Logo for: President's Alliance Higher Education & Immigration

International students play important roles to the United States—enriching campuses with diverse perspectives, fostering job creation, and providing a source of talent for American employers. Annually, more than one million students choose to study in the U.S., with nearly 200,000 graduates opting to stay and further hone their skills through Optional Practical Training (OPT). This program enables students to apply their acquired knowledge in relevant fields. However, unlike their American counterparts, international graduates face the challenges of navigating a complex and uncertain immigration system when seeking temporary work opportunities in the U.S.

In an effort to illuminate the priorities and preferences of international students, Shorelight in partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance and Whiteboard Advisors, conducted a survey encompassing over 1,200 institutional students, alumni, and prospects. The resulting data provides valuable insights into the factors influencing international students’ choice of study destination and explores potential shifts in this dynamic if programs like OPT were to cease to exist.

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