Colleges are seeing increases in processing times for international students applying for work authorization through the Optional Practical Training, or OPT, program, leaving some students with job or internship offers unable to take up their positions on time.
"The bigger issue is why for goodness sakes is it taking so long," Joanna Regulska, the vice provost and associate chancellor of global affairs at the University of California, Davis, said of OPT processing times. Professor Regulska said Davis is seeing OPT processing times averaging 100 days. Professor Regulska participated in a March meeting the White House convened with universities, higher education groups and employers focused on international students and their ability to work in the U.S. after graduation. "The issue of OPT came up several times in the discussion," she said. "The universities were really stressing how important OPT is, and it's important not only for students but it's important for employers. It's important for the image about the United States, it's important for attracting students." "These delays don't help us, especially now in a situation when the enrollments are going down. This is yet another negative factor that will contribute to our image."
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