bigger picture.

These students represent a crucial piece in the future of American business. The STEM OPT program was designed to retain the world's top talent in the most profitable industries, ensuring the country's continued ability to compete in the global economy. Recent developments, however, could force these students to take their talents and their skills to other nations with friendlier student immigration programs.

Meanwhile, the rising price of U.S. post-secondary education is steering American students to seek more cost-effective and equally high quality education options in Europe.

Thus, we need to seriously ask—are we doing enough to keep talent and intellect in our country? Or are we driving away our future business leaders and innovators; therefore compromising our position at the top of the global marketplace?

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