For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.—The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and NAFSA: Association of International Educators led 151 higher education institutions in supporting an amicus brief in support of Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the ongoing WashTech litigation. The higher education community weighed in on OPT due to its critical role in experiential learning, including the ability for students to practice and implement the very educational skills developed on campuses. You can see the full list of signatories here and our litigation page on this topic here.

College and University Presidents and Impacted Students Available for Comment

Alan W. Cramb, President, Illinois Institute of Technology, stated: “In an increasingly competitive global education market, institutions must be able to offer all students the opportunity to pursue real, hands-on technical experience, regardless of their country of origin. OPT represents a crucial avenue for international students to apply their education within the U.S. workforce, and a rollback of OPT would significantly hinder the ability of international students to contribute to our nation’s economic engine.”

Joseph I. Castro, Chancellor, California State University, stated: “The California State University takes great pride in serving international students from more than 80 different countries. These talented students contribute to the vibrant culture of each university campus in countless ways. Ending Optional Practical Training would constrict the pipeline of talented students attending our campuses by limiting opportunities to pursue a full and vigorous education, and potentially inhibit economic growth for our country. The CSU Chancellor’s Office and all 23 campuses join in supporting the continuation of this vital program.”

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director of the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides international students with a vital resource for gaining work experience, complementing their education, and pursuing their careers. The geographic breadth and great variety of the higher education institutions that are part of this effort underscore the immense contributions that international students make to our campuses and communities. Higher education institutions and our nation also benefit tremendously from the innovation, research, and talent of international students participating in OPT.”  

Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, stated: “Our nation’s economy and educational institutions are undeniably enriched by the presence of talented, diverse, and motivated international students and OPT is a key factor in attracting those very students. The United States is now in a global competition for international students and scholars. To ensure that we continue to benefit from these individuals and their investments in our communities, we must maintain this time-tested program.”

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The non-partisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a ‘nation of immigrants’ and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at www.nafsa.org/press. To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit www.ConnectingOurWorld.org. Resources to guide our members on these issues can be found at www.nafsa.org/reginfo.